The Dancer Within: Intimate Conversations with Great Dancers

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Overview

The Dancer Within is a collection of photographic portraits and short essays based on confessional interviews with forty dancers and entertainers, many of them world famous. Well-known on the concert stage, Broadway, in Hollywood musicals, and on television, the personalities featured in this book speak with extraordinary candor about all stages of the dancer's life - from their first dance class to their signature performances and their days of reflection on the artist's life. The Dancer Within reveals how these artists triumphed, but also how they overcame adversity, including self-doubt, injuries, and aging. Most of all, this book is about the courage, commitment, love, and passion of these performers in their quest for artistic excellence. The reader will quickly realize that "the dancer within" is a metaphor of the human spirit.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Photographer and author Eichenbaum trains her lens on 40 dancers in this collection of photographs, short essays and interviews. She covers a wide range of artists, from the worlds of Hollywood, Broadway, ballet and modern dance. While some, such as Rasta Thomas and Ethan Stiefel, are young, most are veterans-Rita Moreno, Cynthia Gregory, Liza Minnelli and Dudley Williams. Despite a certain level of fawning (to Mitzi Gaynor: "Mitzi, you've still got it"; to Russ Tamblyn: "You look almost exactly as you did in West Side Story"), the dancers mostly transcend this with thoughtful comments. The section on Mikhail Baryshnikov is peculiar, relating Eichenbaum's failed pursuit of an interview and the restrictions placed on her photographing the star. And there are some glaring omissions-no Balanchine ballerinas? So few young dancers? Still, there's a constant refrain that links the disparate artists together, summarized succinctly by Jean Butler, star of Riverdance: "At the end of the day, I just want to dance." This is recommended for dance aficionados. 40 b&w illus. (June)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

Eichenbaum, who previously profiled choreographers in Masters of Movement, here presents conversations with and photographs of 40 dancers. They come from various dance areas including ballet (Jacques d'Amboise), modern (Eiko and Koma), Hollywood (Leslie Caron), and Broadway (Joel Grey). The interviews are short (four to five pages) and are accompanied by a black-and-white portrait. Eichenbaum and her subjects explore a dancer's early life, training, feelings during performance, professional and life choices, aging, and legacy. Mitzi Gaynor calls dancers "the pylons of the theater," and Shirley MacLaine considers them "artistic soldiers." Rita Moreno reflects upon the joy of getting a truly great Latina role (Anita in West Side Story) during an era when Latina roles barely existed. Mikhail Baryshnikov proves elusive to Eichenbaum: she gets a photo but no interview. Russ Tamblyn surmises, "I don't think most people really know what an artist is. You only know when you become one-when you find your voice and see the world differently." Eichenbaum's compilation is filled with interesting insights from a dancer's perspective and captures the artistic sensibility. It also provides a window for YAs into the art and profession of dance. Recommended for all libraries.
—Barbara Kundanis

From the Publisher
“Eichenbaum’s disarmingly simple questions are clearly based on research about each actor’s work, and the results are not standard-issue interviews.”—Leonard Malton, Movie Crazy

“Getting into the psyche of an actor is not an easy task. Rose Eichenbaum succeeds admirably with an open mind and probing questions and the result...is a delightful book consisting of interviews with 35 talented personalities that will keep your interest from cover to cover.”—Tim Boxer, 15 Minutes

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780819568809
  • Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
  • Publication date: 6/30/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 264
  • Sales rank: 1,381,798
  • Product dimensions: 7.30 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

ROSE EICHENBAUM is an award-winning photographer and author of Masters of Movement: Portraits of America’s Great Choreographers (2004). Her work has appeared in Dance Magazine, Dance Spirit, and the Los Angeles Times, and her photographs are featured in a Smithsonian Institution’s traveling exhibit, The Dancer Within, opening in April 2008. She lives in Encino, California. ARON HIRT-MANHEIMER is the author and editor of numerous articles, magazines, and books. He lives in Ridgefield, Connecticut.
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Table of Contents

Yuriko (Anemiya Kikuchi) 1

Barrie Chase 8

Ethan Stiefel 16

Leslie Caron 23

Fernando Bujones 30

Leonard Crofoot 37

Cynthia Gregory 42

Jacques d'Amboise 51

Dudley Williams 58

Mary Hinkson 65

Bill Evans 70

Brenda Bufalino 76

Chet Walker 85

Donna McKechnie 91

Mitzi Gaynor 98

Joe Tremaine 107

Chita Rivera 114

Russ Tamblyn 122

Rita Moreno 130

Natalia Makarova 139

Shirley MacLaine 147

Mikhail Baryshnikov 155

Liza Minnelli 158

Joel Grey 167

Ben Vereen 175

Lori Belilove 181

Rasta Thomas 186

Marine Jahan 195

Robert La Fosse 200

Gemze de Lappe 206

James Mitchell 213

Paula Kelly 221

Martine van Hamel 230

Desmond Richardson 237

Jean Butler 243

Peter Boal 250

Marge Champion 258

Eiko and Koma 266

Julio Bocca 272

Mr. Wiggles (Steffan Clemente) 279

Bibliography 285

Index 289

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