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Library JournalPart historical portrait of Leningrad in the 20th century, part ballet primer, and part nostalgic coming-of-age story, this book tells the story of world renowned ballerina and coach Elena Tchernichova. From her tragic beginnings in the Soviet Union to her success with the American Ballet Theatre, Tchernichova chronicles her trials and triumphs from poverty to prosperity. Written in highly descriptive language, this book will fascinate even nondance aficionados with the dancer’s story of her rise through the ranks of Russian ballet to her eventual immigration to the United States. Although dancing memoirs tend to get caught up in nostalgia and readers may find themselves reaching for the dictionary owing to the book’s heavy use of dance-specific terminology, Tchernichova’s story is full of figures as flawed and interesting as the ones these dancers portrayed in their performances. Readers will not only learn about the life and career of a great dancer but also get a glimpse of the oppressive artistic climate of the Soviet Union.
Verdict Recommended for ballet lovers and anyone interested in against-all-odds success stories.—Tamela Chambers, Chicago Pub. Schs.
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