Dancing on Water: A Life in Ballet, from the Kirov to the ABT [NOOK Book]

Overview

Dancing on Water is both a personal coming-of-age story and a sweeping look at ballet life in Russia and the United States during the golden age of dance. Elena Tchernichova takes us from her childhood during the siege of Leningrad to her mother’s alcoholism and suicide, and from her adoption by Kirov ballerina Tatiana Vecheslova, who entered her into the state ballet school, to her career in the American Ballet Theatre.

As a student and young...
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Dancing on Water: A Life in Ballet, from the Kirov to the ABT

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Overview

Dancing on Water is both a personal coming-of-age story and a sweeping look at ballet life in Russia and the United States during the golden age of dance. Elena Tchernichova takes us from her childhood during the siege of Leningrad to her mother’s alcoholism and suicide, and from her adoption by Kirov ballerina Tatiana Vecheslova, who entered her into the state ballet school, to her career in the American Ballet Theatre.

As a student and young dancer with the Kirov, she witnessed the company’s achievements as a citadel of classic ballet, home to legendary names—Shelest, Nureyev, Dudinskaya, Baryshnikov—but also a hotbed of intrigue and ambition run amok. As ballet mistress of American Ballet Theatre from 1978 to 1990, Elena was called “the most important behind-the-scenes force for change in ballet today,” by Vogue magazine. She coached stars and corps de ballet alike, and helped mold the careers of some of the great dancers of the age, including Gelsey Kirkland, Cynthia Gregory, Natalia Makarova, and Alexander Godunov. Dancing on Water is a tour de force, exploring the highest levels of the world of dance.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“The voice in the book is excellent company, as Tchernichova endures growing pains, backstage intrigues, and the shocks of emigration... This book offers a fascinating portrait of a surprisingly open-minded ballet intellectual.”—Dance Magazine

“A book as illuminating as it is interesting, revelatory about how ballet works, and fascinating as an account of a life devoted to an art—and to survival.”—Robert Gottlieb, New York Review of Books

“Rudolf Nureyev, Natasha Makarova, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Gelsey Kirkland, George Balanchine—these are gods as far as I’m concerned, and we see them here onstage, backstage, and offstage, human-scaled and yet capable of transcendence in performance that makes ballet the most fourth-dimensional of arts.”—James Wolcott, Vanity Fair

Library Journal
Part 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.
(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781555538248
  • Publisher: Northeastern University Press
  • Publication date: 5/14/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 328
  • Sales rank: 732,397
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

ELENA TCHERNICHOVA has spent her life in dance in Russia, the United States, and Europe. She lives in St. Petersburg. JOEL LOBENTHAL is associate editor of the quarterly Ballet Review, and author of Tallulah! The Life and Times of a Leading Lady. JOSEPH BRODSKY was a Russian-American poet and essayist, former US Poet Laureate, and recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature. He died in 1996.
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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2014

    Incredible life and history

    This tragic and modest and talented woman survived. Rose ro the to,p, and contributed immensely to the beauty of thhe world aafter horrors. A wonderful life and history and incoden

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