Every Step You Take: A Memoir

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In June 2005 Jock Soto, at forty years old, gave his farewell performance as a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet. The program, an event of unprecedented ambition, showcased pieces from five legendary choreographers, and it capped one of the most storied careers in ballet history—an ascent that be­gan when Soto was just three years old. After retiring, Soto was determined to embrace a new future, but he found himself obsessed with questions about his past—where had ...

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Every Step You Take

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Overview

In June 2005 Jock Soto, at forty years old, gave his farewell performance as a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet. The program, an event of unprecedented ambition, showcased pieces from five legendary choreographers, and it capped one of the most storied careers in ballet history—an ascent that be­gan when Soto was just three years old. After retiring, Soto was determined to embrace a new future, but he found himself obsessed with questions about his past—where had he come from, and where had he been?

Every Step You Take weaves together the diverse strands of Soto’s life: being the half-breed offspring of a Puerto Rican–Navajo couple, the gay son of a fiercely macho man, a naive teenager from the desert running in the sophisticated art world of New York, and a driven artist by day and hard-core party animal by night. Soto recalls his professional relationships with such icons as George Balanchine, Christopher Wheeldon, Darci Kistler, Lourdes Lopez, and many others. He shares his love of food throughout the book with recipes to mark the pivotal moments in his story. And he describes the newest chapter in his life: teaching at the renowned School of American Ballet.

Intimate and moving, Every Step You Take shows the honest and inspiring evolution of a remarkable man, a brilliant artist, and a living legend.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Following his mother's death and his 2005 retirement as a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet, Soto probes his past for meaning in order to confront the challenges of inventing a new chapter in his life. At age four, a spellbound Soto saw ballet star Edward Villella on the Ed Sullivan Show and, mimicking Villella's leaps, told his working-class Native American mother and Puerto Rican father that he wanted to be a dancer—and they took his request seriously. By five, Soto began his ballet training in Phoenix, Ariz.; at 13 he entered the famed School of American Ballet, in New York City; and at 16 George Balanchine invited him to join the New York City Ballet, where Soto danced until he was 40. As he became a fixture in a hip, glamorous world and embraced his gay sexuality, Soto distanced himself from his father's disapproval of homosexuality and found surrogate parents and mentors in two of NYCB's leading dancers, Peter Martins and Heather Watts. He also had a fruitful professional collaboration with choreographer Christopher Wheeldon that survived their romantic liaison. Although there are patches of awkward, unfocused writing, Soto, now a teacher at SAB, offers inspirational insights into a dancer's creative process. 8 pages of b&w photos. (Oct.)
Padma Lakshmi
“Jock Soto’s story is as poignant as his dancing. Every Step You Take is an inspirational journey that reveals a life on and beyond the stage. A must-read for any artist who sacrifices for their art.”
Tommy Tune
“Airborne in spirit, earthbound in truth, the words are moving and masterful. Like the dancer himself.”
Library Journal
Soto, esteemed over a 24-year dancing career (1981–2005) for his sinuous grace, elegant partnering, and the breadth of ballets choreographed on him, occupies a special place in the hearts of ballet fans generally and New York City Ballet (NYCB) fans in particular. Now a teacher at NYCB's School of American Ballet and founder of a catering business, Soto must add "eloquent memoirist" to his attainments. As with his dancing, he moves here gracefully, weaving in and around his life, turning now to his dancing, now to his partnerships, both on and off the stage, now to reflect on his parents—his Navajo mother on whose reservation he and his brother spent their early years, and his Puerto Rican father—who both lovingly supported his wish to dance, even as they knew little about classical ballet. The stories of his parents' peripatetic lives are as stirring as any part of the book. VERDICT There are many dancers' memoirs around; Soto's is lovely for its graceful inward and outward gaze and its narrative flow. Highly recommended for all dance fans, LGBT collections, and readers of today's memoirs.—Margaret Heilbrun, Library Journal
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061732386
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/4/2011
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.78 (w) x 8.58 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Jock Soto joined the New York City Ballet in 1981. He was promoted to soloist in 1984 and to principal dancer in 1985. He has danced featured roles in countless ballets, many of which were created specifically for him. He has been a permanent member of the faculty at the School of American Ballet since 1996, and in 2007 he was the subject of the critically acclaimed documentary Water Flowing Together. He lives in New York City with his partner, Luis Fuentes, a sommelier.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2013

    Sun

    Hi.

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    Posted January 18, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2013

    Sabariam

    She smiles "" hello sun!! Welcome

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2013

    Arabella

    Shines her dagger ~Ara

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2013

    Emmie

    Meh 2

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  • Posted January 11, 2012

    A Must for Ballet Aficionados

    An insightful memoir about the life of Jock Soto, Principal Dancer with The New York City Ballet. Interesting anecdotes regarding his former ballet partners and other New York City Ballet dancers. A quick, delightful read and a lovely way to start off the new year. Added bonus with the inclusion of delicious family recipes.

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