Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyObserving the mourners gathered at George Balanchine's funeral in 1983, Ballet Review editor Mason asked himself how these colleagues might sustain the legacy of America's foremost choreographer, cofounder of the New York City Ballet. Searching for the answer, he interviewed some 100 people. The resulting anthology of oral histories offers a gargantuan array of 85 voices, including both a virtual who's who of 20th-century ballet and sundry other contributors, though Tanaquil LeClercsic , Suzanne Farrell and Jerome Robbins are not represented. At 600 pages, the spectrum of opinion ranges from adulatory to irreverent: Maria Tallchief concludes, ``As always, George was right,'' while William Weslow recalls, in amusing detail, in what respects Balanchine ``loved the smell of women.'' While some of the oral histories share the inherent flaws of the genre--speakers ramble, and individuality of voice is not always vibrantly present--the collection is a sine qua non of Balanchiniana. (May)
Library Journal - Library JournalSince the death of choreographer George Balanchine in 1983, a spate of books illuminating his life and career have been published (e.g., Alexandra Danilova's Choura , Knopf, 1986; Gelsey Kirkland's Dancing on My Grave , LJ 11/1/86; Suzanne Farrell's Holding on to the Air , LJ 9/15/90). The 85 reminiscences collected here by Mason, Balanchine's longtime coauthor ( Balanchine's Complete Stories of the Great Ballets , Doubleday, 1977. o.p.), are anything but redundant. In concert, they provide rare glimpses of this multifaceted creative genius. One of the most significant comments about Balanchine comes from Betty Cage, general administrator of the New York City Ballet from 1947 to 1985: ``I don't think there is a definitive portrait of Balanchine. Everybody has a different view, a different perspective.'' All the views provide entertaining, informative reading, most particularly the recollections of ballet historian Yuri Slonimsky, who presents previously unavailable information on Balanchine's early career in Russia. All dance fans will enjoy this important addition to the growing literature on Balanchine.-- Joan Stahl, National Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C.
- The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group
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- 1st ed
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