In Balanchine's Company: A Dancer's Memoir

In Balanchine's Company: A Dancer's Memoir

by Barbara Fisher
     
 

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During her twelve years with Ballet Society and the New York City Ballet, Barbara Milberg worked under the direction of George Balanchine. She rose from corps de ballet to soloist, danced leading roles in Swan Lake and Illuminations, and performed in celebrated world premieres. In this observant and poignant memoir, she shares her recollections of Balanchine, his…  See more details below

Overview

During her twelve years with Ballet Society and the New York City Ballet, Barbara Milberg worked under the direction of George Balanchine. She rose from corps de ballet to soloist, danced leading roles in Swan Lake and Illuminations, and performed in celebrated world premieres. In this observant and poignant memoir, she shares her recollections of Balanchine, his craft and his values, and lends insight into surprising aspects of his personality. Fisher gives readers a rare glimpse inside Balanchine's artistry, including vivid accounts of the makings of such important ballets as Schoenberg's Opus 34, Agon, and the world-famous Nutcracker. The narrative introduces a range of people intimately connected with the company, from conductors, costumers, and designers to management, wardrobe, and stage personnel, all seen from the inside. Told through the eyes of a young dancer in what seemed a truly magical place and time, In Balanchine's Company is ideal for ballet fans young and old. Rich in anecdote, insight, and humor, it offers a unique perspective on one of the twentieth century's cultural giants.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Fisher danced for the great choreographer George Balanchine in the mid-20th century, when the New York City Ballet was still "exploding into being against all odds." Her era is that of Orpheus, the Nutcracker and Agon (she was one of its original dancers), when the company starred ballerinas Maria Tallchief and Tanaquil Le Clerq. Mr. B., as he was respectfully yet affectionately called by his dancers, was still young, still approachable, full of vigor and good humor. We see his "multi-dimensional alertness," and also his sense of whimsy and genuine affection for his dancers. Where else do we find a limerick written by Balanchine about his Vespa, his entreaties to Fisher to perform a questionable song written on tour at a big benefit and his defense of the author's right to read bad science fiction? Yet woven into these personal and telling recollections are wonderfully astute looks at Balanchine's artistic process and the place of his ballets in the canon of 20th-century art. Fisher eventually became a professor of English at the City College of New York, and her observations as both dancer and literary critic are unparalleled. This book is indispensable for lovers of ballet and theater. 48 b&w photos. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher

"Woven into these personal and telling recollections are wonderfully astute looks at Balanchine's artistic process and the place of his ballets in the canon of 20th-century art. Fisher eventually became a professor of English at the City College of New York, and her observations as both dancer and literary critic are unparalleled. This book is indispensable for lovers of ballet and theater."—Publishers Weekly

“Despite the charm of its prose, In Balanchine’s Company is no mere literary exercise. At times it is funny… (s)ometimes it’s downright exciting,…(a)nd often it’s affectionate.”—Doris Hering, Dance Magazine

“Fisher’s memoir is a three-fold delight; a generous tribute to Balanchine and his creations, collaborations, stagings, triumphs, and failures; a celebration of peers, colleagues, and talented artists in other ballet-related disciplines; and a cheerful, grateful record of her own distinguished career. …Fisher opens up the inner world of ballet, deftly capturing the personal characteristics of its creative giants.” —ForeWord Magazine

“I stayed up all night and read In Balanchine's Company from cover to cover. As a dancer who lived through those years, I can say that Barbara Fisher's recollections, insight and writing style are impressive.”—Arthur Mitchell, Artistic Director, Dance Theatre of Harlem; Former Principal Dancer, NYCB; and Kennedy Center Honoree

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780819568076
Publisher:
Wesleyan University Press
Publication date:
10/03/2006
Pages:
236
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.80(d)

What People are saying about this

Francia Russell
I am in awe–speechless, moved to tears, and utterly incapable of finding words for all my feelings about (this) book. Every word was a pleasure to read. … It is unfathomable to me how effortlessly (Fisher) combines important historical documents with (her) own graceful and often funny personal story. … (The author) wears (her) terrifying erudition like a gossamer cape. (This) book is in a class all its own; there is no other written by a Balanchine dancer or colleague that approaches it.”
Ellen Graff
“Clear and vivid, this book covers Balanchine’s process, his special talent as a teacher, the unique community that characterized the early New York City Ballet, and the cultural forces that shaped the dance world in the 1950s. It is a joy to read.”

Meet the Author

BARBARA MILBERG FISHER performed with Ballet Society and the New York City Ballet from 1946 to 1958, and then joined Jerome Robbins' newly formed Ballets: USA as one of its principal dancers. She is professor emeritus of English at the City College of New York, and remains addicted to baroque music and murder mysteries.

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