In Balanchine's Company: A Dancer's Memoir

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, ...

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In Balanchine's Company: A Dancer's Memoir

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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. 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

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's Ten Outstanding Books from University Presses

“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

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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780819568076
  • Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
  • Publication date: 10/3/2006
  • Pages: 236
  • Sales rank: 952,576
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.80 (d)

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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Table of Contents

Foreword - Arlene Croce
Acknowledgments
Prologue
Balanchine’s Company
Schools
Introducing Stravinsky
Politics
An Unexpected Turn
A Prodigal Fall
On Tour, 1952: Catalonian Extremes
On Tour, 1952: A View from the Wings
On Tour, 1952: Vespa Riders
The Russian Easter Bribe
Opus 34 and the Loopies
Mr. B Gets Mad
Of Rats and Mice and Candy-Canes
Mostly Mo - tz - art
A Pep Talk
Nightmare in Copenhagen
A Class of One’s Own
Agon: Point Counterpoint
Epilogue: Our revels now are ended
Notes
Index

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2008

    Why aren¿t you reading this yet?

    ¿Intended or not I was on my way to becoming a dancer. I was going to perform in cities all over Europe and across America. I was going to perform before crowned heads, and be part of the first group of Americans dancers ever to perform in the White House. I was going to become a soloist in Balanchine¿s company. I was going to see the world.¿ This, the true story of an unforgettable life and remarkable life for a young and inexperienced but naturally skilled dancer, Barbra Milberg. Barbara Milberg lived on the corner of Ocean Avenue and Dorchester Road in Brooklyn, NY, and first started dancing at the ¿Miss Selma¿s School of Dance¿. Once the school closed down, Miss Selma recommended Barbara to the elite School of American Ballet in Manhattan. Barbara Milberg was a very fast learner, and she had to be because of all the tours and the new ballets the Mr. Balanchine (Mr. B) would masterfully create. Barbara Milberg was very busy traveling around the world on tours that she would be involved in, and then would come right back and perform more and more productions, in NYC. Some of the ballets that she was involved in are the Nutcracker, firebird, Agon, Opus, and many more. Therefore, if you¿re interested in ballet and would want to learn more about the history of ballet, then this is a perfect read for you

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2006

    cool

    I loved it

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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