Irina: Ballet, Life and Love

Overview

Choreographer George Balanchine discovered her. Yul Brynner romanced her.
Genius artists designed sets and costumes for her. She danced for King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, Adolf Hitler and Josef Goebbels—who introduced themselves backstage. This memoir by the elegant octogenarian Irina Baranova celebrates a remarkable life in the arts.

    Born to privilege in 1919, Irina fled with her family from the Bolsheviks to an impoverished life in Bucharest, Romania. ...

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Overview

Choreographer George Balanchine discovered her. Yul Brynner romanced her.
Genius artists designed sets and costumes for her. She danced for King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, Adolf Hitler and Josef Goebbels—who introduced themselves backstage. This memoir by the elegant octogenarian Irina Baranova celebrates a remarkable life in the arts.

    Born to privilege in 1919, Irina fled with her family from the Bolsheviks to an impoverished life in Bucharest, Romania. Despite their circumstances, Irina’s mother managed ballet lessons for her daughter and the family moved to Paris, where Irina debuted with the Paris Opera at age 12. Spotted by the legendary choreographer George Balanchine, she was selected for the Ballet Russes de Monte Carlo at age 13 and toured more than 100 cities around the world.

    Her husband, London theatrical agent Cecil Tennant, introduced her to a “who’s who” of the stage and screen, and her circle of friends and associates included Marlene Dietrich, Clark Gable, Grace Kelly, Marilyn Monroe, Pablo Picasso, Salvadore Dali, and Marc Chagall as well as ballet legends such as Rudolf Nureyev, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and Margot Fonteyn. Her funny and moving memoir is not merely the story of a starry life but also about her remarkable instinct for surviving wars, heartbreak, and loss and her fulfillment as a wife and mother of three.

    Featuring beautiful photos and memorabilia from the world of dance, stage, and screen as well as a foreword by leading British dance critic Clement Crisp, this book will appeal to readers with a passion for the arts and life.

 

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Ballerina Baronova's life story is as enchanting as her dancing. Born in St. Petersburg in 1919 and narrowly evading the Russian Revolution, Baronova and her parents escaped to Bucharest, where she learned ballet using the kitchen table as a barre. Spotted by legendary choreographer George Balanchine at the Paris Opera, she became, at age 13, one of his three famous "baby ballerinas" with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. There she worked with dance legends Leonide Massine, Michel Fokine and Bronislava Nijinska, as well as artists Picasso, Dali and Matisse. As an actress in Hollywood (often portraying dancers), and then as a star with American Ballet Theatre, Baronova continued to work and play with luminaries Yul Brynner, Clark Gable, Laurence Olivier and Marilyn Monroe. But beyond tales of the personalities she knew, Baronova's prose is a testament to the woman she is: passionate, vivacious and overwhelmingly optimistic, even in the face of divorce, family strife and war. To read her memoir, with its warm personal asides to the reader, is to feel as though one were sitting down with the legend for a glass of champagne-so glamorous and delightful is her story. This is a must-read for lovers of ballet and theater. 84 b&w photos. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813030265
  • Publisher: University Press of Florida
  • Publication date: 8/12/2006
  • Edition description: First
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 544
  • Sales rank: 948,906
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Irina Baronova is now a vice-president of the Royal Academy of Dance and patron of the Australian Ballet School.

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