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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About 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.
What People are Saying About This
“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.”
“Airborne in spirit, earthbound in truth, the words are moving and masterful. Like the dancer himself.”
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Jock Soto had a long and storied career at the New York City Ballet: he was a corps de ballet dancer in 1981 at the tender age of 16 and a principal by 1984, a ranking he held until his retirement 20 years later in 2005. He partnered famous NYCB ballerinas Heather Watts, Darci Kistler, Patricia McBride, Wendy Whelan and more. He was there when Mr. Balanchine passed away, and he was there on 9-11 when the Twin Towers were brought down.As if being a star dancer for one of the world's greatest geniuses isn't enough, Jock has a unique back story, beginning with his ethnicity. He's half Navajo and half Puerto Rican. Talk about exotic! Rumor has it "the boy is gorgeous" in real life. The passing of Jock's beloved mother from colon cancer in 2008 prompted him to do something he'd never done: take a long look at his roots and his relationship with his family of origin. The sensitive nature of this artistic introvert is evident throughout the book, and while this quality no doubt inspired his dancing, we see its down side when he beats up on himself about his absence from family during his NYCB years. But the shy "Navajo brave" definitely found his voice in Every Step You Take. It has wide audience appeal, whether you're a ballet lover, mixed kid, aspiring chef (he loves to cook), or a bunch of other stuff. One of my favorites: When Stanley Williams was alive and teaching at the School of American Ballet, famous dancers came from all over the world to take class with him. Jock says you could always tell when Nureyev was in the building ("I nearly fainted...") because the dressing rooms would clear out quickly. "Rudy had quite a foul mouth and a creative and seemingly endless supply of lewd comments." Nobody wanted to be on the receiving end of that! That's all I'll give away. Pick up this memoir by one of our greatest ballet dancers and find your own favorite parts. There's plenty to choose from, no matter what your pleasure.Thanks to Mr. Soto for sharing his world with us. It's one of the tastiest dishes he could possibly serve.
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.