Rebel on Pointe: A Memoir of Ballet and Broadway

Rebel on Pointe: A Memoir of Ballet and Broadway

by Lee Wilson

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Short, plump, pigeon-toed, and never good enough for mom, Lee Wilson dared to dream she could grow up to be a star. In this uplifting memoir, Wilson describes how she grand jetéd from the stifling suburbia of the 1950s, a world of rigid gender roles, to the only domain where women and men were equally paid and equally respected—in grand, historic dance theaters and under the bright lights of the Broadway stage.

At the age of sixteen, Wilson made her classical ballet debut in Monte Carlo. Eight months later, she thrilled to the sound of her first bravos—and she never looked back. After touring Europe and dancing with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet in New York, she set her sights on Broadway, where she danced in many Broadway shows, including Hello Dolly! and the record-breaking performance of A Chorus Line.

Rebel on Pointe immerses the reader in a remarkable and visionary world. It lifts the veil of myth surrounding legendary dance icons like George Balanchine to reveal the real men and women who have made American dance and dancers an international phenomenon.

Wilson expertly depicts how her profession—at times considered so rigid and exacting—was a leading force in the liberation of women from the prison of post-war society. The hard-won gains and the maddening setbacks of the gender revolution are seen here through the eyes of a young dancer searching for freedom one “pas” at a time.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780813047706
Publisher: University Press of Florida
Publication date: 09/30/2014
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 772,263
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Lee Wilson danced for royalty in Europe, gun-toting revolutionaries in Algeria, American aristocrats at the Metropolitan Opera, and a galaxy of stars on Broadway. She is an award-winning writer, producer, and actor living in Los Angeles.

Table of Contents

1 I Discover Dance, 1946-1954 1

2 My Formative Teachers, 1954-1957 15

3 Dance Requires Grit, 1957-1959 25

4 Academic Hurdles, 1959-1961 42

5 Falling in Love with New York, Spring 1961 42

6 At the Ballet Theatre School, Summer 1961 65

7 Stars in Madame Pereyaslavec's Class, 1961-1962 82

8 Rosella Hightower, Cannes, and Monte Carlo, 1962 102

9 Bruhn, Nureyev, and Paris, 1963 125

10 Maina Gielgud, Pas de Quatre, and Vichy, 1963 139

11 Algeria, Naples, and Bordeaux, 1963-1964 161

12 Alicia Markova and the Metropolitan Opera Ballet, 1964-1967 178

13 Hello, Broadway! 1967 192

Acknowledgments 201

Selected Bibliography 203

Index 205

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