In their second book, ballerina Kirkland ( Dancing on My Grave ) and her husband will surprise their followers. Though in the earlier work she was a vocal rebel from the strictures of classical dance--Kirkland argued, often with eloquent ferocity, that ballet in America is a hopelessly skewed and exploitative calling--here she seems to make a dogged peace with herself and her peers. Set in London of 1986, where she was rehearsing her acclaimed comeback in Romeo and Juliet with the Royal Ballet, the sequel allows the authors to expound at length on Kirkland's evolving ideas on how to think about dance, as well as how to dance. We are privy to studio sweat and the banter of a happy marriage, the play of backstage personalities and the inevitable intensity that accompanies creation. The power of Kirkland's obsession is difficult to resist, though its purview is intentionally selective--hardly a hint of gossip or scandal attends this chronicle, unlike its angry predecessor. A spellbound maverick, Kirkland still has plenty to say--and says it memorably. (Sept.)
In Dancing on My Grave ( LJ 11/1/86) Kirkland recounted her years as a leading ballerina who nearly lost both her career and her life as she descended into drug addiction and suicidal despair. Taking up the story where that book ended, this tells what has happened to Kirkland and Lawrence since recovery and their marriage. After an absence of two years Kirkland triumphantly returned to the stage to perform with the Royal Ballet in Romeo and Juliet and The Sleeping Beauty. Kirkland laments the imitative quality of many dancers and finds her mission, as a dancer and teacher, in portraying and preserving the dramatic form in dance. Buoyed by love for her husband and her art, Kirkland is a survivor who doesn't hesitate to express her opinions. Her story is compelling and likely to be a best seller. Recommended for most libraries. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 4/15/90.-- Joan Stahl, National Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C.
YA-- Kirkland continues her autobiography begun in Dancing on My Grave (Doubleday, 1986). Recovered from her cocaine addiction and newly married to Greg Lawrence, she goes to London for a starring role in the Royal Ballet's production of Romeo and Juliet. Partnered by long-time friend Anthony Dowell, Kirkland's Juliet receives rave reviews but an injury cuts short her season. She turns to teaching , trying to convey to students her intense analytical approach that emphasizes the importance of understanding the ballet's character and motivation that must be then translated through the dancer's body and choreography. Although less gossipy than the previous book, this will appeal to aspiring ballerinas and fans. Black-and-white photos of Kirkland help get her approach across.-- Diana C. Hirsch, Prince George's County Memorial Library System, MD