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Balanchine, Celebrating a Life in Dance

Balanchine, Celebrating a Life in Dance
Costas Cacaroukas
Windsor: Tide-Mark Press, 2003
GV1786 .N4 B35 2003

Balanchine claimed modestly, "God creates, I assemble," remembers Merrill Ashley. But as Ms. Ashley explains, "Everything he choreographed for us suited us perfectly, both technically and stylistically, while giving us the opportunity to show our joy of dancing throughout the ballet."

This book is about savoring that joy and sharing the pleasure of a Balanchine ballet. It is about the thinking Balanchine brought to the language of his dances. It is about the dancers who, in learning Balanchine's wordless language, make these dances real and alive. "In his usual way," writes Suzanne Farrell, "Mr. B. did not choose to explain Dulcinea to me verbally, but he began involving me in the larger process of putting together what was to be the company's longest, most complicated, and most expensive production to date."

In fact, Balanchine was too self-deprecating. The essence of his dance is a new, fresh, and dramatically creative language that can sometimes be breathtaking. As Maria Tallchief remembers, "An audible sigh rose from the audience. We heard it. It was if they could not believe what they had seen. One second before I had been at one end of the stage standing upright, yet now here I was at the other side suspended in Frank's arms. No one could see how it was done. I must have flown."

Balanchine's ballets are exciting and refreshing for audiences and dancers alike. In describing Rubies, Robert Weiss offers a wonderful summation of the choreographer's work, "It was so American - it had wit and sophistication and looked like so much fun to dance."

And, of course, so much fun to see. Costas has devoted his professional life to photographing Balanchine's work. Balanchine, Celebrating a Life in Dance allows us to see and enjoy it, too.

Quoted from dust jacket.