GEORGE BALANCHINE: The Ballet Maker

Robert Gottlieb, Author . HarperCollins/Atlas $19.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-06-075070-1

One would be hard-pressed to find a better match for Balanchine for this entry in the Eminent Lives series than Gottlieb, the distinguished editor and dance critic who for years was on the board of directors of the New York City Ballet. Although he knew Balanchine, Gottlieb is quick to point out it was not a close relationship: "To me... he was a god, and I saw my role as being some kind of messenger of the gods." But Gottlieb captures both the divine and human, offering an elegant, sharp and sophisticated take on the choreographer's life. In many instances he elaborates on points made in Bernard Taper's seminal biography, Balanchine . And he adds personal moments, such as Balanchine's comment regarding his choice of successor at the New York City Ballet: "Balanchine made that very clear to me as we were standing in the wings together.... 'It has to be Peter [Martins].... He knows what a ballerina needs.' " This loving tribute captures Balanchine's legacy: his energy, confidence, lack of pretension and, most important, his joy in creation. B&w photos. (Nov. 1)

Reviewed on: 10/11/2004
Release date: 10/01/2004
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Ebook - 224 pages - 978-0-06-200865-7
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