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1. Balanchine: Celebrating a Life
$21.75 $20.37 list($32.95)
2. Margot Fonteyn: A Life
$10.46 $9.55 list($13.95)
3. Confessions Of A Stripper: Tales
$17.13 $0.64 list($25.95)
4. Mao's Last Dancer
$14.96 $12.50 list($22.00)
5. All in the Dances : A Brief Life
$10.50 $8.65 list($15.00)
6. Mao's Last Dancer
$26.40 $15.99 list($40.00)
7. Jerome Robbins : His Life, His
$40.00 $38.00
8. Antonia Mercé, la Argentina: flamenco
$35.00 $34.97
9. Dancing Revelations: Alvin Ailey's
$14.50 $11.36
10. Stripper Shoes
$15.61 $14.59 list($22.95)
11. Steps in Time
$10.40 $7.61 list($13.00)
12. Dancing with Cuba : A Memoir of
$9.75 list($26.95)
13. Once a Dancer...
$13.57 $12.97 list($19.95)
14. George Balanchine : The Ballet
$13.57 $0.69 list($19.95)
15. All His Jazz: The Life & Death
$12.89 $7.45 list($18.95)
16. Gypsy: A Memoir
$22.50 $20.00 list($29.95)
17. Jose Limon: An Unfinished Memoir
$14.00
18. Mr. Bojangles: The Biography of
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19. The Diary of Vaslav Nijinsky :
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20. My Life

1. Balanchine: Celebrating a Life in Dance
by Costas
list price: $45.00
our price: $45.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1559498455
Catlog: Book (2003-10-01)
Publisher: Tide-Mark Press, Ltd.
Sales Rank: 57687
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Balanchine, Celebrating a Life in Dance is a tribute to twentieth-century ballet’s most influential choreographer.Even before founding the New York City Ballet with Lincoln Kirstein, George Balanchine ha achieved international recognition as a dance innovator.Creating dances for his own company, Balanchine’s insights reinvigorated ballet by combining new forms with the traditional while dancing to contemporary musical scores.The works that emerged from this synthesis of styles brought new audiences to dance, as well as new meaning and relevance to the art of dance.

To commemorate the centenary of Balanchine’s birth, Balanchine explores fifty of the choreographer’s greatest works.A host of the most recognized names in dance have come together in this book to pay tribute to George Balanchine in essays that recall their personal experiences with "Mr. B." and offer analysis of his masterpieces.

Clive Barnes, Suzanne Farrell, Peter Martins, Kay Mazzo, Maria Tallchief, Helgi Tomasson, Edward Villella, and Karin von Aroldingen are among the many Balanchine proteges and notables in the dance industry who provide commentary on the ballets.Full-color and black-and-white photos from Costas accompany each essay. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A fitting tribute to Balanchine and Costas
This lavishly illustrated and handsomely designed book is as much a tribute to choreographer George Balanchine as it is to the photographer Costas. True, it is Balanchine who gets centre stage, commemorated for the centenary of his birth with no less than 50 of his ballets, covered by quite an impressive host of authors. Dancers like Maria Tallchief, Suzanne Farrell, Sara Leland, Karin von Aroldingen, Violette Verdy, and Peter Martins, who have been instrumental in bringing Balanchine's work to life or proved an inspiration to "Mr. B." at various moments in his cornucopian career, are joined by the fine fleur of Anglo-saxon dance writers of today - Clive Barnes, Robert Greskovic, Robert Gottlieb, George Jackson, among others - to pay homage to his creative genius.

Yet, it is the photographic legacy of Costas - born Costas Cacaroukas in Chios, Greece and a dance photographer for more than 35 years - which turns "Balanchine, Celebrating a Life in Dance" into an irresistible reference work. With more than 370 photographs (color and black and white) showing Balanchine at work or illustrating his ballets as performed by various leading ballet troupes and artists, past and present (New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Paris Opera, Kirov-Mariinsky, Bolshoi), this book will prove indispensable to any ballet lover.

A most fitting tribute. ... Read more


2. Margot Fonteyn: A Life
by Meredith Daneman
list price: $32.95
our price: $21.75
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Asin: 0670843709
Catlog: Book (2004-10-07)
Publisher: Viking Books
Sales Rank: 855
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Book Description

The legend of Margot Fonteyn has touched every ballet dancer who has come afterher,and her genius endures in the memory of anyone who saw her dance. Yet until now,thecomplete story of her life has remained untold. Meredith Daneman, a novelist andformerdancer, reveals the fascinating story of Peggy Hookham, a little girl fromsuburbanEngland, who grew up to become a Dame of the British Empire and the most famousballerina in the world.

This completely riveting and definitive biography chronicles Fonteyn’s earlyyears andher intense connection to her mother, the "Black Queen"; her loves in bohemianthirtiesand forties London; her relationship with her balletic Svengali, FrederickAshton; herconquest of New York with the Sadler’s Wells Ballet; and her final years inPanama withher husband, Roberto Arias. Daneman reflects on Fonteyn’s "lyricism and limpidpurityof line, so potent with theatrical moment that even film cannot capture it" andthe worldof ballet from the birth of the British Royal Ballet to Rudolf Nureyev, herfinal partnerand rumored lover.

Balletomanes and readers of biography alike will applaud Daneman’s vivid,insightful,and highly entertaining work. Based on more than ten years of research andlavishlyillustrated with beautiful and evocative photographs, Margot Fonteyn isanexquisite biography that is supremely worthy of its alluring subject. ... Read more


3. Confessions Of A Stripper: Tales From The Vip Room
by Lacey Lane
list price: $13.95
our price: $10.46
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Asin: 0929712927
Catlog: Book (2004-05-31)
Publisher: Huntington Press
Sales Rank: 139719
Average Customer Review: 3 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

What really goes on inside the mysterious VIP room? Find out first-hand, as career stripper Lacey Lane unlocks the doors to the secret sanctums at the center of the action in gentlemen's clubs across America. CONFESSIONS OF A STRIPPER puts you in the middle of the VIP Room, where freaks, fetishists, scammers, and even normal guys match wits with the dancers. Here, outlandish fantasies are bought and sold, and almost nothing is beyond the realm of possibility. These true stories, culled from Lane's years of performing in dozens of clubs around the country, also provide the lowdown on the ins and outs of the topless trade, including suggestions on tipping, finessing the bouncers, negotiating for services, avoiding sucker traps, and yes, even scoring a date with a dancer. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

1-0 out of 5 stars Surface Skimming
This book was lame. After a few chapters about the stereotypical dancer, the stereotypical strip club owner, the stereotypical strip club DJ, The stereotypical strip club bouncer, the author breaks the book into short (1-3 pages)chapters about clients. Each client has a boring story to accompany him (or her) None of them are particularly interesting, shocking, or entertaining. One guy likes feet, one guy likes lingerie. etc.

If a skin-a-max movie could be a book, this would be it.

5-0 out of 5 stars I absolutely loved this book
I've read about 20 books of late about strippers/sex workers & can honestly say that this one & Strip City by Lily Burana are my two favorites, with Lacey Lane slightly edging Ms. Burana out. They both made me laugh out loud & I couldn't put either one down but Ms. Lane's comes out on top because there aren't endless descriptions of outfits in it. hahaha Not that I don't appreciate the fascination with fabulous dancewear, it just wasn't my thing. This is just excellent entertainment & I wish I'd read it BEFORE I blew my savings on strip clubs. My one criticism of this book is that it's too dang short. Man, I would've LOVED to hear more more more.

I've given copies to my favorite dancer friends (we have a sort of strip club reading club going on) & they agree with me. Very fun, very entertaining book. Not what you'd want if you're looking for intense sociological studies but for great behind-the-scenes tales & a wicked sense of humor, Lacey Lane's your best bet. ... Read more


4. Mao's Last Dancer
by Cunxin Li
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
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Asin: 039915096X
Catlog: Book (2004-03-01)
Publisher: Putnam Publishing Group
Sales Rank: 12611
Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

An extraordinary memoir of a peasant boy raised in rural Maoist China who was plucked from his village to study ballet and went on to become one of the greatest dancers of his generation.

In 1961, three years of Mao's Great Leap Forward-along with three years of poor harvests-had left a rural China suffering terribly from disease and deprivation. Li Cunxin, his parents' sixth son, lived in a small house with twenty of his relatives and, along with the rest of his family, subsisted for years on the verge of starvation. But when he was eleven years old, Madame Mao decided to revive the Peking Dance Academy, and sent her men into the countryside searching for children to attend.

Chosen on the basis of his physique alone, Li Cunxin was taken from his family and sent to the city for rigorous training. What follows is the story of how a small, terrified, lonely boy became one of the greatest ballet dancers in the world. One part Falling Leaves, one part Billy Eliot, Mao's Last Dancer is an unforgettable memoir of hope and courage.
... Read more

Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars An Inspriational Story of Escape from Poverty
I found this to be an extraordinary memoir. The book traces Cunxin Li's life growing up as a child under conditions of severe poverty in a small village during China's Cultural Revolution. Li's account of the hunger and deprivation during his early childhood offers a vivid glimpse of rural life under state socialism. The story moves from here to the discipline and perhaps even the cruelty of the Peking Dance academy where Li spent his teenage years. Finally, we follow the author to the United States where he embarks on a remarkable career as a principal dancer for the Houston ballet. For those interested in Chinese life, the immigrant experience, the Chinese-American community, ballet and the arts, and even political intrigue, this story is a gripping must-read.

5-0 out of 5 stars an unforgettable journey
Li Cunxin skillfully, yet simply reaches out and tugs at our hearts with this unforgettable memoir about growing up in China during the Cultural Revolution. With poverty and starvation a constant concern, the Li family warms our heart by illustrating that sharing and caring for each other is the fundamental breath of life, while happiness is being together. Young Cunxin is granted an opportunity to go to dance academy and make something of himself. Little does he know the changes and challenges that lie ahead. Once I opened this book I couldn't find the will power to set it down. I felt as if I'd become part of the family. This read will definently draw tears, smiles, and laughs. Add this one to your collection!

4-0 out of 5 stars Heartwarming story
Whilst this wasn't a great work of literature, the story was tender and embracing. I couldn't put it down and even on closing the book I was still left with the emotion of Li's life story.

4-0 out of 5 stars An amazing political story.
It begins in 1961 .. not back in the 20's or 30's, when it would have been easier to believe such poverty was possible. Right there in the 60's, when our generation here in America was protesting and ignorantly embracing Communism! Really made me realize that it was a spoiled, selfish generation, that had no idea what oppression and lack of freedom was really like. This book removes the rose-colored glasses of what it is like to live under a totalitarian government.

5-0 out of 5 stars Marvelous!
This book is wonderfully written, and once you start it, you will not be able to put it down. I know many Chinese people who grew up in China during Mao's Cultural Revolution and can relate to Li Cunxin's experiences in terms of starvation and the propaganda. Fascinating read and a real page-turner. ... Read more


5. All in the Dances : A Brief Life of George Balanchine
by Terry Teachout
list price: $22.00
our price: $14.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0151010889
Catlog: Book (2004-11-01)
Publisher: Harcourt
Sales Rank: 14417
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Book Description

Twenty years after his death, George Balanchine still dominates the world of ballet. Not only have his works been danced by the New York City Ballet continuously since 1948, but they also have been performed by more than two dozen other companies throughout the world. In clear and elegant writing, Terry Teachout brings to life the dramatic story of George Balanchine, a Russian émigré who fell in love with American culture, married four times and kept a mistress on the side, and transformed the art of ballet forever.

... Read more

6. Mao's Last Dancer
by LiCunxin
list price: $15.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0425201333
Catlog: Book (2005-03-01)
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Sales Rank: 19241
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

From a desperately poor village in northeast China, at age eleven, Li Cunxin was chosen by Madame Mao's cultural delegates to be taken from his rural home and brought to Beijing, where he would study ballet. In 1979, the young dancer arrived in Texas as part of a cultural exchange, only to fall in love with America-and with an American woman. Two years later, through a series of events worthy of the most exciting cloak-and-dagger fiction, he defected to the United States, where he quickly became known as one of the greatest ballet dancers in the world. This is his story, told in his own inimitable voice. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A warm portrait of childhood in rural China
Li Cunxin in a Chinese Frank McCourt: with vivid detail and warm humor, he describes growing up cold, poor, hungry, and surrounded by a big family and memorable neighbors. But Li's life journey is even more improbable. Against the backdrop of the Cultural Revolution, Li moves from rural poverty to defection, then international acclaim as a ballet dancer, and finally a reconciliation, of sorts, with his homeland.

Although it was written for adults, my 5- and 7-year-old kids loved the storytelling about Li's mischievous childhood in the first third of the book. The chapters about his rise in the ranks of international ballet were less entertaining. I've read dozens of China memoirs, and this is among the best.
... Read more


7. Jerome Robbins : His Life, His Theater, His Dance
by Deborah Jowitt
list price: $40.00
our price: $26.40
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0684869853
Catlog: Book (2004-08-11)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 10382
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Book Description

In this authoritative biography, Deborah Jowitt explores the life, works, and creative processes of the complex genius Jerome Robbins (1918-1998), who redefined the role of dance in musical theater and is also considered America's greatest native-born ballet choreographer.

Granted unrestricted access to an enormous archive of personal and professional papers that included journals, correspondence, sketches, photographs, production notes, contracts, and more, Jowitt also interviewed more than one hundred performers and others who had collaborated with Robbins. Her book gives insights into his lively curiosity, his volatile temperament, and his constant striving for perfection, revealing not just how others saw him, but -- through the thoughts, feelings, and passionate outbursts he put down on paper over the course of almost eight decades -- how he saw himself.

His career was closely tied to the development of both ballet and musical comedy in America. The only son of Russian Jewish immigrants, he began as a modern dancer and Broadway chorus boy. He joined Ballet Theatre shortly after its founding in 1940 and the New York City Ballet when it first became known by that name in 1948; his choreography, beginning with the smash hit Fancy Free in 1944, contributed to the emerging profile of both companies. He created ingenious numbers for lighthearted musicals like On the Town and High Button Shoes, but his imprint on West Side Story and later on Fiddler on the Roof helped lift the Broadway musical to a level in which dancing illuminated character and plot.

Jowitt recounts how this richly creative life in the theater and out of it was shaped by Robbins's affairs with both men and women, his close friendships with other major artists ranging from Robert Graves to Robert Wilson, and the political and artistic climate of the times he lived in. Her investigation of his career includes the brief existence (1958-1961) of his own immensely successful company, Ballets: U.S.A.; his travails "doctoring" such musicals as Funny Girl and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum; his more experimental work directing plays during the 1960s; his attempt in the aborted Poppa Piece to come to terms with his Jewish heritage and his appearance before the House Committee on Un-American Activities; and the final glorious period beginning in 1969, when he returned to the New York City Ballet to work again beside the man he considered a mentor, George Balanchine.

This meticulously researched and elegantly written story of a life's work is illuminated by photographs, enlivened by anecdotes, and grounded in insights into ballets and musical comedies that have been seen and loved all over the world. ... Read more


8. Antonia Mercé, la Argentina: flamenco y la vanguardia española
by Ninotchka Devorah Bennahum
list price: $40.00
our price: $40.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0819563838
Catlog: Book (2000-03-01)
Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
Sales Rank: 1122351
Average Customer Review: 3 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The first major study of the Spanish choreographer who invented the modernist Flamenco ballet form. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

3-0 out of 5 stars A pretty and necessary work, but flawed
This is a pretty book, filled with lots of wonderful historic photos and other memorabilia. It is heartening to see a full work about a creator within that larger genre of "Spanish Dance," and it is a work filled with lots of information. It brings to life, at times in great detail, the character of Antonia Mercé and the era in which she lived. This is a work that should appeal to dance enthusiasts, dance historians, and lovers of Spanish dance, and for the majority of such individuals it should fill what has mostly been a large blank.

I should leave my review there, and if this were a work of love by a lay-person enthusiast, I would. What nags, however, is that (a) the author is a university professor and (b) it is published by a major university press. One therefore has a right to expect that the manuscript was properly reviewed and edited. Perhaps it is a result of the relative obscurity of the subject, perhaps also the author's lack of command of the subject's principal language, Spanish, but the book nevertheless contains a great many annoying errors that can be misleading to other serious researchers who might rely upon this work. Not only that, the author often interjects equally annoying opinions and characterizations, some anachronistic, some irritatingly "PC".

Room allows but one example of historical error. At p. 17, the author places total blame upon Franco and his style of fascism for the destruction of "the essence of Spanish life and culture," and that during his reign "Spain would return to the repressive fascist state it had been during the Inquisition (1478 - 1834)." Granted, Franco's regime was no picnic, but this is "over the top" PC speak: By the time Franco entered Spain from North Africa as a rebel, the country's only alternative to the Nationalists of which Franco by default became the leader (after the deaths of three other generals) was a Stalinist puppet government that was busy exterminating any opposition to its own brutal policies. England, the U.S., and the rest of Europe other than Hitler's Germany and Mussolini's Italy turned a blind eye and offered no support of any kind. And it was Mussolini who first came up with "Fascism" after the end of World War I, so how was Spain a "fascist state" four centuries before? And Franco's repressive government provided asylum from the Nazis to any Jews who could show they were Sephardic - something the U.S. never did; and it was Franco's government which in 1968 officially repealed the order of expulsion signed by Fernando and Isabela in 1492- something which the so-called Republican Government never did.

On the same page the author has Ernest Hemmingway fighting in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade alongside George Orwell! Did anyone check this manuscript? The Abraham Lincoln Brigade was composed of North American volunteers. Orwell was British, a devoted Socialist, and after a brief stint as a journalist covering the Spanish Civil War he joined the Lenin Brigade in Barcelona, not the Lincoln. His experiences there lead him to write several exposé's of Soviet style brutality, betrayal, lying and corruption, and later his classic work, Animal Farm. Hemingway only appeared as a journalist and never joined any brigade. (That was why he was able to visit Spain multiple times during the Franco years, something he never would have been allowed to do if he had fought for the Republic.)

Then there is the pseudo-academic clap trap: p. 31 "Further, one must ask whether Flamenco performers' prejudice against the Spanish castanet was a Franco-era hold-over or a postmodern reaction to a light-sounding, aristocratic instrument that viewed the castanet as a conflation of eighteenth- and twentieth-century socioeconomic and political values." Oh, please. (And the Flamencos do use castanets, but they also know when their use is appropriate and when it is not.)

The author also commits the sin of falling so in love with her subject that at times the book becomes more panegyric or hagiography than a biography. Reading this book alone, one would think that Antonia Mercé single handedly invented the theatrical version of Spanish dance and was the first to include flamenco. In fact, she was one of many - a significant one, no doubt, but not the only one. An example is the author's approving quote from her subject: (p. 71) "At the beginning... dance maestros rejected my 'revolution of classical dance.' Now all dancers are not only trying to imitate my way of dance, but my gestures, and the way I comb my hair. In all academies, my dancing alone is being taught." The author only stated that here Ms. Mercé was "neither modest nor unsure of herself" but was "absolutely aware of what she had accomplished." Sure, according to Ms. Mercé, but this is more an example of her at times insufferable arrogance, a trait she shared with her most famous male dance partner, Vicente Escudero (whom the author states point blank was "a Gypsy" from Valladolid - but that was information from the lips of Escudero himself, always a dubious source of information). And there is no balance. For example, the author neither noted nor quoted Mercé's admissions that there were dancers who could teach her a thing or two. For example, after seeing the then aging Gypsy, María Gracia Cortés Campos, "la Golondrina," dance at a private party, in awe she had to ask her host, "Do I dance well?... If only I could produce in public half the emotion I feel now! Look how I am!" whereupon she placed her cold and trembling hand in that of her host. (Quoted in "El baile flamenco," Ángel Álvarez Caballero, p. 165)

Antonia Mercé was indeed a dance great, but, contrary to what is implied in both the title and in the body of this book, she was never a flamenco great - was, in many ways, the opposite of a flamenco. Her contributions lay in choreography and theatrical presentation, which the author properly notes. ... Read more


9. Dancing Revelations: Alvin Ailey's Embodiment of African American Culture
by Thomas F. DeFrantz
list price: $35.00
our price: $35.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0195154193
Catlog: Book (2004-01-01)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Sales Rank: 246117
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Book Description

In the early 1960s, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater was a small, multi-racial company of dancers that performed the works of its founding choreographer and other emerging artists. By the late 1960s, the company had become a well-known African American artistic group closely tied to the Civil Rights struggle. In Dancing Revelations, Thomas DeFrantz chronicles the troupe's journey from a small modern dance company to one of the premier institutions of African American culture. He not only charts this rise to national and international renown, but also contextualizes this progress within the civil rights, women's rights, and gay rights struggles of the late 20th century.

DeFrantz examines the most celebrated Ailey dances, including Revelations, drawing on video recordings of Ailey's dances, published interviews, oral histories, and his own interviews with former Ailey company dancers.Through vivid descriptions and beautiful illustrations, DeFrantz reveals the relationship between Ailey's works and African American culture as a whole. He illuminates the dual achievement of Ailey as an artist and as an arts activist committed to developing an African American presence in dance. He also addresses concerns about how dance performance is documented, including issues around spectatorship and the display of sexuality, the relationship of Ailey's dances to civil rights activism, and the establishment and maintenance of a successful, large-scale

Black Arts institution.

Throughout Dancing Revelations, DeFrantz illustrates how Ailey combined elements of African dance with motifs adapted from blues, jazz, and Broadway to choreograph his dances. By re-interpreting these tropes of black culture in his original and well-received dances, DeFrantz argues that Ailey played a significant role in defining the African American cultural canon in the twentieth century. As the first book to examine the cultural sources and cultural impact of Ailey's work, Dancing Revelations is an important contribution to modern dance history and criticism as well as African-American studies. ... Read more


10. Stripper Shoes
by Cheryl S. Bartlett
list price: $14.50
our price: $14.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1414045050
Catlog: Book (2004-01-01)
Publisher: 1stBooks Library
Sales Rank: 182797
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Strippers 1: Corporate Harpies 0
While this book could have been a cliched or snarky rambling observation more than an exposition, it is an honest, funny and frequently hot little read. The genuine straightforwardness, strength and humor it took for the author to not only do these things, but to later write about them in a way that did not require diminution of the strippers or herself is the nicest part of the whole book. Completely lacking an academic's "bug in the jar" approach within the book, the author's Ph.D. is just another fact in the mix. And she made me want to wear stripper shoes, too.

5-0 out of 5 stars FAST AND SEXY READ
A fascinating journey backstage leads to an honest self-examination, looking for love in all the wrong places. A voyeur's delight. Recommended reading. You go girl-great job!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Stripper Shoes
Fast and Sexy Read! A fascinating journey backstage. An honest self-examination, looking for love in all the wrong places. A voyer's delight. Recommended reading. You go girl-great job!

5-0 out of 5 stars A really fun read!
This is a hilarious, enjoyable, and thoroughly entertaining story about a woman who decides, after having two children and completing her Ph.D., to become a stripper. I particularly enjoyed the contrast the author strikes between the corporate "dog eat dog" world and the stripping/sex industry. A hard to put down book with a memorable ending.

5-0 out of 5 stars PH.D STRIPPERS ARE FEW AND FAR BETWEEN
Very well written account of a professional woman who embarks on a new and very unique part-time vocation. Ph.D researcher by day and a topless dancer by night. Author gives compelling insights into the life of a topless dancer, her co-workers, patrons and the "dark side" of that profession. As counter-point, she contrasts the differing pressures and tribulations of her day job and the precarious balancing act for her husband and family. An entertaining and thought-provoking book! ... Read more


11. Steps in Time
by Fred Astaire
list price: $22.95
our price: $15.61
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0815410581
Catlog: Book (2000-06)
Publisher: Cooper Square Publishers
Sales Rank: 99806
Average Customer Review: 4.64 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Fred Astaire allows us to see through the effortless balletic exuberance. ... Read more

Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars a must for fans of the talented Mr. A
Fred Astaire tells his story in the same way he dances, with integrity and grace. I have been a fan of Mr.Astaire's for many years. The first movie of his I saw was "Daddy Long Legs." I was fasinated with the way he danced. When I found out that he had a biography I snatched a copy up. What I like about this book is that Fred Astaire wrote it himself. I found myself laughing at times, and after reading the book I felt as if I knew him personally. The best thing about this book is that it has 47 black and white photos. This book is a must for true fans of one of the greatest dancers who ever graced the big screen.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fred Astaire captures my heart.....again!!
An amazing story told by the man himself!! What an incredible life he led! A must have for any fan! I could not put it down. He is an amazing story teller and spends alot of the book on what you don't hear about, his and his sister Adele's incredible vaudeville act and his tour with the USO. What a wonderful man! And he focuses on things other people don't, his flops in show business! You know about his triumph's but he shares his defeats also. Definately worth every penny.

4-0 out of 5 stars A book worth reading...
This book is actually one big anecdote, peppered with little things like Mr. A's first punch, trying to figure out a title for the book, and meeting his wife, Phyllis.

However, Fred Astaire does not offer much insight on how he got from point A to Z, or what made him do this and that. In other words, people who want the whys (and plan to psychoanalyze Mr. A's actions) will not find what they are looking for.

It's still a great read though, and real entertaining.

3-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
When I read an autobiography of a great person I look for insights into: What makes this person great? What specifically has he done, and what experiences and thought processes has he undergone, that shaped him to be the master of his domain? This is what makes a great autobiography fascinating. You search not only for WHAT he's saying, but also HOW is he saying it. Not only what he's done, but how he got there and his thoughts about it.

Unfortunately, in this book Fred Astaire offers no such insights. This book is filled with facts that are largely uninteresting to me - on this and that date he met Mr. So and So and did such and such movie with such and such lovely star with such and such lovely songs by such and such great composer through such and such studio.... Brief, factual stories.

These facts have their value, and his fans might want to know them, but when they make up an entire book without offering any further depth, I cannot but end up feeling dissatisfied and wanting for more.

As I was reading I kept on hoping that sooner or later I would get to a chapter where Astaire offers some meat, some idea as to who he was, his thoughts and views, insights into his personality and brilliance, some of his methods and perhaps even masterly advice. When I passed the 300th page of this 325-page book and still haven't found it, I finally had to admit to myself that it ain't happenin'. Even his humor and the small points he emphasizes here and there are rather trivial.

As much as I'm a devout fan of his incredible dancing skills (some of which I emulate in my own dancing), I must say that after having seen all of his movies and read this book I've come to the conclusion that there's something rather empty about him as a person, a quality that comes out in his art as well.

This might be sacrilegious, but that's how I feel.

True, his movements are unmatched, angelic to perfection and a sheer pleasure to the eye, but I have yet to feel that he's got more substance or depth to him other than these masterful movements. In all his fantastic movements, and in all his wonderful movies, I've yet to see him really moved - not even once.

I finally found SOMETHING to nibble on at the end of the book, literally on the final page. There he frankly admits that he's got "disappointingly little to say" about "the history and the philosophy of 'the dance'".

But, Mr. Fred, I'm not asking you to teach us the evolution and history of dancing! I can get that information from other sources. I am asking you to offer us some idea how YOU think! surely you've some ideas about dancing and what separates you from all other dancers in the world!

Or maybe not?

If he did, he surely kept it from us.

He does offer one clue though, on that same page. In it he tells us that he wanted to keep the "basic principles of balance and grace" of ballet, but felt "there should be no limitations". He says, "I wanted to do all my dancing my own way, in a sort of outlaw style. I always resented being told that I couldn't point my toe in, or some other such rule."

Now we know something about him! (although I could have guessed that just by watching him dance..)

In what probably is the most revealing remark in the book, still on that last page, he writes: "I have never used [dancing] as an outlet or as a means of expressing myself".

The impression I have - from seeing all his movies and this book confirmed it to me - is that in fact he had little to express. He's a master technician and a master of grace, but where is Fred Astaire, the man, in all this? Have we merely scratched the surface of his intellect and emotion, or is this surface all there is to him?

There are two options here. Either he's truly a very ordinary man who happened to have a truly extra-ordinary gift, and therefore he cannot articulate what he does not have, or that he actually does have a philosophy of life, and it goes something like this: 'Nothing needs to be taken seriously because life is utterly inane and meaningless. It's enough to be decent (which he certainly was), and beyond that, pray don't think or feel too much.. just dance!'

5-0 out of 5 stars An American Classic
Fred Astaire was truly an American classic. Now that movie musicals are dead, proven by the born-dead "Moulin Rouge," no one is ever likely to surpass Astaire or even come close. Astaire tells his story in a disarmingly modest and self-deprecating way. He never says an unkind word about anyone. Does this make for a boring book? On the contrary, what you see on the screen is what you get in this book. You can hear his very voice telling the story. ... Read more


12. Dancing with Cuba : A Memoir of the Revolution
by ALMA GUILLERMOPRIETO
list price: $13.00
our price: $10.40
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375725814
Catlog: Book (2005-02-08)
Publisher: Vintage
Sales Rank: 31335
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (3)

1-0 out of 5 stars don't bother
The author continually contradicts herself in a way that makes you wonder if she really "remebers" being there at all. The conflict between what she describes and her analysis from her current point of view is so disturbing that I couldn't finish the book. It left me confused.

I have spent much time in Cuban and have studied Cuban history and have read dozens of books of this type. This is only the second of which I have actually had to just give up on.

The story of Cuba is drown in her self-pity and self-absorbed reflection into her personality flaws and insecurities.

Too bad, it sounded like it was going to be such interesting adventure.

5-0 out of 5 stars Girl meets revolution; changed forever
This memoir is so nuanced and smart, it blows away 99 percent of the books written about Cuba's revolution.

5-0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous and Intelligent
Dancing with Cuba is written by a woman who has experienced Cuba firsthand after the revolution.Her ability to write details is daunting, but this gift throws us into a life that most Americans have never experienced. I am a Cuban book collector and "Dancing with Cuba" and a Cuban picture book (for kids) set in Miami's Little Havana festival with an all Cuban cast,are my family's two favorites.

I highly recommend this book for Cuba lovers. ... Read more


13. Once a Dancer...
by Allegra Kent
list price: $26.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312150512
Catlog: Book (1997-01-01)
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Sales Rank: 690303
Average Customer Review: 4.58 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

This unusual, fascinating, and at times almost surreal autobiography chronicles the life of Allegra Kent, one of the most famous--and notorious--of Balanchine's prima ballerinas. The most blatantly erotic of Balanchine ballets were written for her pliant and chilly dance method. This book has it all: art, dance, infidelity, sexual intrigue, histrionics, eccentric outbursts, nose jobs, philosophy, and Krishnamurti. Entirely entertaining and intriguing for both dance enthusiasts and those who don't know a plié from a jeté. ... Read more

Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars Once A Dancer...What a Life...
Ms. Kent's style of writing mirrors that of her dancing: beautiful and inspiring. Throughout her fairytale, as this work cannot accurately be described as a story, nor a novel- it is every young girl's dream written elegantly and delicately onto the pages of her autobiography, Ms. Kent speaks honestly and candidly about her troubles and problems that arise in her life. Such situations unclude her emotional relationship with photographer Bert Stern, as well as her desire to continue dancing and performing after pregnancy (and how George Balanchine viewed her decisions regarding her choice to start a family mid-career). She also discusses her multiple attempts at careers outside the New York City Ballet; from her stunts as a guest artist, to her trials and misconceptions about the Allegra Kent School of Ballet. Ms Kent concludes her book with the statement, "...dancing well is the best revenge". Perhaps it could be better said that writing about life in dance has become Ms. Kent's true revenge. [HHS-4]

5-0 out of 5 stars Once A Dancer....What a Fairytale
Ms. Kent's style of writing mirrors that of her dancing: beautiful and inspiring. Throughout her fairytale, as this work cannot accurately be described as a story, nor a novel- it is every young girl's dream written elegantly and delicately onto the pages of her autobiography, Ms. Kent speaks honestly and candidly about her troubles and problems that arise in her life. Such situations include her emotional relationship with photographer Bert Stern, as well as her desire to continue dancing and performing after pregnancy (and how George Balanchine viewed her decisions regarding her choice to start a family mid-career). She also discusses her multiple attempts at careers outside the New York City Ballet; from her stunts as a guest artist, to her trials and misconceptions about the Allegra Kent School of Ballet. Ms Kent concludes her book with the statement, "...dancing well is the best revenge". Perhaps it could be better said that writing about life in dance has become Ms. Kent's true revenge. [HHS-4]

4-0 out of 5 stars A paean to what once was
I saw her dance once, and I still dream of that night. Balanchine was at his peak, and Allegra Kent was more than his principal dancer - she was his muse, his passion, his nemesis. And her dancing was incredible. Once a Dancer, Kent's autobiography, chronicles the strange world of famous ballerinas, plagued as most of them are by anorexia, domineering stage mothers, vulnerability to dance gurus, plastic surgery, and a long, long series of self-destructive behavior. Wonderful sketches of other luminaries from her era are included, plus photos, but it's the end of the book that one remembers: the poignancy of someone of Allegra Kent's talents looking back on her life and appreciating in retrospect all that she once was, is heartbreaking.

3-0 out of 5 stars An amazing dancer, an amazing life, a dull biography.
Allegra Kent describes her life as a dancer, but does not bother to examine it. By chapter two, her self-pitying tone had become rather annoying.
However, this book does not fail to entertain... her life was certainly quite interesting. I especially enjoyed the study of her complex relationship with her parents.
Once a Dancer is worth reading but nothing compared to the biographies of Suzanne Farrell and Gelsey Kirkland (two of Mr. B's other prima ballerinas).

5-0 out of 5 stars a must read
I am a lawyer, not a dancer. However, I absolutely loved this book. Alegra has a wonderful writing syle which captivated me from the beginning. From her yearnings for affection and approval to her unbelievable dancing success, she had me hooked on every page. In fact, thanks to allegra, I have started taking dance lessons!! ... Read more


14. George Balanchine : The Ballet Maker (Eminent Lives)
by Robert Gottlieb
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060750707
Catlog: Book (2004-11-01)
Publisher: Harper Collins
Sales Rank: 2477
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Book Description

Balanchine's life story is a fascinating journey -- from his near-accidental enrollment, at the age of nine, in St. Petersburg's Imperial School of Ballet, through the deprivation and hunger of Bolshevik Russia, to Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, and finally, in 1933, to the United States and eventually to the New York City Ballet, to which his reputation is forever tied. As his fame spread around the world, Balanchine's ideas revolutionized ballet, extending the vocabulary of classical dance both through his teaching and through a series of great works, from his crucial collaboration with Stravinsky to his restagings of nineteenth-century classics, including the immensely popular Nutcracker.

Even as he was championing classical ballet during the thirties and forties, Balanchine was expanding the possibilities of dance on Broadway, choreographing a series of major musicals (four Rodgers and Hart shows, including On Your Toes, with its famous "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue"). Meanwhile in Hollywood, beginning with The Goldwyn Follies, he was successfully exploring the possibilities of filmed dance.

His personal life was as highly charged as his professional life, involving five dancer-wives, including Broadway stars Tamara Geva (On Your Toes) and Vera Zorina (I Married an Angel) and three great ballerinas, most notably Maria Tallchief.

In this loving biography, Robert Gottlieb chronicles the life and achievements of ballet's foremost choreographer. Drawing on his own involvement with the New York City Ballet and his relationships with Balanchine, Lincoln Kirstein (who brought Balanchine to America), and many of Balanchine's leading colleagues, Gottlieb has produced a compelling portrait of a vital man, one of the creative masters of the twentieth century.

... Read more

15. All His Jazz: The Life & Death of Bob Fosse
by Martin Gottfried
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0306812843
Catlog: Book (2003-09-01)
Publisher: Da Capo Press
Sales Rank: 285630
Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Guy, Fascinating Book
I'll tell you right off the top, I'm not a huge fan of Broadway musicals. Mostly I'm a fan of Fosse because of his films, which rank among my favorites. But regardless of any of that, Fosse's personality and his life make him a fascinating subject for biographical study.

Gottfried's book is heavily detailed, describing the events of Fosse's life, exploring his work and his personal realtionships, and really getting inside the man's head, all the while maintaining a very readable, and appropriately jazzy style. There's also enough quoted dialogue to keep the book flowing almost like a work of fiction.

A great read and an informative one. Highly recommended to fans of Fosse and his work, or those simply interested in one of the most intriguing of showbiz lives.

5-0 out of 5 stars Pure Fun
Maybe I'm biased: I'm a shrink. I lived in New York in the early 80's. I knew some of the people mentioned in the book. But this was the most fun I've had reading since Letters from a Nut. Full of tidbits about a raft of celebrities. Another reviewer complained about the lack of pictures. Why stop there? We need all the films, too. Must watch All That Jazz again ASAP, AND try to get my hands on Sweet Charity and Cabaret. A great ride!

3-0 out of 5 stars Jazzed out!
The book is very thorough and does give a very accurate blow by blow description of every moment in Bob Fosse's life. If you love the man and want to relive his life for him, read this book. On the other hand, if you are trying to do a paper, you might want to start reading this about 6 months before your paper is due. It is very hard to weigh through the many, colorful words and facts in this book in any small amount of time. I will someday read this book for pleasure but right now, after only reading three chapters (though be very interesting), I am totally jazzed out! phew!

3-0 out of 5 stars Neither Hero Nor Villain
"All His Jazz" is compelling for the blow-by-blow account that it gives of Bob Fosse's unparalled career. It is probably one of the more comprehensive and insightful books about show business that has been written. The main problem with the book lies in his subject matter, which one would think would be untenable for a biography. Bob Fosse and those around him (with the exception of very few) come across as arrogant, self-centered, and certainly self-destructive. Hey, let's face it. Truth certainly can be stranger than fiction, but it kept me from really getting into the book on a personal level. I ended up angry more than sympathetic and incredulous more than intrigued. The other problem I had with the book is a noble one, but exposes the flaws all the same. There really are not enough photos to supplement the narrative. The only reason I say this is because so much attention is spent on the details of Fosse's career, that it is a shame there are so few photos representing his amazing stage career. We can all go rent the movies if we want to see what they are about, and it might not be a bad idea to watch "All That Jazz" (which, by the way, is one of my all time favorites) before picking up a copy of this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars THE GREATEST BOOK ON EARTH!!
This book is one of , if not the, greatest books I have ever read. It reads so wonderfully. I read it in three days. It just flew off the pages. I can't give this book enough praise. FOSSE FANS READ THIS BOOK!!!!! ... Read more


16. Gypsy: A Memoir
by Gypsy Rose Lee
list price: $18.95
our price: $12.89
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1883319951
Catlog: Book (1999-07-01)
Publisher: Frog Ltd.
Sales Rank: 166529
Average Customer Review: 4.29 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Gypsy Rose Lee was an American original -- a woman who transformed the striptease into an art form and bewitched audiences around the world. This colorful autobiography follows Gypsy from her childhood in a ragtag vaudeville troupe to her glittering career as the queen of burlesque. Readers meet Gypsy's indomitable mother, who launched her onto the stage at age four, as well as Florenz Ziegfeld, Fanny Brice, and other flamboyant personalities. As the subject of a Broadway musical, a movie, and a TV movie, Gypsy Rose Lee is a part of America's cultural landscape. ... Read more

Reviews (7)

3-0 out of 5 stars Exciting, but Leaves 'em Wanting More
Much like the style of her burlesque, Gypsy Rose Lee's memoir offers just a tantalizing glimpse of the real Louise Rose Hovick.

Breathlessly relating her childhood spent in the popular, family-oriented entertainment of the early 1900s vaudeville variety show circuit with her star younger sister, "Dainty" June, and their shrewd stage manager and mother, Rose, Lee easily engages readers. Pages fly by, from skits in front of local lodge brothers to shows before burgeoning audiences in lavish theaters across the country as they tirelessly shop their ever-polished singing, dancing and comedy act. A faint picture slowly emerges of Lee as a bright, introverted young girl yearning for more attention. Despite the rough road life and her own disappointment, not much self-pity shows.

What does show clearly is Lee's budding business savvy. After her sister leaves the act, Lee turns the tragedy into opportunity with a little peroxide and PR. Cleverly, she also leaves her hair dark, creating a distinguishing detail out of a common hair color. As vaudeville dries up and she transitions to burlesque, she again demonstrates uncanny sense in choosing her famous stage name. A shorter portion of the book details her rise to the top of the burlesque world, a story peppered with desperate scam artists, benevolent gangsters and jealous stars.

Disappointing is the absence of some relevant detail. Dates are rarely specified, which might otherwise allow readers to more easily trace Lee's story and place it in context with other historical events. No discussion is offered about burlesque and the law, or Lee's thoughts about it. Famous vaudevillians such as Abbott and Costello are mentioned, but only in passing. Significant details are also conspicuously absent. Despite mention of her son, Erik, no mention is made of his father, and hardly any of her relationships are discussed. Privacy, timing and taboo may account for these latter absences, however.

Perhaps, in not telling all, Gypsy Rose Lee suggests her greatest talent, grace.

5-0 out of 5 stars Gypsy Fan
If you like the movie, you'll love the book. Although be prepared, they are different in many ways.
I enjoyed the writing and content.
She made a hard life entertaining yet real.
Being a fan made this book even more enjoyable.

4-0 out of 5 stars Gypsy a book that can make you laugh, cry, and strip!
I could not put this book down! I felt that Gypsy Rose Lee was talking to me directly. It was as if I was her friend, and she was just telling me her life story. I was captivated from beginning to end always wondering what the next adventure would be. From their childhood, where they toured Vaudeville to Gypsy's rise to stardom in Burlesque, there was never a dull moment.
Along the way you come across an incredible cast of characters. Starting with Rose Louise Havick (Gypsy's birth name), who lived her younger sister's shadow for years. June (her sister) was supposed to be the star not Louise. Mama Rose, Gypsy and June's mother who wanted nothing more than to have one of her daughters become a star. There are also many famous faces in this book, from Broadway's funny girl, Fanny Brice to gangster, Waxy Gordon. You even meet Gypsy's first love (of course you will have to read the book to find out who that is)!
Gypsy is the ugly duckling who discovered that she was really a beautiful swan. When June ran away to get married at 13, Gypsy's life turned upside down. She went from chorus "boy" to becoming the most well known stripper this country has ever known. And you can bet her mother was there every step of the way. This is a story for anyone who has ever been told they are not good enough. Gypsy Rose Lee was told that...and look where she ended up!

4-0 out of 5 stars Witty, emotional, & entertaining tale of an ugly duckling!
I could not put this book down! I felt that Gypsy Rose Lee was talking to me directly. It was as if I was her best friend, and she was just telling me her life story. I was captivated from beginning to end always wondering what the next adventure would be. From their childhood, where they toured Vaudeville to Gypsy's rise to stardom in Burlesque, there was never a dull moment.
Along the way you come across an incredible cast of characters. Starting with Rose Louise Havick (Gypsy's birth name), who lived in her younger sister's shadow for years. June (her sister) was supposed to be the star not Louise. Mama Rose, Gypsy and June's mother who wanted nothing more than to have one of her daughters become a star. There are also many famous faces in this book, from Broadway's funny girl, Fanny Brice to gangster, Waxy Gordon. You even meet Gypsy's first love (of course you will have to read the book to find out who that is)!
Gypsy is the ugly duckling who discovered that she was really a beautiful swan. When June ran away to get married at 13, Gypsy's life turned upside down. She went from chorus "boy" to becoming the most well known ...[dancer] this country has ever known. And you can bet her mother was there every step of the way. This is a story for anyone who has ever been told they are not good enough. Gypsy Rose Lee was told just that...and look where she ended up!

5-0 out of 5 stars Gypsy : A memoir by Gypsy Rose Lee
Gypsy is one of the most well written memoirs I have read. It is definitly a must read.
For anyone who wants to get taken back to the "good" old days, of the traveling Vaudeville circuit, and the risky days of burlesque. Gypsy is the book for you. The memoirs of America's most celebrated stripper are a hilarious account of her childhood in vaudeville, and her rise to stardom in burlerque. ... Read more


17. Jose Limon: An Unfinished Memoir (Studies in Dance History (Unnumbered).)
by Jose Limon, Lynn Garafola
list price: $29.95
our price: $22.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0819563749
Catlog: Book (1999-02-01)
Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
Sales Rank: 957076
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Amazon.com

I believe that we are never more truly and profoundly human than when we dance. --José Limón
Though he lived to be 64, it's always seemed that dancer-choreographer José Limón (1908-1972) was snatched from this earth prematurely. For that reason, the appearance of Limón's unfinished biography--which has the same assured, sensitive quality as his dances--is such a treasure.

Limón's writings here tell of his childhood and early adult years. Born in Culiacán, Mexico, the eldest of 12 children, Limón showed great talent as a visual artist from early on. His family moved to the U.S. when he was 7 (first to Arizona, then California), where he attended Catholic school and continued his drawing and painting. It was not until the late '20s, when he moved to New York City to study art, that Limón saw his first dance concert and changed course entirely. "I knew with shocking suddenness that until then I had not been alive or, rather, that I had yet to be born," he writes. With a level of detail that belies his sense of miraculous discovery, he chronicles his work with and appreciation of such 20th-century choreographic masters as Doris Humphrey, Charles Weidman, Martha Graham, and George Balanchine. The memoir ends just as Limón has formed his own company.

You couldn't ask for better stewardship for these papers, which had been viewable until now only at the dance collection of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. The Society of Dance History Scholars, with Lynn Garafola acting as editor, drove this project. Carla Maxwell, the current artistic director of the José Limón Dance Company, wrote the foreword; and Village Voice dance critic Deborah Jowitt penned the introduction. For a short time, at least, Limon lives again. --Jean Lenihan ... Read more


18. Mr. Bojangles: The Biography of Bill Robinson
by Jim Haskins, N. R. Mitgang
list price: $14.00
our price: $14.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1566491134
Catlog: Book (1999-08-15)
Publisher: Welcome Rain Publishers
Sales Rank: 758773
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars A living legend comes to life!
You can't find anything better if you're looking for information on the great Mr. Bojangles.

5-0 out of 5 stars An American Original
"Mr. Bojangles: The Biography of Bill Robinson" not only serves as a crucial historical document, but also as a vivid portrait of a truly special man. An original in every sense of the word, Bill Robinson created a unique style of tap dancing, along with breaking the racist barriers of his time. This book superbly chronicles (with the help of first-hand source materials and interviews with people who knew him) the life of this incredible artist, entertainer, and humanitarian. You will not only learn what the world was like when Mr. Robinson struggled in his craft, but you will discover the values and convictions that drove him forward. You will be moved by the benevolence of this man's spirit--a spirit that could coin a phrase such as "Everything's Copasetic!" This is a touching and informative biography that informs the evolution of tap AND the human experience. ... Read more


19. The Diary of Vaslav Nijinsky : Unexpurgated Edition
by Vaslav Nijinsky
list price: $15.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0374526850
Catlog: Book (2000-05-01)
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Sales Rank: 69526
Average Customer Review: 4.09 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The astonishing, legendary diaries of the great dancer, complete and unexpurgated

In December 1917, Vaslav Nijinsky, the most famous male dancer in the Western world, moved into a Swiss villa with his wife and three-year-old daughter and began to go mad. This diary, which he kept in four notebooks over six weeks, is the only sustained, on-the-spot written account we have by a major artist of the experience of entering psychosis.

Nijinsky's diary was first published in 1936, in a heavily bowdlerized version that omitted almost half of his text. The present edition, translated by Kyril FitzLyon, is the first complete version in English and the first version in any language to include the fourth notebook, which was written at the very edge of madness. It contains Nijinsky's last lucid thoughts--on God, sex, war, and the nature of the universe, as well as on his own broken life. In her Introduction, the noted dance writer Joan Acocella explains the context of the diary and its place in the history of modernism.
... Read more

Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars excellent presentation of difficult material
Nijinsky's unexpurgated diary is an important document both for dance history and for psychiatry. This edition has an excellent, insightful introduction and very thorough translator's notes. I found out fascinating details, such as the fact that Nijinsky began the diary the day he gave a deranged performance at a hotel, and probably meant it as proof that he was not as crazy as he seemed. (Sadly, it proved exactly the opposite.) A beautiful job has been done in presenting and contexting this difficult material. Anyone with an interest in dance and/or mental illness should read it.

5-0 out of 5 stars fasinating dancers life
this book is highly through in it's full translation of Nijinsky's diary, but best part of this book are the inclusion of the never before published "fourth book" which included poems and letters written by Nijinsky as well as an introduction which helps to clarify not only the historical background but also delves into the mental state Nijinsky was in as he wrote his diary.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and Prophetic
1. "God said to me, 'Go home and tell your wife that you are mad'."

Even if we are not ready to accept this assertion as a proof of Nijinsky's genius (i.e. him edging on God-Consciousness on his way to full enlightenment), we should at least be able to recognise that the author obviously did not view himself as insane, but, in his own eyes, consciously pretended to be such as the only means at hand to escape the harsh chilliness and cruelty of an insensitive world, handing over all responsibilities of the non-esoteric sides of life to those who feel they know such things better.

2. Neither the conclusion should be that the great Master of Choreography ended his life in a miserable demise, unworthy of a great genius and a potential role-model for generations to come.

On the last pages, as if to conclude the diary, Nijinsky speaks of a wonderful vision of his three years old daughter as she smiles at him: "I see what she is trying to tell me: it is not all about sadness and miserliness - there's also joy in life". Thus reminding of Tolstoy's famous formula "if you want to be joyful and happy, then just be that!".

The author's life has clearly been that of struggle and constant contemplations over the world's stubbornness in its reiterated refusal to accept the artist's message of love, despite its pure simplicity. And yet now on the verge of the sunset of life it all suddenly seems to have been nothing but a temporary, though little longer than usual, unpleasant dream, the remaining fogs of which are dispersed through a simple rearrangement of attention leading one to a life in a closer company with one's God. A life the fuller utilisation of the pleasures of which are not bound by the limits of life and death.

3. As for Nijinsky's main message, as it is contained in the diary itself, I think it is found in the place where the artist speaks of his discovery of the true nature of the phenomena of art criticism: the self-appointed critics of art are nothing but egotists who have never created anything themselves. They pinpoint and nit-pick on any flaws and draw conclusions where such cannot be drawn, causing the hearts of the sincere artists to bleed.

It implies that it is more than fair to observe that when it comes to art in general no judgements can be made whatsoever. An inspiration behind any artistic expression always comes from beyond oneself, out of a sincere desire to convey something to others. The only thing that is really alright to criticise is if the artist's motive is in question, that is if the original purpose is purely commercial and, thus, a con in its essence. Similarly judging is not the same as describing, just as to describe is not the same as to judge.

Interestingly, few other books and films have received as much subtle thrashing (along with appraisals) as Nijinsky's diary and Paul Cox' recent poetic documentary based on it. The point is that a truly worthless piece of literature, or other, never does. There simply seems to be something very provocative about innocence and tenderness to self-important people. And maybe the book CANNOT be appreciated fully by readers with a "lesser purity of heart" and large egos.

4. Other highlights of the wisdom in Nijinsky's diary (quoting freely from memory) are these: "I told my wife we had married for the wrong reasons and that we should re-marry, but this time in the spirit"; and: "People go to church and then drink wine because they have heard it said that it is the blood of Christ. How to explain to a fool that Christ's blood would make one sober rather than drunk?".

5-0 out of 5 stars icono
Nijinsky, hombre posesionado por el genio, hace algun tiempo visiti en el museo de orsay, en Paris, la exposicion sobre él, de lo mejor al igual que su apasionada vida

1-0 out of 5 stars Someone's mad and I'm sure it's not me.
This is another book from the barrow on 14th Street. I've read all the other reviews and I have to agree with the reader who said what was the publisher thinking of.

Nijinsky was a wonderful dancer by all accounts. [Though, you know, if he came back tonight and danced Spectre de la Rose at Lincoln Centre we'd be rolling on the floor, screaming with laughter, and Isabella Fokine would be there, too, complaining that he hadn't done the right steps - but hey, don't get me started on her.] I digress.

I am not studying schizophrenia/dementia whatever, so it's all a bit lost on me. I love to read about Nijinsky dancing, and his extraordinary creativity both as a dancer and a choreographer, but his ramblings in this diary make me wonder if a mad person's ramblings worth the ink. Is he Nijinsky or a mad person? I'm sure there are people who read these ramblings and see it as a sign of Nijinsky's genius. I read it with increasing frustration. If someone came and sat next to me on the subway and babbled on like this, I'd move away. [And, believe me, I do.]

I am alone, I'm curious about this, in finding Nijinsky offstage just a tiny bit of a prig? I gained this impression, little by little, from reading his wife's [so bad it's a sin] book, Buckle's "Nijinsky" and, oddly enough, from Bronislava Nijinska's early memoirs. ... Read more


20. My Life
by Isadora Duncan
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0871401584
Catlog: Book (1996-02-01)
Publisher: Liveright Publishing Corporation
Sales Rank: 237209
Average Customer Review: 4.14 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Fabulous is the only adjective that comes close to doing justice to Isadora Duncan (1878-1927). Her awesomely self-assured autobiography depicts a woman who while still in her teens tells an eminent theatrical manager (from whom she desperately needs a job), "I have discovered the art that has been lost for two thousand years.... I bring you the dance." In Duncan's rendering of her life, composers fling themselves at the piano and compose new music for her on the spot. Men pine for her love (the book's sexual frankness, while hardly startling today, was considered quite scandalous in 1927). And the poor mortals who can never understand her need to be free can at least applaud wildly at her concerts. Duncan and her siblings sleep in a bare Parisian attic, then dance barefoot through the Luxembourg Gardens. They travel to Greece to worship "in the Sacred Land of Hellas," where they build their very own temple. Duncan is capable of seeing the humor in her rhapsodic immersion in art, but we don't really want her to be realistic and self-deprecating like ordinary mortals. It's her divine passion, her supreme confidence in her own genius that make My Life such fun to read. --Wendy Smith ... Read more

Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars rereading the autobiography of a ghost
I first read this book after seeing Ken Russell's film "The World's Biggest Dancer" in the 1960's The film is, unfortunately, lost. I fell in love with the myth of this fabulous woman and was impressed with Vanessa Redgrave's portrayal of her in Karel Reisz's "Isadora" also hopelessly lost I believe. This is not a great work of art: it has episodes of naively underwritten material tailored into whole paragraphs of wonderful philosophy of a futuristic world when art and beaty supercede greed and material gain. The ghost of Isadora haunts this book; a woman broken by personal tragedy writing these words in the last years of a life that, by any standards, was extraordinary. I keep it on my shelf along with Nijinsky's "Life" both books testimony to the inability of words to express the emotions of genius

5-0 out of 5 stars Isadora's life
Easily one of the best conversations I have had without speaking. Isadora speaks directly to her reader with a passionate and intense language. There were points when I was reading that my inner voice was yelling back in agreement, empathy or appreciation. I found this woman intelligent, hilarious and dramatic. I felt as though I had made a friend. Though she was not a trained writer, she has been able to share herself very openly in the written language. I think this is a must read for any woman (or man).

4-0 out of 5 stars patchy
An autobiography is a way of looking inside a person's mind. We have no real right to expect objectivity or "the long view" on any given subject.

Isadora Duncan's autobiography is a terrific example of the above. She was a hugely talented, flamboyant individual who chose to march to her own drummer from an early age. She is passionate in her descriptions of her inner life, her career and her lovers and changed the whole concept of "The Dance", breaking away from ballet (which she considered ugly and contrived) and inventing what we'd call "modern dance".

She was a fantastic dancer, but as a writer she is far too interested in her own inner world. The people around her float by as a succesion of badly defined cardboard cutouts, and one visited city sounds much like any other. After a while this DOES get rather boring. The lack of dates (such as "that was in 1925" or whatever) or a neatly defined chapter structure means that it's pretty hard to keep track of the passage of time. In the end, reading this book becomes a bit of a struggle: it's like being stuck in a someone's rather boring dreamworld.

Her sollipsism is (at times) a bit of a hoot and her inability to perceive the world for what it is provide the reader with occasional bits of unintentional black comedy.

An example: after deciding that ancient Greece was the mother of all art, Isadora sunk a great deal of her money in trying to rebuild a Greek temple. Her family spoke no Greek but lived for months amid the ruins, performing dances and wearing togas while getting cheated by the local villagers. She also formed a chorus of Greek urchins to perform ancient music and was later disappointed when during a tour, the urchins begin growing up and staying out late and coming home drunk.

A more human writer would have managed a bit of irony, a touch of sympathy for these common, simple people caught up in the mad American artist's vision, but Isadora never quite manages it. Sadly, it is precisely this sort of self-centered and humourless viewpoint that makes this book so stodgy.

On the positive side, however, one DOES get a really good idea of what Isadora Duncan was like and how she saw her art and one can't really ask for more from an autobiography.

3-0 out of 5 stars her life-isadora duncan
As a keen fan of autobiographys this book automatically appealed to me. although I had not heard of Isadora's profound infleunce on the world of art or dance, the reviews on the book sold it for me. I thouroughly enjoyed her abstract and sometimes perplexing stories about her up- bringing. However as her travels with her family increased i found her to be quite selfish and single-minded in regards to her career. This i felt led her story, although a biography, to become quite a monotonous and tedious read. In her favour I would say that the book is written in an honest and frank manner.

3-0 out of 5 stars interesting
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in reading about Isadora's life in her own words. However, I found the story to be a little boring because it focused exclusively on her life with no other background information to read about. But, again there are interesting details included about the author's life. ... Read more


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