Wednesday, February 25, 2009


I ordered this book for the library last year from Sylph Editions in England. Editor Anne Hogan interviewed former Balanchine dancers, including Violette Verdy – who is eloquent about Balanchine's place in a dance lineage reaching back to the Renaissance. Verdy's explanation of artistic "succession" is both concrete and subtle.

I ordered this book for the library last year, yes. But only have the chance to enjoy it now, because it had to be sent off to the bindery (where the turnaround time is several months) as soon as it arrived. Though beautifully designed and printed, it is only available as a large-format paperback and ordinary library use would have wrecked it – without a protective hard binding.

Photo above is the book's frontispiece: Balanchine sitting at the piano unselfconsciously transforming his bandaged fingers into an imaginary dancer.

Above, a famous rest break (reproduced thousands of times) at the School of American Ballet during the earliest Balanchine years.