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George Balanchine: The Ballet Maker

3.63  ·  Rating Details  ·  75 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
Part of the Eminent Lives Series, this biography, written by the gifted author Robert Gottlieb, will describe the life of the dynamic George Balanchine, the foremost contemporary choreographer in ballet. Timed to coincide with the 2004 centenary of the artist's birth.

The life and achievement of the great choreographer who both summed up everything that proceeded him in bal
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published October 26th 2004 by Eminent Lives
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Mar 14, 2014 Emily rated it really liked it
This is a great place to start if you don't know very much about Balanchine. It's short, readable, and offers a high-level introduction to Balanchine's life and his contributions to ballet. Robert Gottlieb can get a little pretentious at times (as he keeps mentioning how he and other NYCB backers were more visionary than the dance critics writing about Balanchine's shows), but he does a nice job of distilling seventy years into 200 pages.

Balanchine on the Danes: "The people here are shit. Nobody
Apr 08, 2013 Sarah rated it really liked it
Shelves: ballet, bio-memoir
A succinct survey of Balanchine, read just in time for Los Angeles Ballet's Balanchine Festival Gold (Balanchine Red is still running, fyi) which I saw with C and her dad. I can no longer tell what I learned from this book as opposed to the million other ballet memoirs I've read, but it does neatly encapsulate why Balanchine and his dancers have captured my fascination.

Here is Balanchine on his own beginnings as a dancer: "I was, as a matter of fact, a wonderful dancer."

Balanchine's philosophy
Jan 17, 2016 Christina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. This is a great, short introduction to the genius of George Balanchine, his life story and all his contributions to American ballet.
I came in with basic knowledge of ballet, famous ballerinas and Balanchine, having seen a few of his ballets and being passionate about the art and the NYCB for a while now, so I was eager to learn more about him. This did the job, and I found myself actually smiling a lot, sometimes laughing outloud, as I was reading the many anecdotes,
Dec 09, 2011 Cherylann rated it it was ok
George Balanchine actually has a pretty fascinating life story, (Don’t worry Lucius, I’m not praising him as a choreographer) but this book was nearly impossible to get through because of the dull voice the author employed. Yes, this is a biography, thus non-fiction, but that does not automatically toss a book in the boring category. Certainly, a biographer’s job is different than that of a fiction writer. A biographer must stick to the solid facts, while a fiction writer is free to do whatever ...more
Oct 22, 2009 Bill rated it it was amazing
fabulous, from gottlieb who was there. nice to mention in passing that you edited Catch-22; was editor in chief at the New Yorker; and worked to run the NYCB with Balanchine and Kirstein. Favorite anecdote: there's a techie smoking on the stage as he cleans up, Balanchine loses his temper for the only time in his life and screams at the man: "You don't smoke here! This is a stage! People DANCE here.
Dec 23, 2008 Heather rated it liked it
This wasn't anything spectacular, but was a good no-frills summary of George Balanchine's life. It's only a couple hundred pages and though you could read something more lyrical and, let's face it, more juicy, this is a good way to get a quick snapshot in a short amount of time.
Aug 06, 2008 Frank rated it liked it
Recommends it for: dance fans
A very good short bio of the best ballet choreographer of the 20th century.
Mar 16, 2011 Angela rated it really liked it
Short and sweet.
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Balanchine: Russian or American? 1 2 Aug 04, 2011 08:38AM  
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Robert Gottlieb has been the editor in chief of Alfred A. Knopf and The New Yorker. He is the author of Sarah: The Life of Sarah Bernhard, George Balanchine: The Ballet Maker, Lives and Letters (FSG, 2011), and Great Expectations and is the dance critic for The New York Observer.
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