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Tributes: Celebrating Fifty Years Of New…

Tributes: Celebrating Fifty Years Of New York City Ballet

by Peter Martins

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0688157513, Hardcover)

The experience of dance is ephemeral. A lilting arabesque, an ascendant grand jeté, a precise pirouette--such movements exist for just a single moment. But the sensations they communicate to an audience member can be lasting. New York City Ballet has been one of America's preeminent companies since 1948. In Tributes, dancers, writers, and artists express their feelings for the company and its members to form an impressionistic view that captures the illusory essence of the ballet experience. Peter Martins, who inherited the role of artistic director upon the death of George Balanchine, opens the book by remembering how he only realized what ballet truly was the first time he danced with the company. City Ballet's creative triumvirate--Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, and Lincoln Kirstein--are recalled in an evocative set of essays. And from there, each page contains a gem that will take readers back to the first time they saw Suzanne Farrell and Peter Martins perform the "Diamonds" pas de deux in Jewels, or watched Edward Villela in Watermill.

The thrill of observing these unearthly creatures practice their art--defying the laws of physics and the constraints of mere mortals--is palpable on every page. Henri Cartier-Bresson captures George Balanchine rehearsing his company. Agnes De Mille describes Jerome Robbins's "elements of style." The backdrops Marc Chagall, Salvador Dali, Robert Rauschenberg, and Erte designed for the company are here, along with the posters Roy Lichtenstein and Keith Haring created to advertise the company's presence at the 1988 American Music Festival. Poet James Merrill, illustrator Al Hirschfeld, artist Joseph Cornell, architect Phillip Johnson, and historian Robert Caro all pay homage to their favorite dancers. The list of luminaries who contributed to the book is too long to detail here, but each of their perspectives is unexpected and exciting. Playwright Wendy Wasserstein writes: "Nothing makes more sense to me than a night at the ballet.... Some girls want to have breakfast at Tiffany's, I just want a glass of champagne during the interval between Glass Pieces and Scotch Symphony on the State Theater Promenade." Ms. Wasserstein, an evening spent perusing this book is the next best thing. --Jordana Moskowitz

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:15 -0400)

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