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Dancing on My Grave

by Gelsey Kirkland

Other authors: Greg Lawrence

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365251,288 (3.46)6
A biography of the American ballerina describing the high-pressure world of dance, her love affairs, clashes with teachers, descent into cocaine addiction, anorexia, and confinement in a mental institution before fighting her way back to a triumphant return.
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I actually remember reading about the controversy of Dancing on My Grave when it came out back in 1986 (although I could not recall the specific year until we acquired this used copy via amazon) -- the author, Gelsey Kirkland, was quite a famous ballerina. In this memoir, she covers her eating disorders, her insecurities in in spite of being successful, her love/hate relationships with her mentor Balanchine and her dance partner and sometimes lover Mikhail Barynishkov, her descent in cocaine addiction (and she specifically names who helped drag her down that path -- another dancer, Patrick Bissell, who eventually died from a drug overdose not long after publication).

Why did I read this now? My daughter is a ballet dancer, and hoping to become a professional eventually. Our family were discussing Gelsey Kirkland's career and what she is doing now (she has established a dance school in NYC, Gelsey Kirkland Academy) and we thought both this book and her next book would be worth reading. I wanted to preview and decided both are appropriate for my daughter and her age -- she is 16. As for myself, I found this a compelling read, although sad, that Kirkland had to go through hell during part of her dance career. ( )
  ValerieAndBooks | Feb 6, 2015 |
It wilts after Baryshnikov leaves the pictures, and she (or her writing partner husband) gets awfully precious. But it made me alternately want to do a barre and put on some sensible shoes. ( )
  picardyrose | Feb 20, 2008 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gelsey Kirklandprimary authorall editionscalculated
Lawrence, Gregsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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A biography of the American ballerina describing the high-pressure world of dance, her love affairs, clashes with teachers, descent into cocaine addiction, anorexia, and confinement in a mental institution before fighting her way back to a triumphant return.

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