Dancing on Water: A Life in Ballet, from the Kirov to the ABT

Dancing on Water: A Life in Ballet, from the Kirov to the ABT

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Dancing on Water is both a personal coming-of-age story and a sweeping look at ballet life in Russia and the United States during the golden age of dance. Elena Tchernichova takes us from her childhood during the siege of Leningrad to her mother’s alcoholism and suicide, and from her adoption by Kirov ballerina Tatiana Vecheslova, who entered her into the state ballet school, to her career in the American Ballet Theatre.As a student and young dancer with the Kirov, she witnessed the company’s achievements as a citadel of classic ballet, home to legendary names—Shelest, Nureyev, Dudinskaya, Baryshnikov—but also a hotbed of intrigue and ambition run amok. As ballet mistress of American Ballet Theatre from 1978 to 1990, Elena was called “the most important behind-the-scenes force for change in ballet today,” by Vogue magazine. She coached stars and corps de ballet alike, and helped mold the careers of some of the great dancers of the age, including Gelsey Kirkland, Cynthia Gregory, Natalia Makarova, and Alexander Godunov. Dancing on Water is a tour de force, exploring the highest levels of the world of dance.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781555538248
Publisher: Northeastern University Press
Publication date: 05/14/2013
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 328
Sales rank: 952,094
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

ELENA TCHERNICHOVA has spent her life in dance in Russia, the United States, and Europe. She lives in St. Petersburg. JOEL LOBENTHAL is associate editor of the quarterly Ballet Review, and author of Tallulah! The Life and Times of a Leading Lady. JOSEPH BRODSKY was a Russian-American poet and essayist, former US Poet Laureate, and recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature. He died in 1996.

Table of Contents

Preface Joel Lobenthal xi

Acknowledgments xv

Part 1 A World Now Lost

1 Leningrad 3

2 Make-Believe 16

3 Facts of Life 30

4 Disillusionment 40

5 Rebels 51

6 Nureyev Arrives 64

7 I Start to Teach 72

8 Newlywed 84

9 My Son 90

10 Cultural Exchange 95

11 A Masterpiece 110

12 Seeing the World 115

13 Igor's Choreography 125

14 To the Black Sea 134

15 Restless 139

16 Émigré 144

Part 2 The New

17 Holding Pattern 153

18 New York 159

19 Kirkland and Baryshnikov 169

20 ABT'S Stars 176

21 Émigrés and Defectors 184

22 Makarova's Bayadère 191

23 Baryshnikov Takes Over 198

24 Russian Men 204

25 Kirkland Cataclysms 211

26 ABT'S Problems 214

27 Ferri and Others 223

28 How to Dance 228

29 Harsh Beauty 233

30 Glasnost 248

31 Peak 254

32 Baryshnikov's Swan Song 260

33 End of an Era 267

34 Directing Vienna 273

35 Epilogue 281

Afterword 297

Index 301

What People are Saying About This

Laura Jacobs

“The Russian classical dance tradition and its postwar relationship with ballet in the West is a story that’s usually told on the fly by defecting stars. In the memoir Dancing on Water: A Life in Ballet, from the Kirov to the ABT, the renowned teacher and director Elena Tchernichova, a classmate and colleague of Nureyev, Baryshnikov, and Makarova, offers an intimate view of the aesthetic ideals and political compromises that defined both the company that was her crucible, the legendary Kirov, and the company she helped elevate to a new artistic standard in the 1980s, American Ballet Theatre. Authoritative, articulate, revealing, inspiring, Dancing on Water is a page-turning journey into the inner sanctums of ballet—and a work of quiet bravura!”

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