Private View: Inside Baryshnikov's American Ballet Theatre

John Fraser, Author, Eve Arnold, Illustrator, Eve Arnold, Photographer Bantam Books $30 (0p) ISBN 978-0-553-05321-0
Fraser, a Canadian journalist who was the first to interview Baryshnikov after his 1974 defection, walks an uncertain line between flattery and scrutiny in this account of a year in the life of ABT. His verbal portraits of the artists are frequently refreshing and always genial. But the author too often yields to the blandishments of hyperbole: Baryshnikov's ``whole being is a mass of contradictions. An undeniable and healthy-sized ego is constantly undermined by his capacity for self-mockery and astonishing humility. A definitive and occasionally ostentatious affection for expensive things and for very rich people regularly jars with a relentless search for solitude and simplicity.'' Guiding readers through rehearsals, new productions and a national tour, Fraser offers a tantalizing glimpse of the difficulties of a dancer's day, and astutely assesses the politics of artistic decision-makingthough he grinds his axe too vigorously. More than 100 photographs by longtime Life photographer Arnold show us dancers as people, not merely moving bodies. BOMC alternate. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 11/03/1988
Release date: 11/01/1988
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 978-0-553-35451-5
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