Prodigal Son: Dancing for Balanchine in a World of Pain and Magic

Edward Villella, Author, Larry Kaplan, With Simon & Schuster $23 (320p) ISBN 978-0-671-72370-5
An acclaimed New York City Ballet dancer of the 1960s and '70s, Miami City Ballet founding artistic director Villella has always labored in the shadow of two stern fathers--his own and choreographer George Balanchine. His autobiography, coauthored with Kaplan (collaborator with Merrill Ashley on Dancing For Balanchine ), offers a welcome addition to Balanchine chronicles; it could also be considered a dual biography of the dancer and his difficult mentor. Growing up in working-class Queens, New York, the young Villella played sandlot baseball, brawled and boxed, finding his vocation in dance only by chance. He trained at the School of American Ballet, then spent most of his NYCB career ``on the outs with Mr. B.''306 Yet their perennial conflicts somehow won Villella's enduring loyalty to the choreographer. And although the narrative is frank, fair, earthy, direct, its peculiar perspective of the dancer as a forgiving underdog superstar gives the story needed bite. Most valuable are Villella's reflections on the ballets Balanchine created on him.stet/MM A true prodigal, Villella emerges triumphant from Balanchine's unique academy of hard knocks. Photos not seen by PW. Author tour. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 02/03/1992
Release date: 02/01/1992
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 30 pages - 978-0-671-79717-1
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-8229-5666-2
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