The Making of Markova: Diaghilev’s Baby Ballerina to Groundbreaking Icon

Tina Sutton. Pegasus, $35 (688p) ISBN 978-1-60598-456-8
This admiring biography of Lilian Alicia Marks, known professionally as Alicia Markova, is just as hardworking as its namesake—but not nearly as elegant. Journalist Sutton lumbers through the story of Markova’s stunning dancing career, beginning with Markova in utero, her mother attending Anna Pavlova’s 1910 debut performance in London. As a girl in England, the flat-footed, knock-kneed, and weak-legged Markova enrolled in ballet lessons and surprised everyone with her astonishing talent and ability to overcome physical shortcomings. So impressive was the young dancer that Sergei Diaghilev hired her for his Ballets Russe just after she turned 14. When Diaghilev died, Markova returned to London and helped transform England into an important ballet destination. She performed the lead in Giselle (often touted as the most demanding role in ballet), became one of only 11 dancers to be recognized as a prima ballerina assoluta, and went on to start her own dance company with Anton Dolin. Markova’s popularity continued unabated until she retired from dancing in 1963. It was a stellar career, but under Sutton’s direction, it falls flat. The author fails to distinguish between the interesting and the trivial, and she grossly overuses block quotations from many sources, nearly eclipsing the star of the show. 32 pages of b&w photos. Agent: Laura Gross, Laura Gross Literary Agency. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 05/20/2013
Release date: 08/01/2013
Paperback - 670 pages - 978-1-60598-578-7
Portable Document Format (PDF) - 400 pages - 978-1-4804-1955-1
Ebook - 400 pages - 978-1-4532-9917-3
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