cover image The Shape of Love

The Shape of Love

Gelsey Kirkland. Doubleday Books, $18.95 (237pp) ISBN 978-0-385-24918-8

In their second book, ballerina Kirkland ( Dancing on My Grave ) and her husband will surprise their followers. Though in the earlier work she was a vocal rebel from the strictures of classical dance--Kirkland argued, often with eloquent ferocity, that ballet in America is a hopelessly skewed and exploitative calling--here she seems to make a dogged peace with herself and her peers. Set in London of 1986, where she was rehearsing her acclaimed comeback in Romeo and Juliet with the Royal Ballet, the sequel allows the authors to expound at length on Kirkland's evolving ideas on how to think about dance, as well as how to dance. We are privy to studio sweat and the banter of a happy marriage, the play of backstage personalities and the inevitable intensity that accompanies creation. The power of Kirkland's obsession is difficult to resist, though its purview is intentionally selective--hardly a hint of gossip or scandal attends this chronicle, unlike its angry predecessor. A spellbound maverick, Kirkland still has plenty to say--and says it memorably. (Sept.)