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url 2016-12-15 12:16
BookRiot: Happy 200th Birthday, The Nutcracker!
The Nutcracker - E.T.A. Hoffmann,Maurice Sendak,Ralph Manheim

At this time each year, thousands of little Claras across the world pull their Victorian nightgowns over their heads, lace up their toe shoes, and prepare to take their place on stage in one of the most coveted roles for an aspiring ballet dancer. But the history of Tchaikovsky’s beloved ballet goes beyond twirling Sugar Plum Fairies and pirouetting Rat Kings.

The character we’ve come to know as Clara originally appeared in a story written by E.T.A. Hoffman in 1816, by the name Marie Stahlbaum. At a holiday party thirty-odd years later, the legendary Alexandre Dumas told his own version of Marie’s surreal fever dream at a party after being tied to a chair by some of his daughter’s friends who demanded they be told a story. The resulting version of Hoffman’s fairy tale was less dark and more suited to a young audience. That was the version that Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky adapted nearly 50 years later for a performance at the Russian Imperial Theatre.

The original performance sold out on opening night (December 18, 1892) and a holiday season has not since passed without a curtain rising on a gorgeous Christmas tree, in the midst of being decorated by the Stahlbaum family and their friends.

 

Happy 200th Birthday, The Nutcracker!:

Merken

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review 2016-10-30 05:31
Book Review: Behind the Scenes at Boston Ballet
Behind the Scenes at Boston Ballet - Christine Temin,Wally Gilbert

Book: Behind the Scenes at Boston Ballet

 

Author: Christine Temin

 

Genre: Non-Fiction/Dance/Ballet

 

Summary: In 1958, a determined suburban dance teacher founded the New England Civic Ballet. Today, that company is known as Boston Ballet - a company that has faced head-on challenges of remaining true to its mission while attracting the audiences and financial support necessary to maintain live performances by these dedicated artists. For centuries, ballet companies have transported audiences beyond the workaday world, one performance at a time. Someone who sees a ballerina perform beautifully in Swan Lake may be impressed, but many who appreciate ballet remain unacquainted with all the logistics of sets, people, and money that must come together for a world-class company to complete a season of performances. Beyond the glare of lights onstage lives a world of physical trainers and fund-raisers, artistic directors and executive boards, and endlessly rehearsing dancers and musicians, all laboring to create memorable performances that inspire, thrill, and entertain. In its relatively short history, Boston Ballet has faced charges of racism; cases of dancer anorexia; a young dancer’s death; and the precipitous, publicly embarrassing departures of one director and one director-elect. The real story, though, lies not in these occasional public incidents but in the daily challenges of preparing and performing a repertory that spans almost two centuries, from La Sylphide (1836) to world premieres created specifically for the company. Boston Ballet’s story highlights the tremendous amount of work and energy applied to each show before the curtain can be raised. In this unprecedented behind-the-scenes look at the life of a company, former Boston Globe dance critic Christine Temin and photographer Wally Gilbert present a compelling portrait of Boston Ballet. Their evocative prose and penetrating photography turn the spotlight on all the elements - from toe shoes and costumes to rehearsals and revenue - that come together (or fall apart) in a season. - University Press of Florida, 2009.

 

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review 2016-10-01 04:37
Pointe and Shoot - Alison Stone

I am not usually a cozy reader but the pointe shoes drew me in. Being a former ballet dancer I had to read it. It’s a nice, simple, cozy mystery that takes place in a quiet little town of Tranquility, New York. There is a murder, dance teachers, students and a studio but there is not a whole lot about ballet itself.

 

The book has likable characters, there moments of suspense and humor. I enjoyed peeking into the window of a family dealing with their mother’s diagnosis of Alzheimer disease. The author handled this subject in an wonderful way.

It’s not the best but not the worst either. I will admit that I would not have read it if it was not for the cover. I do recommend it to cozy readers who just want a simple, easy weekend read.

 

I was provided this book by Netgalley free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

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text 2016-04-27 03:10
Good News Edition
Apollo's Angels: A History of Ballet - Jennifer Homans
Valentines - Ted Kooser

Exciting news! Powells recently had a sale, and I bought a book for my "keeper" library: A hardcover, dust-jacketed copy of "Apollo's Angels," Jennifer Homans' much-lauded history of ballet published a few years ago. I've been wanting it since publication, and now I have a beautiful copy, sold at remaindered price. 

 

And, as a special bonus, I was going through some old junk and happened upon my long-lost copy of Ted Kooser's "Valentines," also hardcover with dust jacket. So happy to see you again, old friend. Sorry my cluttered ways hid you for so long.

 

We don't buy many books in Carissa Land these days. There isn't much space left here to store them. So, it's down to just those titles I'm reasonably certain I want to keep in my personal collection for a long, long time, books for classes I'm taking, and, of course, poetry. These two certainly made the cut. 

 

-cg

 

 

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review 2015-09-15 03:22
Book 77/100: Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead
Astonish Me - Maggie Shipstead

I mainly read this book because, for some reason, I am drawn to stories about ballet dancers. There are lots of ballet details in the book to satisfy that curiosity of mine, and I really liked that it focused on a member of the "corps" rather than a star performer. Still, I wish the book would have focused MORE on its so-called central character; while she was the thread that held it all together, the book was mainly a jumble of scenes and vignettes from various points-of-view, some which only lasted for one chapter or less, and many of dubious importance to the overall plot. While I don't need a story to be told in a linear fashion, the way this one jumped around frustrated me, often truncating certain story threads right when they were beginning to hold my interest.

Also, I just couldn't get behind the central "love story" in this novel, as the man the book (and Joan's life) seems to revolve around is a total prick. The man she marries is a much, much better catch, but he is unfortunately relegated to the background of her life and the book.

There were moments when this book was really, really good. It's well written with well-defined characters, even if a lot of them are pretty unlikeable. But I just didn't feel the "epicness" of this life story the way I was clearly supposed to, and the "reveal" at the end is obvious in the first chapter. If you don't have an inexplicable ballet fetish like I do, there probably won't be much worthwhile in this book for you.

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