Book picks similar to
Days with Ulanova by Albert E. Kahn


Fanny Brice: The Original Funny Girl

Herbert G. Goldman - 1992
    I've acted for Belasco and I've laid 'em out in the rows at the Palace. I've doubled as an alligator; I've worked for the Shuberts; and I've been joined to Billy Rose in the holy bonds. I've painted the house boards and I've sold tickets and I've been fired by George M. Cohan. I've played in London before the king and in Oil City before miners with lanterns in their caps. Fanny Brice was indeed show business personified, and in this luminous volume, Herbert G. Goldman, acclaimed biographer of Al Jolson, illuminates the life of the woman who inspired the spectacularly successful Broadway show and movie Funny Girl, the vehicle that catapulted Barbra Streisand to super stardom. In a work that is both glorious biography and captivating theatre history, Goldman illuminates both Fanny's remarkable career on stage and radio--ranging from her first triumph as Sadie Salome to her long run as radio's Baby Snooks--and her less-than-triumphant personal life. He reveals a woman who was a curious mix of elegance and earthiness, of high and low class, a lady who lived like a duchess but cursed like a sailor. She was probably the greatest comedienne the American stage has ever known as well as our first truly great torch singer, the star of some of the most memorable Ziegfeld Follies in the 1910s and 1920s, and Goldman covers her theatrical career and theatre world in vivid detail. But her personal life, as Goldman shows, was less successful. The great love of her life, the gangster Nick Arnstein, was dashing, handsome, sophisticated, but at bottom, a loser who failed at everything from running a shirt hospital to manufacturing fire extinguishers, and who spent a good part of their marriage either hiding out, awaiting trial, or in prison. Her first marriage was over almost as soon as it was consummated, and her third and last marriage, to Billy Rose, the Bantam Barnum, ended acrimoniously when Rose left her for swimmer Eleanor Holm. As she herself remarked, I never liked the men I loved, and I never loved the men I liked. Through it all, she remained unaffected, intelligent, independent, and, above all, honest. Goldman's biography of Al Jolson has been hailed by critics, fellow biographers, and entertainers alike. Steve Allen called it an amazing job of research and added Goldman's book brings Jolson back to life indeed. The Philadelphia Inquirer said it was the most comprehensive biography to date, and Ronald J. Fields wrote that Goldman has captured not only the wonderful feel of Al Jolson but the heartbeat of his time. Now, with Fanny Brice, Goldman provides an equally accomplished portrait of the greatest woman entertainer of that illustrious era, a volume that will delight every lover of the stage.

Margot Fonteyn: Autobiography

Margot Fonteyn - 1976
    It is, of course, about dancing. About loving to dance as a small child in Shanghai. About ballet classes and ballet teachers, about practice and rehearsal. About making her debut--as a Snowflake, at fifteen--with the emerging Sadler's Wells Company, under the demanding rule of the brilliant and volatile Ninette de Valois. About her almost magical early success (at seventeen dancing Giselle; at eighteen, Swan Lake; at nineteen, Sleeping Beauty) and the effects on a young girl of sudden stardom. About the hard work of overcoming her limitations ("a face like a pudding," she says) and her weaknesses....And it is about the great triumphs in London, New York, Paris. About the great choreographers and dancers who worked with her and helped her: Frederick Ashton (he choreographed by flinging himself into swoops and twists that seemed to flow spontaneously from the music, suddenly saying, "What did I do? Now you do it"); the magnetic and sophisticated Robert Helpmann, of whom she was more than a little frightened "until the harmony of dancing with him began taking hold"; the handsome Michael Somes ("platoons of corps de ballet girls lost their hearts to him"). About Nureyev, who, when Fonteyn was already in her forties, galvanized her energies and talents and swept her into a new career. About her feeling for her great Russian counterpart, Ulanova. About getting older and never ceasing to dance; now, at fifty-seven, still dancing around the world.But even more, this is a book about the woman herself, who sees dancing as only a part of her life and perhaps not the most vital part--the Fonteyn who could not find love until in her thirties she suddenly met again (a visiting card brought to her dressing room; one hundred red roses) the man she had been in love with in her teens, the Panamanian diplomat Roberto Arias. And here is the infinitely moving story of their marriage, her shy assumption of her new role as ambassadress at the Court of St. James--and then, the near-fatal shooting in Panama that crippled her husband, and the drama and heroism of their life together since then.Throughout, with the freshest imaginable gift for anecdote, Margot Fonteyn takes us into her many worlds--the vicissitudes of backstage life on six continents, the tumult of Panamanian politics and revolution, the social pleasures (and embarrassments) of international fame.Above all, her autobiography is a revelation of a direct, warm-hearted person who believes that artists must take their art altogether seriously--and themselves not seriously at all; who finds her own fame difficult to grasp; who is worthy of what her audiences feel for her. Fonteyn is not only admired but loved. Her book--in its decency, its generosity, its sense of fun--makes clear why.

The Master's Muse

Varley O'Connor - 2012
    She is married to the love of her life, George Balanchine—the famous mercurial director of New York City Ballet—and she has become a star around the world. But one fateful evening, only hours after performing, Tanny falls suddenly and gravely ill; she awakens from a feverous sleep to find that she can no longer move her legs. Tanny is diagnosed with polio and Balanchine devotes himself to caring for his wife. But after Tanny discovers she will never walk again, their relationship is challenged as Balanchine returns to the company, choreographing ballets inspired by the ever-younger, more beautiful and talented dancers. Their marriage is put to the ultimate test as Tanny battles to redefine her dreams.

Art's Cello (Kindle Single)

James N. McKean - 2014
    Told in eloquent, honest prose, Art’s Cello is a story about coming to terms with the past and letting go of the failures we allow to define us — and, in the process, honoring the lives of those we’ve lost. Jim McKean is an international award-winning violinmaker, author, and corresponding editor of Strings Magazine. He is a graduate of the first violinmaking school in America and the former president of the American Federation of Violin and Bow Makers. His novel, Quattrocento, was published in 2002. Cover design by Evan Twohy.

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis: A Life Beyond Her Wildest Dreams

Darwin Porter - 2014
    So does Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, who lives again in this "warts-and-all" portrait. It's being released on the 20th anniversary of the tragic death, in 1994, of the icon who changed America's beliefs about what a woman of style, power, and influence could accomplish "behind the throne" of men whose careers changed the course of history. During her tumultuous life, she zealously guarded her privacy and her secrets, but in the wake of her death, more and more revelations have emerged about her frustrations, her rage, her passions, her towering strengths, and her delicate fragility, which she hid from the glare of the world behind oversized sunglasses. Within this posthumous biography, a three-dimensional woman emerges through the compilation of some 1,000 eyewitness testimonials from men and women who knew her over a period of decades. The public epitome of charm, grace, and elegance, the private, chain-smoking Jackie was known for her sharp wit and her acid tongue, dissing some of the great men and women she encountered. Examples include such figures as Nancy Reagan ("I heard she used to give the best head in Hollywood when she was a starlet at MGM"); Queen Elizabeth II ("pompous, stuffy, a heavy trip, and seriously pissed off at me for turning on Philip"); or Martin Luther King, Jr. ("a terrible man and a tricky, phony, skirt-chaser and race baiter"). This outspoken testimonial to the flimsier side of Camelot contains a cornucopia of gossip and intrigue, including details about Jackie's scandalous love affairs with her two brothers-in-law (Bobby and Teddy), and her penchant for movie star seductions (Warren Beatty, Paul Newman, William Holden). Also detailed are her famous feuds with Grace Kelly, Marilyn Monroe, and Maria Callas; her almost unknown love affairs with Spain's greatest matador and with Peter Lawford; her night in Georgetown coping with LBJ's aborted seduction; her friend Rudolf Nureyev's pursuit of both her and Bobby; her interchanges with Lem Billings, JFK's homosexual "First Friend" whom Bobby defined as "Jack's other wife"); her blood feud with Christina Onassis; her sibling rivalry with Lee Radziwill; her illicit affair with a senator nicknamed "Gorgeous George; her love-hate relationship with Frank Sinatra; and her Italian fling with Fiat's kingpin, Gianni Agnelli, who taught her all about La Dolce Vita during the summer of 1962. Conceived in direct and sometimes defiant contrast to the avalanche of more breathlessly respectful testimonials to the life and legacy of "America's Queen," this book is the latest installment in Blood Moon's endlessly irreverent BABYLON series.

To Be a Lady: Story of Catherine Cookson

Cliff Goodwin - 1994
    It is a fascinating study of determination and courage, pain and triumph over tragedy. From the beginning of her life in a crowded terrace in Tyneside to her days as a best-selling writer able to offer thousands to charity as a Dame of the British Empire, Catherine Cookson’s own story is as extraordinary as any of her novels. It is hard to think of any writer, living or dead, who has produced — and continued to produce — such overwhelmingly popular fiction as Catherine Cookson. Between June, 1950, and the end of 1993, ninety million copies of her novels, children’s books and personal recollections had been sold worldwide. An average of 5,800 every day — 241 books every single hour. Cookson novels have been adapted into award winning television films. Musicals and plays based on her books have sold out within days and ran for weeks. Goodwin explores the intriguing, and at times distressing, life of the celebrated writer, Catherine Cookson and the novels that were inspired by her early experiences in Tyneside. Praise for the author: ‘Even Catherine Cookson couldn't have written a novel with as much drama as her own life story ... the full saga has not been told until now.’ - TODAY ‘As riveting as any of her famous novels.’ - SUNDAY EXPRESS ‘Cliff Goodwin has written a book which is hard to put down and which leaves you in greater admiration of its intriguing and enigmatic subject ... amazing and compulsive as any of her bestsellers.’ - NEWCASTLE JOURNAL ‘A cracking story ... essential for her fans, and a good read for everyone.’ - MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS Cliff Goodwin was born in London in 1950. He was educated in Slough, Berkshire, and joined the town's weekly newspaper as a trainee journalist in 1968. Since then he has worked as a reporter, feature writer and sub-editor for various newspapers and magazines. His coverage of the 1988 Lockerbie air crash earned him a regional press award. A regular freelance writer — he has published features in more than 200 newspapers and magazines worldwide — Cliff Goodwin has also worked as a radio producer and in public relations. In 1993, after 25 years in journalism, he decided it was time to concentrate on full-time writing. Endeavour Press is the UK’s leading independent publisher of digital books.

Classical Ballet Technique

Gretchen Ward Warren - 1989
    It not only covers the broad spectrum of ballet vocabulary but also gives sound, practical advice to aspiring dancers. The clarity of the writing, in a field notorious for its opaqueness, is in itself a major achievement."--Merrill Ashley, Principal Dancer, New York City Ballet"An excellent, comprehensive guide to ballet pedagogy valuable to teachers and students alike. For many years Gretchen's has been a major voice in the dance community, and this extensive work details the study of classical ballet from her unique and expert point of view. I applaud her, and I heartily recommend Classical Ballet Technique."--David Howard, International Ballet Master and Master Teacher"Gretchen Warren has undertaken a monumental task and has completed it with distinction. Obviously a labor of love, this book's attention to detail and the clarity of its text and photos make it a valuable contribution to the lexicon of ballet. I recommend it to every serious student and teacher."--Thalia Mara, Founding Director, Ballet Repertory Company and National Academy of Ballet; Artistic Director, U.S.A. International Ballet Competition"Congratulations to Ms. Warren for her authoritative book on classical ballet. Thanks are in order too from the many professional teachers, dancers, and students of the art form who will benefit from this book-an essential addition to any dance lover's library."--Lawrence Rhodes, Artistic Director, Les Grands Ballets CanadiensGretchen Ward Warren studied at London's Royal Ballet and the National Ballet School of Washington, D.C. She was soloist with the Pennsylvania Ballet for eleven years and ballet mistress of American Ballet Theatre II from 1978 to 1983. She is professor of dance at the University of South Florida and frequently appears as a master teacher on the national and international circuits.Susan Cook has photographed the performing arts for the past fifteen years. Her work has appeared in Time, Newsweek, the New York Times, and many dance books. Her own books of photographs include In a Rehearsal Room and The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

Where Snowflakes Dance and Swear: Inside the Land of Ballet

Stephen Manes - 2011
    In a converted barn, an indomitable teacher creates ballerinas as she has for more than half a century. In a monastic mirrored room, dancers from as near as New Jersey and as far as Mongolia learn works as old as the nineteenth century and as new as this morning. “Where Snowflakes Dance and Swear” zooms in on an intimate view of one full season in the life of one of America’s top ballet companies and schools: Seattle’s Pacific Northwest Ballet. But it also tracks the Land of Ballet to venues as celebrated as New York and Monte Carlo and as seemingly ordinary as Bellingham, Washington and small-town Pennsylvania. Never before has a book taken readers backstage for such a wide-ranging view of the ballet world from the wildly diverse perspectives of dancers, choreographers, stagers, teachers, conductors, musicians, rehearsal pianists, lighting directors, costumers, stage managers, scenic artists, marketers, fundraisers, students, and even pointe shoe fitters—often in their own remarkably candid words. The book follows characters as colorful as they are talented. Versatile dancers from around the globe team up with novice choreographers and those as renowned as Susan Stroman, Christopher Wheeldon, and Twyla Tharp to create art on deadline. At the book’s center is Peter Boal, a former New York City Ballet star in his third year as PNB’s artistic director, as he manages conflicting constituencies with charm, tact, rationality and diplomacy. Readers look over Boal’s shoulder as he makes tough decisions about programming, casting, scheduling and budgeting that eventually lead the calm, low-key leader to declare that in his job, “You have to be willing to be hated.” “Where Snowflakes Dance and Swear” shows how ballet is made, funded, and sold. It escorts you front and center to the kick zone of studio rehearsals. It takes you to the costume shop where elegant tutus and gowns are created from scratch. It brings you backstage to see sets and lighting come alive while stagehands get lovingly snarky and obscene on their headsets. It sits you down in meetings where budgets get slashed and dreams get funded—and axed. It shows you the inner workings of Nutcracker, from kids’ charming auditions to no-nonsense marketing meetings, from snow bags in the flies to dancing snowflakes who curse salty flurries that land on their tongues. It follows the tempestuous assembly of a version of Romeo and Juliet that runs afoul of so much pressure, disease, injury, and blood that the dancers begin to call it cursed. “Where Snowflakes Dance and Swear” uncovers the astounding way ballets, with no common form of written preservation, are handed down from generation to generation through the prodigious memories of brilliant athletes who also happen to be artists. It goes on tour with the company to Vail, Colorado, where dancers contend with altitude that makes their muscles cramp and their lungs ache. It visits cattle-call auditions and rigorous classes, tells the stories of dancers whose parents sacrificed for them and dancers whose parents refused to. It meets the resolute woman who created a dance school more than fifty years ago in a Carlisle, Pennsylvania barn and grew it into one of America’s most reliable ballerina factories. It shows ballet’s appeal to kids from low-income neighborhoods and board members who live in mansions. Shattering longstanding die-for-your-art clichés, this book uncovers the real drama in the daily lives of fiercely dedicated union members in slippers and pointe shoes—and the musicians, stagehands, costumers, donors and administrators who support them. “Where Snowflakes Dance and Swear: Inside the Land of Ballet” brings readers the exciting truth of how ballet actually happens.

Elizabeth II: Behind Palace Doors

Nicholas Davies - 2000
    The lives of the Queen, Prince Philip and their children are examined and exposed in detail to reveal the Windsor family's disturbing history of adultery, jealousy and mental cruelty.Award-winning journalist Nicholas Davies examines the mood, the ambitions and the forebodings of the Queen at the start of the new millennium. He gives us, too, an insight into the harsh reality of the relationship between the Queen and her husband.Elizabeth: Behind Closed Doors also investigates the early years of Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward, covering their relationships with their parents and their own various love affairs, marriages, separations and divorces. The marriage of Charles and Diana is scrutinised to reveal the principle reason for their marital breakdown.For more than a decade the supporting cast of royals stole the limelight as their marriages fell apart in acrimony; but now, with nearly 50 years on the throne and her children more settled, the Queen is returning to centre stage. This compelling book looks at Elizabeth II's plans for her own future as she wrestles with the uncertainty of what lies ahead for the House of Windsor.

A Dancer in Wartime: One girl's journey from the Blitz to Sadler's Wells

Gillian Lynne - 2011
    But she started her career as a ballerina, and learnt to dance alongside Margot Fonteyn, Moira Shearer, Beryl Grey and Frederick Ashton during the Second World War. A Dancer in Wartime tells the story of Gillian's extraordinary childhood. From Miss Madeleine Sharp's Ballet Class for Young Ladies in Bromley, to being evacuated with her theatre school to rural Leicestershire; from performing in the West End with doodlebugs falling to touring a devastated Europe, the early years were hard, exciting and dramatic. And when the call came to join Sadler's Wells - well, what ballerina hopeful could have asked for more?

With A Feather On My Nose

Billie Burke - 1949
     This is the life story of an actress, a beautiful redheaded actress who lived and played in a glittering era now gone but fondly remembered. Although she attained moments of great fame and happiness, she never knew security. Like her father, the well-known clown, she went through life with a feather on her nose.—Print Ed.

Push Comes to Shove

Twyla Tharp - 1992
    Now, in her own words, Twyla Tharp offers a rare and provocative glimpse into the mind and heart behind her famously deadpan face.Much more than a dance book, Push Comes to Shove is the story of a woman coming to terms with herself as daughter, wife and lover, mother, artist. A child of Indiana Quaker country, Twyla Tharp was traumatically uprooted to California when her stage-ambitious mother built a drive-in movie theater. Soon Twyla was studying piano, violin, flamenco, drums, French, baton twirling, tap, classical ballet...But it was in adolescence - tangling with a rattlesnake in the California desert and observing overheated couples in the backs of cars - that she began to learn the powers of the body and the erotic mysteries of dance. In New York her raw talent came under the influence of such giants as Martha Graham, Paul Taylor, Merce Cunningham, and George Balanchine. But Tharp fought to find her own vision as an artist. In the process she created a new vocabulary of movement: quirky rebellious, sexy, comic - a daring and defiant marriage of Jelly Roll Morton, Bach, the modern dance, and classical ballet. Her collaborations with Mikhail Baryshnikov, Jerome Robbins, director Milos Forman, and David Byrne of Talking Heads built bridges between ballet audiences and fans of popular culture. Now with a stunning accompaniment of photographs by Richard Avedon and others, she reveals the development of the Tharp style - the rendering of order out of chaos, and chaos out of conventional order - that won critical acclaim in such works as Deuce Coupe, The Fugue, Push Comes to Shove, In the Upper Room, and the movies Hair and Amadeus. But her spectacular success did not come without personal anguish.

Glenn Gould: A Life and Variations

Otto Friedrich - 1989
    He was a tireless advocate of the technology of recording, an artist who looked forward to a time when mere musicians would be rendered obsolete. He was a notorious -- and, some thought, a deliberate -- eccentric, who muffled himself in scarves and gloves, liberally dosed himself with pills, and once sued Steinway & Sons because one of its employees had shaken his hand too roughly. He lived in hermetic solitude and liked to call himself "the last Puritan," but those who watched Glenn Gould play piano saw an eroticism so intense it was almost embarrassing.Drawing on extensive interviews and on archival materials that were previously inaccessible. Otto Friedrich has written a biography of exemplary depth and stylishness. Ranging over Gould's brief but spectacular public career and his prodigious exploits as teacher, author, and lecturer, his public opinions and his intensely private life. Glenn Gould; A Life and Variations does justice to a multifaceted and perverse genius.

Nijinsky: A Life

Lucy Moore - 2013
    Like so many since, Rodin recognised that in Nijinsky classical ballet had one of the greatest and most original artists of the twentieth century, in any genre. And his life is the stuff of legends: a story of great beauty and great tragedy.Immersed in the world of dance from his childhood, he found his natural home in the Imperial Theatre and the Ballets Russes, and a powerful sponsor in Sergei Diaghilev - until a dramatic and public failure ended his career and set him on a route to madness. As a dancer, he was acclaimed as godlikefor his extraordinary grace and elevation, but the opening of Stravinsky'sThe Rite of Springsaw furious brawls between admirers of his radically unballetic choreography and horrified traditionalists.Though 2013 marks theRite's centenary, Nijinsky's story has lost none of its power to shock, fascinate and move. Adored and reviled in his lifetime, his phenomenal talent was shadowed by schizophrenia and an intense but destructive relationship with his lover, Diaghilev.'I am alive'he wrote in his diary,'and so I suffer'. In the first biography for forty years, bestselling author ofMaharanisLucy Moore examines a career defined by two forces - inspired performance and an equally headline-grabbing talent for controversy.

A Conspiracy of Crowns: The True Story of the Duke of Windsor and the Murder of Sir Harry Oakes

Alfred de Marigny - 1990
    Its portrayal of the Duke of Windsor as a Nazi sympathizer--who would stop at nothing to hide it--is sure to make headlines. Black-and-white photographs.