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Baryshnikov in Black and White. Forward by Joan Acocella. First Edition.
'This book documents one of the most remarkable stories in late twentieth-century dance: the vastness, the sheer, scaling ambition, of the repertory that Mikhail Baryshnikov undertook once he defected to the West.' - Joan Acocella
The art of the dance requires no words - and the covers of this magnificent tribute to the dancing genius of Baryshnikov contain no words at all, not even the title. On the front cover there is only one image, Baryshnikov in a dramatic pose from the early Don Quixote, and on the back a much older Baryshnikov in the modern dance Whizz, performed in 2000. Both these photo backgrounds, like all those in the book, are completely black, emphasizing the dancer's captured moment as if in relief. 15 pages of vivid stills from his 1974 successes follow even before the title page. In addition to the photographs, the distinguished American dance critic Joan Acocella has written a fascinating and informed biographical essay, discussing Baryshnikov's astonishing virtuosity, dramatic flair and hunger for modern developments in dance. There is a detailed chronology of his debut performances outside Russia, including roles specifically created for him and charting his associations with the American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet and his own White Oak Dance Project, which he co-founded in 1990. The short Afterword by Russian dance critic Vera Krasovskaya illustrates poignantly the restrictions which led to the Kirov star breaking free. The Soviet authorities bitterly condemned him, and there was a ban on his name which included the falsification of Soviet encyclopaedias of ballet. But the focus of the book is of course the images, and 250 photo-spreads depict an incredible range of glorious and varied dance moments. The two photos of Baryshnikov's early Giselle with Natalia Makarova, who defected a few years before him, show not only their classical-ballet purity, but great romantic melancholy. Another photo, a great moment from Coppelia, shows him at the height of one of his famed jumps - only one of the many showing the dancer in forceful dynamic movement. In 1976 a turning point came with his collaboration with Twyla Tharp, who spliced ballet with jazz and jitterbug. Later he worked with George Balanchine, who had defected from Russia 50 years earlier; in Pas de Duke, the five shots show Baryshnikov's interpretive talents combining the jazziness of Ellington with the full-body movement of modern dance. Other welcome photos show Baryshnikov in rehearsal. There are exultant leaps, tender poses, extraordinary twists of the body and dramatic expressions of feeling. These are moments held as they cannot be in the motion of dance, and joyously preserved in this beautiful book. (Kirkus UK)
Dust jacket lightly worn and scuffed.
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