Massine: a biography
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 1995 - Biography & Autobiography - 446 pages
For twenty-five years after his Paris debut in 1914, Leonide Massine (1895-1979) was indisputably the premier male dancer and chief choreographer of Europe. Now, just as revivals of his ballets are reconfirming his status, historian Vicente Garcia-Marquez gives us a well-rounded, definitive biography that places Massine firmly in the mainstream of twentieth-century cultural history. Onstage, he was widely praised for indelible performances in roles he created for himself (Joseph in The Legend of Joseph, the Miller in Le Tricorne, and the Chinese Conjuror in Parade are only a few) and as the choreographer of other perennial repertory favorites (such as Le Beau Danube, Gaite parisienne, Scuola di ballo). In the 1930s his choreography took an innovative and controversial turn with the creation of Les Presages, Choreartium (both recently revived in France and America), and Symphonie fantastique - ballets whose grandiose combination of symphonic music, metaphysical scenarios, and spectacularly complex movement patterns and configurations polarized the critics and the public. Massine's collaborations with the major creative spirits of our time - including Diaghilev, Stravinsky, Falla, Cocteau, Picasso, Matisse, Miro, and Dali - were integral to his life and art, and each of these giants has a role in this book. So too does Michael Powell, the British filmmaker who, fortunately for us, recorded some of Massine's most brilliant characterizations, in The Red Shoes and The Tales of Hoffmann.
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Massine: a biographyUser Review - Book Verdict
International superstar ballet dancer and choreographer Leonide Massine (1895-1979) created a body of work that has had a significant impact on this century's choreographic developments. Massine's symphonic or abstract ballets have been most influential, but certainly his skill in characterization, his elevation of the male dancer to an equal status with that of the ballerina, and his constant experimentations with regard to movements, music, and design set new standards for ballet. Massine was strongly focused on work, and his creativity was fueled by numerous personal and professional liaisons, the most notable with impresario Diaghilev. The late Garcia-Marquez (The Ballet Russes, 1990) was meticulous in his research, but, by his own admission, he fails "to capture the persona, the man's inner life," perhaps because Massine was so introspective. By the book's end, the essence of the artist eludes and baffles both the author and the reader. Still, in comparison with and as a complement to My Life (1960), Massine's guarded autobiography, this book will serve as the definitive record of Massine's career for some time. Recommended for all dance collections.--Joan Stahl, National Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C.
Review: Massine: A BiographyUser Review - Goodreads
Inspiring to say the least
Italy August 1914United States April 1916
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