“Once touched by Legat’s essence, one is forever inspired to excel.”—from the foreword by Tasha Bertram, former soloist, London City Ballet
“Nicolas Legat . . . left his mark on any and all who sought his tutelage.”—from the introduction by Robert Greskovic, dance writer, Wall Street Journal
The Legat Legacy brings back into print two classic works that offer rare insights into the golden age of Russian ballet. The first, Ballet Russe: Memoirs of Nicolas Legat, takes readers into the last three decades of the Imperial Ballet before the 1917 Russian Revolution. Written by Nicolas Legat (1869–1937), one of the great creative geniuses of classical ballet, these memoirs recount Legat’s experiences as principal dancer before he fled to Europe to escape the Russian Civil War. The book is filled with memorable character descriptions and includes some of Legat’s unique, celebrated caricatures.
The second, Heritage of a Ballet Master: Nicolas Legat, is a valuable testament to Legat’s classroom pedagogy. Assembled by Legat student, professional dancer, and prolific author John Gregory (1914–1996) to showcase the four complete classes that Legat wrote out by hand for his student the ballet star André Eglevsky (1917–1977), this book also features several Legat classes remembered by other students. In addition, it contains music for the classes, Legat’s drawings, photographs of him in performance, and other archival material. It includes a brief biography of Legat and fascinating remembrances from his former students, among them Alicia Markova and Léonide Massine, and a forward by Alexandra Danilova. Marked by their variety and musicality, Legat’s teachings are preserved here for future generations of dancers to discover.
Mindy Aloff is a dance writer based in New York. She is the editor of Dance in America: A Reader’s Anthology and Agnes de Mille’s Leaps in the Dark: Art and the World.
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