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Balanchine Variations

Nancy Goldner


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Artistic profile of one of the twentieth century's great choreographers

"Immensely--that's how much I enjoyed the walks through twenty-two of Balanchine's ballets on which Nancy Goldner took me! I look forward to strolling with her again whenever I'm about to go see one of her Balanchine ballets."--George Jackson

"For the lay audience, this is an excellent introduction to watching Balanchine (and by extension ballet) guided by a thoughtful and articulate guide. For students of dance and balletomanes, it delves into details of craft, history and performance in a manner that elucidates as well as it entertains."--Rose Anne Thom

The literature on Balanchine is vast, but it is primarily biographical. Balanchine Variations is the first book to concentrate on the ballets themselves, providing critical analysis and detailed descriptions of what the dancers actually do.

Beginning with Apollo (1928), Balanchine's first extant work, and ending with one of his last ballets, Ballo della Regina (1978), Nancy Goldner offers detailed insights into more than twenty individual ballets. Based on lectures given across the United States, under the auspices of the Balanchine Foundation, they are intended to illuminate his art.

Goldner discusses the history of each ballet, places each in the context of Balanchine's life and sensibility. She also addresses his taste in music and whether his style can be considered particularly American.

The ballets Balanchine choreographed for the New York City Ballet are danced by companies around the world, and this innovative book is sure to become an indispensable guide to dancers and spectators alike.

Nancy Goldner is a former dance critic for the Christian Science Monitor, The Nation, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and Dance News.

Balanchine is a registered trademark of the George Balanchine Trust.

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" Preserving their original intent as a kind of primer for balletgoers, the essays also constitute a lesson in how many ways there are to write about ballet. None of the chapters adopts a "critique" or review format, yet almost every ballet summons a different treatment, suggests a different focus. This demonstrates the versatility of Balanchine, but also the ingenuity of Goldner."
--The Boston Phoenix

"Goldner's vivid language and blunt opinions will throw an anchor ahoy! Once overboard, and adrift, one's own & Goldner's dance fishing nets allow readers to gather all the pearls… pearls of wisdoms and pleasure. Buy this book!
--Attitude : The Dancer's Magazine

"If you like Balanchine, you must read Nancy Goldner's Balanchine Variations. She has the best ear for music and dance musicality of any dance critic writing today."
--The New York Times

" The book is modest and, at the same time, utterly self-assured. Anyone who cares about Balanchine should buy it immediately."
--The New Yorker

" As a dance critic and fromer dancer, Goldner has a thorough knowledge of the subject and adds her own insights to create a unique perspective."
--Dance Teacher

"A remarkable new book. Immediately takes its place among the half-dozen or so essential books on George Balanchine."--Robert Gottlieb
--The New York Review of Books

" Goldner has a vast knowledge of ballet, and this enables her to present these ballets in the context of Balanchine's life. This book will fascinate student and lovers of ballet. Essential."
--Choice

"Elegantly written. If you know nothing about a particular ballet, her essay on it will serve as an excellent introduction. And if you're extremely familiar with certain ballets, her profound observations will nonetheless open up new ways for you to see and understand Balanchine's infinitely interesting works of choreographic genius."
--Backstage Magazine

"Exceptional in its authority, in the clarity of its literary style, and in the way it illuminates in words Balanchine's choreographic talents. Goldner's perception and knowledge can help viewers to more fully understand and appreciate what they see on the stage."
--Dance Expressions

"This fetching little volume offers a splendid analysis and appraisal of a large body of George Balanchine creations in terms of their art, craft, significance and influences. It will serve as a guidebook for appreciation of those pieces currently gracing regional ballet repertories and those now represented on film and video."
--BalletDance

"Her writing- clear, robust and vivid- is exemplary. Even those well versed in Balanchine will find themselves looking again with more attentive eyes. Best of all, after reading Goldner, they will almost certainly find their enjoyment of Balanchine's genius enhanced."
--The National Post

"The last ballet in Goldner's choreographic journey sums up the pleasure she takes in Balanchine's works. It is Ballo della Regina, about which she says, "It speaks to the heart of Balanchine's art. And in its embodiment of joy, it speaks to the heart of all dance." The same can be said of Goldner's graceful prose".
--Dance Magazine

"An ideal guide for the beginner as well as the experienced viewer. Each time you see these ballets--or, better yet, before you see them--you'll want to revisit the map she has drawn, the better to make your way through Balanchine's remarkable imagination."
--Dancing Times

"Her writing--clear, robust and vivid--is exemplary. It makes Goldner's invaluable insights a constant pleasure to read. Even those well versed in Balanchine will find themselves looking again with more attentive eyes."
--Dance International

"The book has a complete clarity and a warm, personal voice through which she conveys a great deal of historical information and solid analytical insight. [Goldner’s] book offers an ideal introduction to Balanchine’s work for the novice who wishes to know what to look for. Her appraisals remain so consistently fresh and convincing that every chapter will also teach the experienced dance fan something new."
--The Georgia Review

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