Work Title: In Balanchine's Company: A Dancer's Memoir
Work Author(s): Barbara Milberg Fisher
Wesleyan University Press
48 b/w illustrations, 218 pages, Hardcover $24.95
Reviewer: Dorothy Eisenstein
"Balanchine possessed a kind of multi-dimensional alertness that included the immediate phrase of music and the spatial design of the sequence he was envisioning," writes the author, "but also an uncanny awareness of the physical idiom of the dancer he was working with, the way that person naturally moved."
Fisher, a former soloist with the New York City Ballet and professor emeritus of English at City College of New York, illuminates the world of George Balanchine from a company dancer's perspective. Her memoir of the formative years of the New York City Ballet provides insightful information on Balanchine's legacy while illuminating the many collaborative artists, including Igor Stravinsky, who played major roles in the shaping of the legendary company.
Fisher's account of touring with the New York City Ballet in the early 1950s is filled with recollection of professional triumphs and personal anecdotes. She describes witnessing Balanchine's choreographic genius while he created the role of Stravinsky's Firebird for Maria Tallchief and the transformative effect of her performance. Fisher takes the reader through the trials of performing on raked stages of Europe unsuitable for the demands of ballet) and through a humorous costume mishap during a performance at the Champs-Elysees. Throughout this riveting memoir, the author reveals the camaraderie of company members and the purposeful work that bonded the...