More Balanchine Variations
By Nancy Goldner
University Press of Florida, 2011
156 pages, including photos
In a nutshell: A compelling discussion of 20 ballets choreographed by George Balanchine from 1941 to 1981.
“Orpheus interests me for personal reasons; for one thing, it was the first work that gripped me as a child,” writes dance critic Nancy Goldner in the introduction of More Balanchine Variations. She discusses 20 ballets organized chronologically throughout this text, and her personal tone separates her book from other, more academic takes on Balanchine’s work. What also makes the chapters (each devoted to one piece) so compelling is that Goldner focuses on Balanchine’s shifting choreographic style. While touching on the works’ structures and creations, she analyzes the impact of each piece on his future ballets, while also reflecting on its effect on her own life as dancer, critic and fan.
Goldner, also the author of Balanchine Variations (with reviews of 20 different Balanchine works), has included discussions of Ballet Imperial (1941) (also known as Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2), Symphony in C (1947), Bugaku (1963), Mozartiana (1981) and more. Multiple photographs highlight each chapter, ranging from archival shots to images of recent reconstructions. A thorough suggested reading index is composed of sources frequently referred to throughout the book. More Balanchine Variations is certainly a must-read for Balanchine fans, but anyone interested in choreography or dance history would also benefit from its insights.