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The Cage: Dancing for Jerome Robbins and George Balanchine, 1949-1954 Paperback – September 29, 2012


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Barbara Bocher, born in Oklahoma in 1935, joined the New York City Ballet in 1949 at the age of 14. The youngest dancer in the company, she appeared under the baton of Igor Stravinsky, Aaron Copeland, and Sir Benjamin Britten. In the course of her shooting star career, she worked with choreographers George Balanchine, Sir Frederic Ashton and Jerome Robbins in whose ballet, Pied Piper, she danced to the clarinet of Benny Goodman. Still in her middle teens, she graced the stages of such major venues as the Royal Opera House in London, the Paris Opera House, La Scala Opera House, Milan and the Trieste Opera House where she was partnered by premier danseur Andre Eglevsky. Barbara Bocher, today a great-grandmother, lives by the sea in Santa Barbara, California. Adam Darius, born in New York City in 1930, has appeared as a dancer and mime artist in over 85 countries. From the Himalayas in Nepal to Sugar Loaf Mountain in Brazil and from Surabaya in Java to the island of Madagascar, he continues to influence the generations with his own approach to physical theater and expressive mime. As a choreographer, his most acclaimed work was The Anne Frank Ballet, the Italian Television and British productions now seen on YouTube. Additionally, Adam Darius is the dance world's most prolific author, having written a score of plays and 15 published books on a diversity of subjects. Among the many honors accorded him have been, on two occasions, the Noor Al-Hussein Award in Jordan and twice, awards from the government of Venezuela. Adam Darius lives on a hill in Espoo, Finland.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (September 29, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1478246588
  • ISBN-13: 978-1478246589
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,047,717 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

So many errors and untruths.
jill a kelley
Like Gelsey Kirkland, Barbara Boucher is giving us this world through her eyes, which were very young eyes at the time, eyes that took everything in personally.
Daniel shefer
He and Barbara will delight you with their stories as well as break your heart.
Penny Carroll New York City

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By jill a kelley on October 22, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was with the NYCB for 20 years, being the youngest to join the company at 12 years. I did my first performance with the company on my 13th birthday. I wonder if anyone proof read this book? So many errors and untruths. For instance, obvious things like the Orient Express runs from Paris to Istanbul, not from Barcelona to Paris as stated in the book. We flew from Barcelona to Paris on a Spanish Airline. Ridiculous stories like locked in a restroom with a tutu on, escaping out of a window to a ledge stories high. Personal attacks on dancers and especially Jerry, who, while firm in his ways, was also a kind man. And replete with factual errors. I could go on and on and if anyone is interested please contact me. Jillana
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Irritated with Sony on June 9, 2014
Format: Paperback
As a long-time reader of books about dance history and dance memoirs, this one takes the cake, and NOT in a good way. Certainly, no one has ever suggested that Jerome Robbins was a warm-and-fuzzy nice guy, but to completely dismiss his work as a director and choreographer is ludicrous. The author is so obsessed with her long-ago teenage resentment of Robbins that she makes statements to the effect that his choreographic work was plagiarized or mediocre (which might come as news to generations of dancers and audience members) and that he had no talent as a theatre director (this of the man who staged "Gypsy," "West Side Story" and "Fiddler on the Roof," in the process revolutionizing musical theatre). She even takes credit for creating part of Robbins' choreography for "The King and I." Yes, as a person, Robbins was apparently a total louse, but this can be said of Elia Kazan, Picasso, and many other artistic geniuses. And in fact HAS been said in two legitimate biographies of Robbins, neither of which makes the case that he was a nice person-- but both of which acknowledge him as complex and as a man who made stars and artists of performers.

Ms. Bocher misses the point of her own history-- that, while apparently a technical prodigy, she was too immature and lacked the world view to handle the obvious stress of being a performer in a world-class company, and to appreciate and take advantage of the professional opportunities she was given-- opportunities that many other dancers have used to build long-term, important careers.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Nathalie Maullin on February 18, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I loved hearing about the early days of NYCB. I especially loved finding my former teacher's name mentioned throughout (Yvonne Mounsey). But, the whole story is told with such bitterness that it taints the whole experience. She has moments of adult perspective, but she is stuck in adolescence.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By dc metro area on June 18, 2013
Format: Paperback
The overall takeaway from this book for me was the author's regret for the choice she made in 1954 to abandon her ballet career to marry at age 18. While she acknowledges the love of her children that the marriage produced, one can't help but see how angry she is because she places so much blame on Jerome Robbins, and to a lesser degree, Balanchine. It is a very engaging story, melodramatic at times, and maintains the reader's curiosity throughout. Adam Darius is described as a co-author and I often wondered to what extent his voice might have modified the book's tone or even content. I think I would have preferred to have a more simple story that was wholly Bocher's "as told to" or some other arrangement than co-authorship. The essence of the book is Bocher's telling of her years with the New York City Ballet from age 14 to 18. However, she grafts onto that story the wisdom and knowledge she has acquired over the following 60 years, as well as the mores of the 21st century. For example, the historical and culture descriptions of Europe presented in the book probably were not something a naive teenage from Oklahoma, obsessed with dancing, would ponder in her limited free time. What she described as "child abuse" in her treatment as a teenage dancer really wasn't that uncommon for the generations that preceded her. Teenage professionals had been common. One will recall that Balanchine married a 14 year old ballerina, Tamara Geva. I do not mean to justify Robbins's conduct, but merely to provide background. Ultimately, the book made me angry too that she had given up after such an investment by herself and others. I felt particularly sorry for her mother who sacrificed for her daughter's dreams.Read more ›
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Deborah f Tweten on February 25, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The author keeps referring to her youth and Robbins abuse w/o specific details - and it sounds like she worked closely with him -- very confusing and quite tedious.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Daniel shefer on August 10, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If anyone wants to hate Jerome Robbins, become disenchanted with Balanchine and the world of classical ballet, this is the book to read.
If anyone wants to understand that talent and hard work is not enough in this world, this is the book to read. The "ballet world" is a very tough one and to enter it (even with great talent and ability) at too young an age, and without the right temperament, can be devastating, as it has been for dancer after dancer. Only the strong can survive this world, and I don't mean only technically.
Like Gelsey Kirkland, Barbara Boucher is giving us this world through her eyes, which were very young eyes at the time, eyes that took everything in personally.
Albeit that Jerome Robbins was no "piece of cake" and Balanchine indeed had a one track mind, a track that was concerned only with the beauty of dance and how he saw ballerina after ballerina fit his agenda, there is still in this book regrets and frustration at the end of her life for turning her back on her one great love, dancing. One of course could understand how she did this because the cruelty and lack of love in this world can be devastating, especially to a young girl. Marriage seemed an easy way out then. At the end of the book, was she sorry that at the mere age of 18 she left the world of dance for a "normal" life, yes, she said, yes.
Well, her marriage at the end, also failed and it is always easy to look back and say, "why did I make that mistake." But such is life, everyone makes decisions and have to live with them. One feels that it is a tragedy that a girl with her talent and beauty did indeed give it all up because of Jerome Robbins brisque behavior and Ballanchine's "lack of emotion". Too bad her ambition did not match her talent. Had I looked and danced like her, I never would have given up so easily. Big mistake. Big mistake.
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The Cage: Dancing for Jerome Robbins and George Balanchine, 1949-1954
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