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*Starred Review* Dame Alicia Markova, once “the most famous ballerina in the world,” was a Jewish Londoner, born Lilian Alicia Marks and given her stage name by Sergei Diaghilev when he brought her into the Ballet Russes at age 14. The unlikeliest of ballerinas—“bone thin,” flat-footed, knock-kneed, and sickly—she was nonetheless a true prodigy, possessing not only “technical bravura” but also a sterling work ethic, a “phenomenal memory” for music and choreography, and a versatile gift for design. Sutton, an arts journalist for the Boston Globe, makes superlative use of the extraordinarily comprehensive archive Markova maintained until her death at 94 in 2004. Sutton’s sense of wonderment lights up every page of this hard-to-believe, utterly transporting story of discipline, commitment, hardship, and steely self-reliance. An artist and a hero, Markova publicly expressed pride in her heritage when Hitler came to power and refused requests to have her nose “reduced” to look less Jewish. She endured vicious sabotage attempts, grueling tours, and heartache. A brilliant classical dancer, she also performed revolutionary modern works with soaring artistry, collaborating with Ashton, Balanchine, Stravinsky, and Chagall. And she circled the globe “to spread the gospel of ballet.” Quoting dexterously from Markova’s electrifying journals, Sutton brings Markova and her world to scintillating life in this ravishing biography of perpetual motion, limelight and darkness, courage and creativity. --Donna Seaman
... after a childhood plagued by flat feet, knock knees and wobbly legs, a doctor told her mother to try ballet lessons and low and behold she was discovered to be the most amazing dance protegee... she started her professional career at age ten and never stopped.... Considered the greatest ambassador of ballet! (WCVB Boston)
Chock-full of colorful, telling details, fascinating insights, and charming anecdotes that it makes for a thoroughly engaging read. Sutton’s book is a captivating portrait of a remarkable life to savor slowly. (The Boston Globe)
The pas de deux would seem the most unlikely topic to yield a page-turner, but Sutton has done it with her fascinating portrait of Alicia Markova. Sutton’s poignant, playful Markova shatters the stereotype of the pampered aesthete and deftly places her at the center of an era of breathtaking artistic ferment. (Greg Dawson, author of Hiding in the Spotlight: A Musical Prodigy's Story of Survival)
The Making of Markova is both a surprisingly intimate portrait of one of Britain’s and ballet’s truly great souls and a sweeping depiction of the kinetic, star-studded world of international ballet in the first half of the twentieth century. Tina Sutton’s lucid, deft and limber style admirably suits her subject. (Paul Thomas Murphy, author of Shooting Victoria, a New York Times Notable Book)
Sutton’s sense of wonderment lights up every page of this utterly transporting story of discipline, commitment, hardship, and steely self- reliance. Sutton brings Markova and her world to scintillating life in this ravishing biography of perpetual motion, limelight and darkness, courage and creativity. (Booklist, STARRED REVIEW)
Fascinating, especially for an admirer who was lucky enough to see her dance in "Giselle" in the forties.Published 14 months ago by Mason
This book explores in depth the trials and tribulations of Markova and has given me new appreciation for her talent and a new perspective on her life and her contributions to her... Read morePublished 18 months ago by EL
I was interested at what great talent and trials one goes through for their art. She was given a gift and used it well.Published 19 months ago by Sheila
The author did a great job placing Alicia Markova in the wider cultural context of the world she danced in, from pre WWII anti-Semetism in Europe and the waning years of the Ballet... Read morePublished 19 months ago by LiteraryTriathlete