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The Making of Markova: Diaghilev's Baby Ballerina to Groundbreaking Icon Hardcover – August 1, 2013


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The Making of Markova: Diaghilev's Baby Ballerina to Groundbreaking Icon + Anna Pavlova: Twentieth Century Ballerina + Balanchine & the Lost Muse: Revolution & the Making of a Choreographer
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 682 pages
  • Publisher: Pegasus; 1 edition (August 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1605984566
  • ISBN-13: 978-1605984568
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 0.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #164,914 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*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

Review

“... 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)

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Customer Reviews

A beautifully written, fascinating historical biography of British ballerina Markova.
Karen Young
She's a fascinating figure, quite different in many ways from most star ballerinas; for one thing, she's an introvert in a highly extroverted profession.
Catriona White
The author shows a much more rounded and interesting figure in a book that is thick, but pleasant to read.
Arissa

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By S. Dow on August 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Tina Sutton's new biography of ballerina Alicia Markova is jam-packed with facts about both Markova's life and mid-century British ballet. Sutton states on her website that she has not written a "ballet book," but a book about Markova is exactly that. There are a number of inaccuracies about ballet's history, specifically regarding Giselle, Markova's major role. The text is stuffed with long block quotes which distract from the narrative. Sutton is an enthusiastic author but her background in historical scholarship and ballet are sorely lacking for this reader.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Catriona White on February 12, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I am rather surprised by the generally unenthusiastic reviews here. IMO, this book is a detailed, leisurely, well-written and researched biography of a major dance artist who lived an amazing life during one of the most fertile artistic periods of the 20th century. I'm about 3/4 of the way throughout the book now, and will be sad when I'm done. The more I read, the more I wish I could have seen her dance. (There's a few faded, jerky clips on youtube, but that doesn't do it for me!). Although I have known about her since childhood, I didn't know much about her actual life, approach to ballet, artistic concerns, etc., until I read this book. She's a fascinating figure, quite different in many ways from most star ballerinas; for one thing, she's an introvert in a highly extroverted profession. Not only does this book give us a detailed portrait of Markova the person and the artist, it also paints portraits of many other interesting dancers/choreographers/artists/critics/musicians of the times, from her long-time partner Anton Dolin (who I had the amazing good fortune to study ballet with in university), to Arnold Haskell to Marc Chagall to the wild egomaniac Serge Lifar. I have a pretty good background in ballet history, and I can't say I've run across much sloppy scholarship in this book. I highly recommend it!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Arissa on December 5, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An interesting biography of a ballerina often portrayed as gifted but aloof. The author shows a much more rounded and interesting figure in a book that is thick, but pleasant to read. Lots of wonderful detail about the ballet world from Diaghilev through the sixties.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Marsha E. Pasarow on October 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a passionate dance fan and read most dance biographies; however, I am finding this to be dull (how can anything about the art of dance be dull?). I'm having trouble slogging through it when I would rather be bouree-ing through it.
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By dc metro area on July 6, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a tedious read if still the definitive work on Markova. Frankly I could do with out all the embedded quotes from contemporary articles. The author has synthesized this information anyway. It is just too long and dull, and sadly, Markova herself seems that way. She is too perfect to be real or interesting. I am only 250 pages into the book and will add to my review if my opinion changes, assuming I can finish the book. I have read dozens of ballet biographies and this one does not maintain my attention.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A beautifully written, fascinating historical biography of British ballerina Markova. Couldn't put it down...learned so much about pre and post war ballet history...lots of information/description of the various ballet companys and those who danced, directed and managed them. A truly great read for ballet afficiondos!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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 cultureal legacy.
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