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Comment: Retired library book with markings. Pages clean and unmarked. Binding good. Light general wear to cover and spine.
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The Making of Markova: Diaghilev's Baby Ballerina to Groundbreaking Icon Hardcover – August 1, 2013

4.1 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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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

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“... 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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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 682 pages
  • Publisher: Pegasus Books; 1 edition (August 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1605984566
  • ISBN-13: 978-1605984568
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 2.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,217,159 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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: 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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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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a book about Alicia Marks-aka Alicia Markova, the English dancer. She overcomes a language impediment, knocked knees, flat feet, and having grown up Jewish. It is a long book. The pictures are black and white. I got this book wanting to know more about Natalia Markova, the Russian dancer.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book gives a comprehensive view of Markova's life, from her childhood days in London, through the turbulent years of World War II, and into her golden years. She sacrificed her health and her personal life for her art, and was a guiding force for the growth of ballet in England. I would highly recommend this book to those who love reading about the lives of the great dancers of the twentieth century and the days of Diagalev and the Ballet Russe.- Mary-Ann Trippet
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a very thick tome and I am only up to the Thirties in it. Having read numerous books on the Ballets Russes and the birth of British ballet, I think Markova's documents provide a priceless view of the day-to-day life of dancers and their companies. Sutton manages to capture the heady atmosphere very well. Markova had first to survive her childhood and then the death of Diaghilev. The odds were so heavily against her, even with all her good fortune and ability, that both are nothing short of miraculous. One feels again the overwhelming need for luck and timing in the lives of artists.
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