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Night's Dancer: The Life of Janet Collins Hardcover – September 13, 2011
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“With Night’s Dancer, Lewin has produced a major work that continues to correct the absence of historical writing on African Americans in ballet and modern dance. The author incorporates Collins’s own writings, intimate details from the artist’s life, and rich contextual material to create a work that is emotionally touching and incredibly informative.” (John O. Perpener III, author of African-American Concert Dance: The Harlem Renaissance and Beyond)
“Blessed with extraordinary gifts for dance and painting, Janet Collins broke barriers as the first African-American prima ballerina at the world-renowned Metropolitan Opera. Her life’s journey is inspirational. History should recognize her as one of its pioneers. Janet Collins was truly one of earth’s angels.” (Arthur Mitchell, co-founder of the Dance Theatre of Harlem)
“Psychologists, sociologists, historians, painters, dancers, choreographers–here is your book! This is a careful, objective, revealing study of a complex and enigmatic person. Collins was richly blessed with creative talents and deeply drawn to a spiritual life. Night’s Dancer explores her struggle to fulfill and be fulfilled. A scholarly, beautiful, important work, and long overdue.” (Raven Wilkinson, first black dancer with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo)
“Janet Collins is an important and under-recognized figure in American dance, an exceptional female dancer who absorbed many of the artistic influences of her day. Her story illuminates issues in American history and politics, and the roles of African Americans and women in dance.” (Karen Eliot, professor, Department of Dance, Ohio State University)
“This carefully researched book reveals many facets of Janet Collins’s artistic and spiritual life along with the fact that she was the first black ballerina to dance at the Met. It places her in the context of other female modern dancers in the 1940s and 1950s and presents some provocative questions and comparisons regarding the role of the black dancer in American dance.” (Dawn Lille, researcher and curator of the 1996 photography exhibition “Classic Black” about black dancers in ballet before 1970, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts)
Top customer reviews
(I can just hear and see Janet saying to me through a beautiful smile "I told you so my doubting Thomas!) I have just finished reading this truly fascinating, honest and dramatic work Ms. Lewin has written. I personally had trouble with parts of the book as I had been there and had to relive many things that were difficult to see and feel the first time around let alone to read them in print. I couldn't imagine someone knowing Janet for what might be termed a relative short while compared to those of us who had known her for years, but the writer was amazing and able to see and write about this brilliant dancer, this brilliant human being with all her mercurial moods, fears, strengths and especially her sense of humor. Let me tell you how worried I was when I knew that I would be in parts of this book and I wondered how this stranger could create the love, the passion, the sadness and the honesty that ruled Janet Collins and her life. Ms.Lewin was completely accurate in introducing the 'public' Janet Collins to us as well as the private Janet Collins. Janet would be so pleased. I can just hear her saying "Thank you Yael Lewin". IT'S A MUST READ FOR ANYONE, DANCER OR NOT, BLACK OR WHITE, ANYONE STRIVING TO ACCOMPLISH IN ANY FIELD - IT'S ALL THE SAME! Not only was Janet so very talented with her dancing and her painting, but she opened a door for so many. I miss her.