Round About the Ballet
Book Review and Book Signing Event
Book Features American Ballet Theatre & New York City Ballet
(See Reviews of American Ballet Theatre)
(See Reviews of New York City Ballet)
Photographs by Roy Round
Profiles by Joseph Carman
Produced by William Cubberley
Forward by Jennifer Dunning of The New York Times
Round About The Ballet Book Signing Event
January 27, 2005 at Barnes & Noble
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
March 4, 2005
Round About the Ballet is an exquisitely designed book for devotees of all ballet and especially for devotees of American Ballet Theatre (ABT) and New York City Ballet (NYCB). Eight Principals of ABT, Maxim Beloserkovsky, Angel Corella, Irina Dvorovenko, Marcelo Gomes, Julie Kent, Vladmir Malakhov, Gillian Murphy, and Ethan Stiefel, and seven Principals of NYCB, Albert Evans, Nikolaj Hübbe, Maria Kowroski, Benjamin Millepied, Jennie Somogyi, Jenifer Ringer, and Wendy Whelan, are all photographed in several ballet costumes and poses by the renowned Roy Round and interviewed by Joseph Carman. The fifteen profiles, with accompanying photographs, are compiled by book Producer, William Cubberley.
Photographs vary from Maria Kowroski in Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, Julie Kent in Giselle, Angel Corella in Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, Vladmir Malakhov in La Bayadere, and Albert Evans in Red Angels, to Ethan Stiefel in Prodigal Son. The photographs are the soul of the book (enhanced with the written observations and feelings of the dancers). There is an outdoor poster of Angel Corella, spinning in red and black flowing material, some nude, opaque black/white photos of Marcelo Gomes (with ABT’s Carmen Corella), a leaping Nikolaj Hübbe in white, as Apollo, some multiple exposures of Jennie Somogyi in a cream leotard against blue, and two face to face black and white moving photos of Wendy Whelan with the burning candle in La Sonnambula.
In this book, some of the notated questions asked of the dancers are: “When you’re not dancing, what do you do in your off time?”, “When you were young, were there any dancers that you saw as role models”, and “What’s the most challenging role you’ve danced?”. These may seem to be generalized questions, but for those of us who have never heard the spoken voice or opinion of a favorite dancer, especially a Principal, it is a rare and exciting reward to read the thoughts and experiences of these renowned contemporary and character dancers. The questions for each dancer are sometimes consistent, but the answers are not.
The French born Benjamin Millepied was asked, “Leading up to the war in Iraq, there was a lot of ‘French bashing’. Did that bother you?” He responded, “No, I’m as French as can be…” Pennsylvanian Jennie Somogyi (on injury leave from NYCB) was asked, “How did you hook a cop as a husband?”, and she responded, “I have always been interested in criminal profiling…” Brazilian Marcelo Gomes was asked, “Are male dancers accepted in Brazil”, and he responded, “…Everybody goes to Carnaval and you wouldn’t even believe that these people have rhythm in their blood, but they do…” Ukrainians Irina Dvorovenko and Maxim Beloserkovsky are married and expecting a baby now. Maxim was asked, “Is it true that before perestroika you secretly watched bootlegged ballet videos?”, and he responded, “…my coach…would bring ten boys from our class…put a tape on that had just a terrible quality…But you still could see the magic…”
At a late January book-signing event at Barnes & Noble, near Lincoln Center, several of the book’s stars were present to answer questions and sign books. Roy Round, William Cubberley, and Joseph Carman were all invited to speak. Maxim Beloserkovsky mentioned that he’s working on a new Balanchine piece. He also commented on the tight rehearsal schedule at ABT, compared to that in the Ukraine. His wife, Irina Dvorovenko, said that after the baby is born, she would have wings on her back.
Marcelo Gomes commented on an upcoming Petrouchka at the Kennedy Center and a film of Swan Lake for PBS. Jennie Somogyi, on ballet leave with a ruptured tendon, is eager to return and enjoy her work in good shape. Jenifer Ringer talked about the voice lessons for her singing role in NYCB’s West Side Story and her ability to create a style to match each choreographer. Benjamin Millepied leads a personalized choreography workshop in August and has an upcoming project with Mikhail Baryshnikov.
You can purchase Round About the Ballet in person at Barnes & Noble or online at www.bn.com or www.limelighteditions.com.