[]
[]

I Was A Dancer

A Memoir
D'Amboise, Jacques, 1934- (eBook - 2011 )
Average Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.
I Was A Dancer
Print

Item Details

Random House, Inc.
“Who am I? I’m a man; an American, a father, a teacher, but most of all, I am a person who knows how the arts can change lives, because they transformed mine. I was a dancer.”

In this rich, expansive, spirited memoir, Jacques d’Amboise, one of America’s most celebrated classical dancers, and former principal dancer with the New York City Ballet for more than three decades, tells the extraordinary story of his life in dance, and of America’s most renowned and admired dance companies.

He writes of his classical studies beginning at the age of eight at The School of American Ballet. At twelve he was asked to perform with Ballet Society; three years later he joined the New York City Ballet and made his European debut at London’s Covent Garden.

As George Balanchine’s protégé, d’Amboise had more works choreographed on him by “the supreme Ballet Master” than any other dancer, among them Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux; Episodes; A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream; Jewels; Raymonda Variations.

He writes of his boyhood—born Joseph Ahearn—in Dedham, Massachusetts; his mother (“the Boss”) moving the family to New York City’s Washington Heights; dragging her son and daughter to ballet class (paying the teacher $7.50 from hats she made and sold on street corners, and with chickens she cooked stuffed with chestnuts); his mother changing the family name from Ahearn to her maiden name, d’Amboise (“It’s aristocratic. It has the ‘d’ apostrophe. It sounds better for the ballet, and it’s a better name”).

We see him. a neighborhood tough, in Catholic schools being taught by the nuns; on the streets, fighting with neighborhood gangs, and taking ten classes a week at the School of American Ballet . . . being taught professional class by Balanchine (he was “small, unassuming, he radiated energy and total command”) and by other teachers of great legend: Anatole Oboukhoff, premier danseur of the Maryinsky Theatre (“Such a big star,” said Balanchine, “people followed him, like a prince with servants”); and Pierre Vladimiroff, Pavlova’s partner (“So light on feather feet”). Vladimiroff drilled into his students, “You must practice, practice, practice. Onstage, forget everything! Just listen to the music and dance.”

D’Amboise writes about Balanchine’s succession of ballerina muses who inspired him to near-obsessive passion and led him to create extraordinary ballets, dancers with whom d’Amboise partnered—Maria Tallchief; Tanaquil LeClercq, a stick-skinny teenager who blossomed into an exquisite, witty, sophisticated “angel” with her “long limbs and dramatic, mysterious elegance . . .”; the iridescent Allegra Kent; Melissa Hayden; Suzanne Farrell, who Balanchine called his “alabaster princess,” her every fiber, every movement imbued with passion and energy; Kay Mazzo; Kyra Nichols (“She’s perfect,” Balanchine said. “Uncomplicated—like fresh water”); and Karin von Aroldingen, to whom Balanchine left most of his ballets.

D’Amboise writes about dancing with and courting one of the company’s members, who became his wife for fifty-three years, and the four children they had . . . On going to Hollywood to make Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and being offered a long-term contract at MGM (“If you’re not careful,” Balanchine warned, “you will have sold your soul for seven years”) . . . On Jerome Robbins (“Jerry could be charming and complimentary, and then, five minutes later, attack, and crush your spirit—all to see how it would influence the dance movements”).

D’Amboise writes of the moment when he realizes his dancing career is over and he begins a new life and new dream teaching children all over the world about the arts through the magic of dance.

A riveting, magical book, as transformative as dancing itself.

“Who am I? I’m a man; an American, a father, a teacher, but most of all, I am a person who knows how the arts can change lives, because they transformed mine. I was a dancer.”

In this rich, expansive, spirited memoir, Jacques d’Amboise, one of America’s most celebrated classical dancers, and former principal dancer with the New York City Ballet for more than three decades, tells the extraordinary story of his life in dance, and of America’s most renowned and admired dance companies. He writes of his classical studies beginning at the age of eight at The School of American Ballet. At twelve he was asked to perform with Ballet Society; three years later he joined the New York City Ballet and made his European debut at London’s Covent Garden.

As George Balanchine’s protégé, d’Amboise had more works choreographed on him by “the supreme Ballet Master” than any other dancer, among them Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux; Episodes; A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream; Jewels; Raymonda Variations.

He writes of his boyhood—born Joseph Ahearn—in Dedham, Massachusetts; his mother (“the Boss”) moving the family to New York City’s Washington Heights; dragging her son and daughter to ballet class (paying the teacher $7.50 from hats she made and sold on street corners, and with chickens she cooked stuffed with chestnuts); his mother changing the family name from Ahearn to her maiden name, d’Amboise (“It’s aristocratic. It has the ‘d’ apostrophe. It sounds better for the ballet, and it’s a better name”).

We see him. a neighborhood tough, in Catholic schools being taught by the nuns; on the streets, fighting with neighborhood gangs, and taking ten classes a week at the School of American Ballet . . . being taught professional class by Balanchine and by other teachers of great legend: Anatole Oboukhoff, premier danseur of the Maryinsky; and Pierre Vladimiroff, Pavlova’s partner.

D’Amboise writes about Balanchine’s succession of ballerina muses who inspired him to near-obsessive passion and led him to create extraordinary ballets, dancers with whom d’Amboise partnered—Maria Tallchief; Tanaquil LeClercq, a stick-skinny teenager who blossomed into an exquisite, witty, sophisticated “angel” with her “long limbs and dramatic, mysterious elegance . . .”; the iridescent Allegra Kent; Melissa Hayden; Suzanne Farrell, who Balanchine called his “alabaster princess,” her every fiber, every movement imbued with passion and energy; Kay Mazzo; Kyra Nichols (“She’s perfect,” Balanchine said. “Uncomplicated—like fresh water”); and Karin von Aroldingen, to whom Balanchine left most of his ballets.

D’Amboise writes about dancing with and courting one of the company’s members, who became his wife for fifty-three years, and the four children they had . . . On going to Hollywood to make Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and being offered a long-term contract at MGM (“If you’re not careful,” Balanchine warned, “you will have sold your soul for seven years”) . . . On Jerome Robbins (“Jerry could be charming and complimentary, and then, five minutes later, attack, and crush your spirit—all to see how it would influence the dance movements”).

D’Amboise writes of the moment when he realizes his dancing career is over and he begins a new life and new dream teaching children all over the world about the arts through the magic of dance.

A riveting, magical book, as transformative as dancing itself.



Baker & Taylor
A former principal dancer for the New York City ballet traces the story of a life in dance that honors the contributions of George Balanchine, Lincoln Kirstein, and Jerome Robbins while discussing his work at the side of famous dancers, teachers, and choreographers.

Book News
A lively memoir of an extraordinary life. D'Amboise (b. 1934), a protégé of George Balanchine, was a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet for more than 33 years (he began there at age 15). In 1976 he founded National Dance Institute, where children have been taught to dance for several decades. This account describes his childhood, training, and career. B&w photos are included. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Baker
& Taylor

A former principal dancer for the New York City ballet traces the story of a life in dance that honors the contributions of such figures as George Balanchine, Lincoln Kirstein and Jerome Robbins while discussing his work at the side of famous dancers, teachers and choreographers.
In this spirited memoir, Jacques d'Amboise, one of America's most celebrated classical dancers, and former principal dancer with the New York City Ballet for more than three decades, tells the story of his life in dance, and of America's most renowned and admired dance companies. He writes of his mother dragging her son and daughter to ballet class. We see him, a neighborhood tough, on the streets, fighting with neighborhood gangs, and taking ten classes a week at the School of American Ballet; being taught by Balanchine and other great teachers. We meet Balanchine's succession of ballerina muses who inspired him to near-obsessive passion, dancers with whom d'Amboise partnered; of going to Hollywood and being offered a long-term contract at MGM; and of the moment when he realizes his dancing career is over and he begins a new life teaching children all over the world about the arts through the magic of dance.--From publisher description.

Authors: D'Amboise, Jacques, 1934-
Statement of Responsibility: Jacques d'Amboise
Title: I was a dancer
a memoir
[electronic resource]
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, c2011
Edition: 1st ed
Characteristics: 1 online resource (xv, 439 p.) : ill., map.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references and index
Subject Headings: D'Amboise, Jacques, 1934- Dancers United States Biography New York City Ballet
Genre/Form: Electronic books
Topical Term: Dancers
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc
Additional Physical Form Entry: Print version: D'Amboise, Jacques, 1934- I was a dancer. 1st ed. New York : Alfred A. Knopf, c2011 9781400042340 (DLC) 2010045356 (OCoLC)641520518
ISBN: 9780307595232
0307595234
Branch Call Number: eNYPL Book
MARC Display»

From the critics


Community Activity

Comment

Add a Comment

Dec 02, 2012
  • mackiecat rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Very readable. If you like theatre or dance, you'll enjoy this very personable account of a major American ballet dancer's career. As a bonus, you'll be treated to a history of the growth of American ballet from George Balanchine's work in Russia to the sixties. Since D'Amboise was Balanchine's protege, the account is personal. Highly recommended.

Age

Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.

Summary

Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.

Notices

Add a Notice

There are no notices for this title yet.

Quotes

Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Videos

Add a Video

There are no videos for this title yet.

Find it at NYPL

  Loading...

Other Formats

Your Cart

Hello! We noticed you have the following items in your cart right now:

If you'd still like to purchase the items you have in your cart, you can do that now.

You'll be able to purchase your eBook after you have checked out your current cart.

I Was A Dancer
D'Amboise, Jacques, 1934-
I Was A Dancer

To continue with your eBook purchase immediately, you can clear your cart by clicking below.

All items will be removed from your cart.


I'd like to keep browsing! I'll decide later.

Explore Further


Browse the Shelf

Browse the shelf is not available for this title.


Subject Headings


Recommendations

  Loading...

Powered by BiblioCommons.
Version pocillo (pocillo) Last updated 2014/09/02 11:42