Suki Schorer on Balanchine Technique

Suki Schorer

Published by Knopf, 1999
ISBN 10: 0679450602 / ISBN 13: 9780679450603
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Synopsis: A highly detailed book on Balanchine technique, written by one of his former principal dancers, now a leading teacher at the School of American Ballet.

When still a young dancer in the New York City Ballet, Suki Schorer was chosen by Balanchine to lecture, demonstrate, and teach--he recognized in her that rare dancer who not only performs superbly but can also successfully pass along what she knows to others. Now, she commits to paper the fruit of her twenty-four-year collaboration with Balanchine in a close examination of his technique for teachers, scholars, and advanced students of the ballet.

Schorer discusses the crucial work at the barre as well as center work, port de bras, pointework, jumps, partnering, and more. Her recollections of her own tutelage under Balanchine and her brilliant use of scores of his remarks about dancing and dancers lend both authority and intimacy to this extraordinary analysis of Balanchine's legacy to the future of dance.

Profusely illustrated throughout with instructional photographs featuring members of the New York City Ballet, this book will serve as an indispensable testament to Balanchine's ideas on technique and performance.
From the Preface

At Balanchine's instigation I began to teach in the early 1960s while still a member of the corps de ballet . . . One day, as I was adjusting a tendu front in a class of nine-year-olds, Balanchine walked into the studio with Lincoln Kirstein, the school's longtime president. As they left, I heard Mr. B say to Lincoln, "I knew she would get down on the floor and fix feet . . ."

I believed in Balanchine. Seeing and then dancing in his ballets made me believe in his aesthetic. Sharing the life of his company and school made me believe in his approach to work and to life in general. In my teaching, in my lectures, in my writing, and in videos on the technique, I have tried to convey not only his aesthetic, but also his beliefs about how to work, how to deal with each other, and how to live . . .

My purpose in writing this book is to record what I learned from him about ballet dancing and teaching ballet, insofar as that is possible on paper . . . By helping others deepen their understanding of Balanchine's art, I hope to contribute in a small way to the preservation of his unique and extraordinary legacy.

Review: George Balanchine, world-renowned choreographer and founder of the New York City Ballet, made a tremendous impact on the history of American dance by ushering in the era of neoclassical ballet defined by spartan costumes, technical wizardry, and a new musicality. No less important was his immense impact on generations of his dancers. Mr. B demanded an incredible commitment from his dancers, both physically and personally. Many became lifelong devotees with a continuing commitment to his ideas even after his death in 1983. Suki Schorer has dedicated her life to Mr. B's method of dancing. A former ballerina with the NYCB and currently a teacher of advanced students at the School of American Ballet, the official school of the NYCB, Schorer lives, breathes, and sleeps Balanchine's teachings. Balanchine dancers are instantly recognizable, as their technique differs rather significantly from that of other schools. With a teaching style that is her own (she is known for her unrelenting enthusiasm), Schorer translates what she learned from Mr. B for her students and readers of this book. In this technical manual aimed at advanced students and their teachers, Schorer peppers the ballet instruction with stories and anecdotes of her experiences with the great choreographer. The 415 pages and 700 black-and-white photographs of five NYCB dancers demonstrating the ballet instruction are a real testament to how much one has to learn before donning a black leotard and pink tights and dancing to Stravinsky. --J.P. Cohen

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Suki Schorer on Balanchine Technique
Publisher: Knopf
Publication Date: 1999
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: New

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Book Description Knopf, 1999. Hardbound. Condition: Very Good. Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good. First Edition. Hard bound with dust jacket. INSCRIBED by the author and noted dancer SUKI SCHORER " For Wendy, I hope you enjoy this hommage to Mr. B. with admiration and appreaction Suki Schorer June, 2000". Some minor shelf wear, otherwise very good. Inscribed by Author(s). Seller Inventory # 20426

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