Where Snowflakes Dance and Swear: Inside the Land of Ballet
AbeBooks Seller Since May 21, 2012Quantity Available: 20
AbeBooks Seller Since May 21, 2012Quantity Available: 20
About this Item
Title: Where Snowflakes Dance and Swear: Inside the...
Publisher: Cadwallader and Stern
Book Type: Paperback
About this title
The internationally acclaimed new book that takes you behind the scenes to reveal how ballet really happens:
In a scuffed-up studio, a veteran dancer transmits the magic of an eighty-year-old ballet to a performer barely past drinking age. In a converted barn, an indomitable teacher creates ballerinas as she has for more than half a century. In a monastic mirrored room, dancers from as near as New Jersey and as far as Mongolia learn works as old as the nineteenth century and as new as this morning.
Snowflakes zooms in on an intimate view of one full season in the life of one of America's top ballet companies and schools: Seattle's Pacific Northwest Ballet. But it also tracks the Land of Ballet to venues as celebrated as New York and Monte Carlo and as seemingly ordinary as Bellingham, Washington and small-town Pennsylvania. Never before has a book taken readers backstage for such a wide-ranging view of the ballet world from the wildly diverse perspectives of dancers, choreographers, stagers, teachers, conductors, musicians, rehearsal pianists, lighting directors, costumers, stage managers, scenic artists, marketers, fundraisers, students, and even pointe shoe fitters--often in their own remarkably candid words.
The book follows characters as colorful as they are talented. Versatile dancers from around the globe team up with novice choreographers and those as renowned as Susan Stroman, Christopher Wheeldon, and Twyla Tharp to create art on deadline. At the book's center is Peter Boal, a former New York City Ballet star in his third year as PNB's artistic director, as he manages conflicting constituencies with charm, tact, rationality and diplomacy. Readers look over Boal's shoulder as he makes tough decisions about programming, casting, scheduling and budgeting that eventually lead the calm, low-key leader to declare that in his job, "You have to be willing to be hated."
Snowflakes shows how ballet is made, funded, and sold. It escorts you front and center to the kick zone of studio rehearsals. It takes you to the costume shop where elegant tutus and gowns are created from scratch. It brings you backstage to see sets and lighting come alive while stagehands get lovingly snarky and obscene on their headsets. It sits you down in meetings where budgets get slashed and dreams get funded--and axed. It shows you the inner workings of Nutcracker, from kids' charming auditions to no-nonsense marketing meetings, from snow bags in the flies to dancing snowflakes who curse salty flurries that land on their tongues. It follows the tempestuous assembly of a version of Romeo and Juliet that runs afoul of so much pressure, disease, injury, and blood that the dancers begin to call it cursed.
Snowflakes uncovers the astounding way ballets, with no common form of written preservation, are handed down from generation to generation through the prodigious memories of brilliant athletes who also happen to be artists. It visits cattle-call auditions and rigorous classes, tells the stories of dancers whose parents sacrificed for them and dancers whose parents refused to. It meets the resolute woman who created a dance school more than fifty years ago in a Carlisle, Pennsylvania barn and grew it into one of America's most reliable ballerina factories. It shows ballet's appeal to kids from low-income neighborhoods and board members who live in mansions.
Shattering longstanding die-for-your-art clichés, this book uncovers the real drama in the daily lives of fiercely dedicated artists in slippers and pointe shoes-and the musicians, stagehands, costumers, donors and administrators who support them. Where Snowflakes Dance and Swear: Inside the Land of Ballet brings readers the exciting truth of how ballet actually happens.
Praise for Snowflakes from around the globe:
"For those who secretly wish for carte blanche access to shadow and observe all of the inner and outer workings of a major ballet company, then Stephen Manes' new volume is for you... a unique contribution to the dance world ... not to be missed ..."
--Dean Speer, Ballet-Dance Magazine
"Reality TV may have taken an interest in ballet recently, but for a behind-the-scenes look at the life of a company, Stephen Manes' Where Snowflakes Dance and Swear is set to become the gold standard.... it answers in great detail that common question: What really goes into getting a ballet onstage?... A rich, pragmatic resource ..."
--Laura Cappelle, Dance Magazine
"An engrossing read ... unparalleled ... lively prose and an almost indecent amount of information about how the cogs in a ballet company all turn ... I found it hard to tear myself away from the characters after the book had ended."
--Rym Kechacha, Balletco
"The must-have dancer gift (or self-gift!) this year ... everything a non-fiction ballet book should be."
--Juliette Clark, BalletScoop
" Snowflakes reveals all ... There is no other book that covers the same territory ... I do recommend it for anyone with a passion about dance, the way it really is on the other side of the curtain."
--Valerie Lawson, Dancelines
"Another top gift for dancers ... This intimate look inside Pacific Northwest Ballet is everything we hoped 'Breaking Pointe' the show about Ballet West would be - it is the real deal and was such a page turner we stayed up late reading ... An acclaimed writer, Manes perfectly captures the world of dance ..."
--Got Dance LA
" Snowflakes lets us in on aspects of the art form few audience members even know of...A colossal undertaking, unbelievably thorough and thought-provoking..."
--Laura Cappelle, Bella Figura
"Ballet is about as transparent as the federal government, which means that a very small percentage of its backstage business makes it into the public eye. Author Stephen Manes is about to change all of that..."
--Jane Vranish, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"I cannot say enough great things about this book. Its exciting in-depth coverage of 'life on the inside' is exactly what musty-dusty dance library shelves have been craving for years!...This beefy book--with all its juicy gossip and first-hand dancer accounts--boldly goes where no balletomane has gone before!"
-- Vala Dancewear blog
"My new literary obsession ... The newest and most exciting book on ballet ... If you do not yet have your hands on a copy of this innovative look into the behind-the-scenes world of ballet, I highly suggest it."
--Rebecca King (Miami City Ballet dancer), Tendus Under a Palm Tree
"Where Snowflakes Dance and Swear deftly makes the often arcane world of ballet both tangible and colourful ... a sweeping comprehensive picture of a modern ballet company as a body of artists, as a cultural organization, and as a business.... very well written ... It offers a unique view on the gamut of ballet's various elements, and does so in a way that makes its many pages leaf by quickly."
--Peter DeVries, Dance International
"... a unique book ... sets out with one big question: "How does ballet happen?" ... I dove in, and right from the start was taken with the writer's factual yet imaginative style and his way of making us think about aspects of the realm of ballet that we'd possibly never thought about before ... It's the pages and pages about the dancers as individuals and as a collective that make Mr. Manes' book a necessity for balletomanes worldwide."
--Philip Gardner, Oberon's Grove
"Where Snowflakes Dance and Swear is the most accurate depiction of company life in professional ballet that I have ever read. As a former dancer who performed with many of the artists that are identified in the book, I am impressed at how Stephen Manes captured each of their personalities and individual stories. As a union executive who has engaged in various negotiations with the Pacific Northwest Ballet, I am surprised at the level of access and detail that this book provides about the inner workings of the organization. A truly in-depth exploration that should be recommended to anyone who craves insight into the very private world of professional ballet and the dancer subculture."
--James Fayette, former Principal Dancer, New York City Ballet, now New York Area Dance Executive, American Guild of Musical Artists
"This is a must-read book for anyone vaguely interested in or passionately engaged with ballet or dance in general--a delightfully engaging insider story by an outsider wanting to know, 'How does ballet happen?'"
--Rita Kohn, Broadside: A Newsletter of the Theatre Library Association
"... a refreshing look at the nuts and bolts of putting together a season of dance."
--Josephine Reed, Art Works, the official blog of the National Endowment for the Arts
"Fab! ... a very thorough account of how a ballet company operates."
-- The Ballet Bag
"... a fascinating look behind the scenes at one of America's premiere ballet companies."
--David Dunkle, Patriot-News
"Ballet may seem esoteric to a lot of non-balletomanes ... But it may be less so if they delve into Where Snowflakes Dance and Swear.... the book reveals what happens behind the scenes and how ballet really happens."
--Barbara Trainin Blank, Carlisle Sentinel
"Unlike much of the romantic drivel written about the tulle-and-pointe-shoe crowd, Manes' tome offers a fascinating look at the minutiae of how ballet makes it to the stage.... Overall, this book is a nice reality check for aspiring dancers and a fine antidote to the melodramatic nonsense peddled by films like 'The Red Shoes' and 'Black Swan.'"
-- The Tyee
--Kim Alexander, Sirius XM Book Radio
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