August 2015 | Page Turners


Books of note (new and not)

Like a Bomb Going Off: Leonid Yakobson and Ballet as Resistance in Soviet Russia
By Janice Ross
Publisher: Yale University Press
Price: $40
536 pages; hardcover; 2015

Everyone has heard of George Balanchine. Few outside Russia know about his contemporary Leonid Yakobson, a Jewish choreographer who challenged Soviet orthodoxy with culturally explosive modernist and Jewish-influenced ballets for the Bolshoi and Kirov. Drawing on untapped troves of photographs, films, and written material, this biography illuminates a little-known part of the history of artistic resistance in the Soviet Union.

Dancing Through It: My Journey in the Ballet
By Jenifer Ringer
Publisher: Penguin Books
Price: $18
288 pages; paperback; 2015

A principal dancer with New York City Ballet, Ringer ignited a public dialogue with her response to a New York Times critic who commented on her weight. Ringer shares her journey from student to star and candidly discusses her struggle with an eating disorder and the media storm surrounding the Times review. This memoir is an upbeat account of life on the stage, a coming-of-age story, and a tale of inspiring triumph over body issues.

A Dance Like Starlight: One Ballerina’s Dream
Written by Kristy Dempsey; illustrated by Floyd Cooper
Publisher: Philomel Books
Price: $16.99
32 pages; hardcover; 5-8 years; 2014

Little ballerinas have big dreams: pirouettes and grand jetés, attending the best ballet schools, dancing starring roles. But in 1950s Harlem, dreams don’t always come true; they take a lot of work and a lot of hopeand hope can be hard to come by. A lyrical tale of a little girl inspired by Janet Collins, the first African American prima ballerina, to make her own dreams come true.

Irina Baronova and the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo
By Victoria Tennant
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Price: $55
256 pages; hardcover; 2014

This illustrated history depicts the rise of modern ballet through the life story of one of its most glamorous stars, prima ballerina Irina Baronova (1919–2008). The author, Baronova’s daughter, draws on letters, correspondence, oral histories, and interviews, and on archival photographs and family snapshots showing rehearsals, costumes, set designs, and dancers onstage and off.