by Emily Kate Long
Being the daughter of a librarian has its advantages. My mother was head of collection development—in layman’s terms, the book buyer—at Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana, for over twenty years before she retired last May. She is also a closet bunhead. I have her to thank for the bulk of my personal dance library: Jock Soto’s memoir, Stephen Manes’ Where Snowflakes Dance and Swear, Kavanaugh’s Nureyev biography, the anthology Reading Dance, Homans’ Apollo’s Angels, No Fixed Points by Reynolds and McCormick, and several volumes by Gretchen Ward Warren. She showers me with books faster than I can plow through them, and most of these treasures are at least the thickness and weight of a brick. As a result, I have become a literary grazer. This installment of Finding Balance is my “Recommended Reading List: Works for Enrichment and Escape.” Enjoy, and please comment with your personal favorites!
Where Snowflakes Dance and Swear: Inside the Land of Ballet by Stephen Manes was waiting in a package at my doorstep one January evening when I got home from rehearsal. Delight! Manes spent a season as a fly on the wall at Pacific Northwest Ballet. Reading inside details of the dance world from an outsider’s perspective is both amusing and informative. Manes is a thorough storyteller, examining each aspect of the ballet—organizational machine, community institution, and artistic creature. I wish there could be a new book every season.
I was less than halfway done with Manes’ stellar work when Mom brought me Jock Soto’s Every Step You Take. Of course I couldn’t help but peek inside. Anecdotes, reflections, and recipes fill this easy-to-read, yet profound, memoir. Now forty pages in, I’m having a hard time setting this one aside. It’s like sitting and having a conversation with a living legend. [Read more…]