Jump to content
Ballet Talk for Dancers

Books: Balanchine "Stories of Great Ballets"


Recommended Posts

Hi!

In getting my birthday/Christmas wish list together, I have noticed that there are several versions of the book (approximate title) written/edited by Balanchine "Complete Stories of the Ballet". I've seen two editions of the out-of-print book and also the "101 Stories of the Ballet". The out of print book is available via second hand dealers, and I was wondering which version/edition people think is the best, and suggest I should get/wish for

 

Thanks!

Kate

Link to comment
Guest Richard Jones

I have just picked up (in a second-hand bookshop) Balanchine's Festival of Ballet; two volumes containing scene-by-scene stories of 404 classical and contemporary ballets. It has various copyright dates, so I guess it must have grown: the latest is 1977. It is by Balanchine and Francis Mason, and also contains a selection of GB's essays, including "How to enjoy ballet" (nearly 9 pages). I don't know where it fits into the world of ballet books, but it's a good read. I'm soon to see a programme including Apollo and Who Cares?, and didn't realise there are connections between the two till I read GB's comments. The book has 7 pages on Who Cares?!

Link to comment

The one that I liked the best was "Balanchines New Complete Stories of the Great Ballets."

Link to comment
Guest Jack Reed

I'd think the best edition of this kind of book would be the one with the greatest number of ballets described in it. I think that's the 1977 edition, called "Balanchine's Complete Stories of the Great Ballets." According to its Preface, the first edition (1954) had 131 and the second (1968), called "Balanchine's New Complete Stories of the Great Ballets," 241; "Now," it says, "minus some 40 from the latter, there are 404." So you might want the second edition, too, to have those 40.

 

("101 Stories of the Great Ballets," mentioned facing the title page of the third edition, is obviously out of the running from this standpoint.)

 

Evidently the third edition was published in 1977 in Britain under a different title; and in 1983, the year of Balanchine's death, a two-volume version was published in Britain (by Comet Press), but I don't know the number of ballets included. I always assumed it was the 1977 edition, but who knows?

Link to comment
Guest Richard Jones

"I'd think the best edition of this kind of book would be the one with the greatest number of ballets described in it. I think that's the 1977 edition, called "Balanchine's Complete Stories of the Great Ballets."

 

Evidently the third edition was published in 1977 in Britain under a different title........ I always assumed it was the 1977 edition, but who knows?"

 

Yes, looking through the preface of my copy of the book I've already mentioned on this thread, I see it is the same work.

 

For reference, my copy of "Balanchine's Festival of Ballet" (as it is called here) gives the latest copyright in the USA as 1977 (pub. Doubleday), then first pub. in GB in 1978 by W H Allen, finally pub. in paperback in 1984 by Comet (paperback division of W H Allen). Great book!

Link to comment
  • 2 years later...

I wonder what you think of the above? I have read mixed reviews about that book, so I am somehow confused.

 

Would you recommend it to me as a good reference for ballet's plots? Or else, is there other book which you would consider better in that respect?

 

Thanks so much

Silvy

Link to comment

Not necessarily in place of the Balanchine/Mason book, but perhaps along with it, I recommend The Simon & Schuster Book of the Ballet, which not only gives details of ballets from the fifteenth century, but also has photographs and illustrations.

Link to comment

All of the Balanchine/Mason books (Complete Stories of the Great Ballets, New... and 101...) are valuable for historical purposes for ballets performed in the twentieth century. Earlier ballets going back into the pre-Romantic and Anacreontic ages aren't much covered in them. Neither are Grand Ballets that had to do with nationalism, like Marco Spada. For historical accounts Cyril W. Beaumont's The Complete Book of Ballets and its 1951 supplement are quite valuable.

Link to comment
  • 5 months later...

If you could just pick 1 of the Balanchine ballet stories books, which of the 3 books would you pick? Or is it essential to have all three?

 

--Andre

Link to comment

It's hard to answer this question. Remember, we're talking about reference books here, not a read-straight-ahead narrative. It's probably best to acquire them all over a period of time, and I'd start with 101 Stories..., then go to the original Complete... then go for the New Complete....

Link to comment

Then start them with 101 (and Robert Greskovic's Ballet 101 while we're at it!). These are the ballets they are most likely to see, and they can acquire the others (or not) as their interest waxes (or not) in ballets not done lately.

Link to comment

I don't know about "101 Stories of the Great Ballets," but the big hardcover "Balanchine's Complete Stories of the Great Ballets," has a number of features in the appendix which might be of interest:

 

Part Two: How to Enjoy Ballet

Part Three: A Brief History of the Ballet

Part Four: Chronology of Significant Events in the History of Ballet

Part Five: How I Became a Dancer and Choreographer

Part Six: Ballet for Your Children

Part Seven: Careers in Ballet

Part Eight: Notes and Comments on Dancers, Dancing and Choreography

Part Nine: Glossary

 

I think the above edition, published by Doubleday in 1977, is the same as "Balanchine's New Complete Stories of the Great Ballets," published in 1968.

Link to comment

There are editorial differences in each, and I believe that you won't find things in New Complete... like "The Haunted Ballroom" in which the young Margot Fonteyn made her first splash in a "trouser role".

Link to comment

Thanks once again. Perusing "Complete ..." at the library, I really liked the extra chapters, especially the Balanchine interview on his choreography. "101 ..." is smaller however, and the gift recipient will be moving far, far away with enough things to pack already. Decisions, decisions ...

 

--Andre

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...