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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Books: The Four Temperaments

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After watching the advanced class perform this ballet I went to the library to see if I could find anything on it. Instead I found a book. The Four Temperaments. Has anyone read it?

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I'm sure others know more but i believe this "Four Temperaments" is a novel of some sort.

If you are looking for something to read about the ballet, there are essays by Arlene Croce collected in her various compliations of reviews.

Balanchine's own COMPLETE STORIES OF THE GREAT BALLETS, nancy reynolds IN PERFORMANCE, to name but two volumes that include individual entries on specific ballets, have sections devoted to THE FOUR TEMPERAMENTS.

THE BALLET GOER'S GUIDE (by clarke and crisp) has a one-page entry on the ballet.

lincoln kirstein's FOUR CENTURIES OF BALLET also dwells on the work, tho' his format and prose can take some getting used to.

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I may be mistaken in the number of Temperaments but I believe it is both a book and a Balanchine Ballet. I know it's a book because I have it, and I know there is a Temperaments Ballet by Balanchine but just not sure that it's 4. I remember seeing Ailey do it a while back. The book is kind of adult reading, not sure how old Tynee is.


*edited to add, yes it is both. If you search 4 Temperaments ballet you'll find it.

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"The Four Temperaments" is a ballet by George Balanchine, music by Paul Hindemith.


The four humors, or temperaments addressed are:










from Ancient and Medieval Histories of Medicine.

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  • 2 years later...

[Mods: It it okay for me to post in these threads that have been inactive for a long time? This is my first time checking out the Book forum, and I'm really excited to see posts on books I have read!]


After reading the book twice, I have had two entirely different reactions: When it was first published (I was about sixteen years old), even though I felt the ending was a little too unrealistic and overly-dramatic, but I really enjoyed the general concept for the plot as well as Zeldis' prosaic language. Six years later I found the book at my mother's house, decided to read it again, and twenty minutes later felt a strong desire to burn it. The second time around, my reaction was: It's basically a Danielle Steele novel with better music. :)

The plot seemed far-fatched, and lot of the chapters seemed to drag on and on and on (e.g. re-hashing the same points over and over, ad nauseum), and her heavy-handed prose felt overly saccharine and-- I'll go ahead and say it-- bordering on pretentious.


Long post short-- It's a not a bad read if you're a melodramatic teenage girl. :) Adults may not enjoy so much.

(or I'm just very, very cynical. :devil: )

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