With the death of George Balanchine last April, the stage was cleared for the biographers waiting in the wings. Among the projects that have been announced are a second updating of Bernard Taper’s biography—based on a 1960 New Yorker profile—and a new biography by Richard Buckle (chronicler of the lives of Nijinsky and Diaghilev) in collaboration with Balanchine’s longtime associate and ballet master John Taras. But it is the dancers themselves who are likely to provide the most valuable insights into Balanchine the choreographer. In no other art is the performer so much a part of the creative process as in dance: he is the choreographer’s raw material, the “paint in the pot,” as Toni Bentley wrote in her journal Winter Season.

Rare is the dancer who is able to communicate with words as eloquently as he communicates with gestures, and so...

 

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