Jerome Robbins A Life in Dance Wendy Lesser

Series:
Jewish Lives
Format:
Hardback
Publication date:
09 Oct 2018
ISBN:
9780300197594
Imprint:
Yale University Press
Dimensions:
216 pages: 210 x 146 x 19mm
Illustrations:
1 b-w illus.

A lively and inspired biography celebrating the centennial of this master choreographer, dancer, and stage director

Jerome Robbins (1918–1998) was born Jerome Wilson Rabinowitz and grew up in Weehawken, New Jersey, where his Russian-Jewish immigrant parents owned the Comfort Corset Company. Robbins, who was drawn to dance at a young age, resisted the idea of joining the family business. In 1936 he began working with Gluck Sandor, who ran a dance group and convinced him to change his name to Jerome Robbins. He went on to become a choreographer and director who worked in ballet, on Broadway, and in film. His stage productions include West Side Story, Peter Pan, and Fiddler on the Roof. In this deft biography, Wendy Lesser presents Jerome Robbins’s life through his major dances, providing a sympathetic, detailed portrait of her subject.

Wendy Lesser is the founder and editor of The Threepenny Review and the author of a novel and ten previous books of nonfiction, including the widely acclaimed You Say to Brick: The Life of Louis Kahn. She has written for the New York Times Book Review, the New York Review of Books, the London Review of Books, and other publications.

“Can you separate the art from the artist? Through Robbins’s dances, Lesser intelligently and critically examines his work. Her writing inspires an exciting dialogue with the reader—and with Robbins’s art and process—that makes you feel up close and inside his dances.”—Pam Tanowitz
 


“Wendy Lesser’s book is a brief but concentrated look at the excellent and varied work of a complicated artist. Jerome Robbins made some of the best dances in town. Ever in Balanchine’s long shadow, he somehow had the chops and the chutzpah to choreograph for the same media (Broadway, movies, and the ballet) and with a similar expertise. This book answers questions I didn’t know I had. It is a fascinating and generous point of view.”—Mark Morris
 


“Through her own unique lens as a literary critic and writer with a strong appreciation for dance, Wendy Lesser presents a rich, unexpected portrait of Jerome Robbins. Lesser’s delicately crafted book is a boon to the study of Robbins and dance criticism.”—Emily Coates, Yale University