If for one reason or another you can't see Baryshnikov in The Turning Point, you can see him--and a host of other danseurs...

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BALLET!

If for one reason or another you can't see Baryshnikov in The Turning Point, you can see him--and a host of other danseurs à clef--in this utterly unimaginative but pleasantly uncynical and comfortably clichiÉd tour jetè through ballet-land. Here Misha's called Dima (Dimitri) Lubov, and he dances for the New York Civic (City) Ballet, where Alexander de Lis (Balanchine) makes brilliant dances but ""makes dancers into something he owns,"" especially young girls. Like sweet Jenny (""I want to be a dancer because dancers make people happy""), the brilliant new Giselle who moves in with Misha but splits with him when the International Ballet (American Ballet Theater) entices him away with promises of a new ballet by Antony Tudor. Add a fading, scene-stealing Russian ballerina, a Misha-hunting Upper East Side vamp, a ruthless grande dame à la Lucia Chase, and all bases are conscientiously touchÉd. Murphy's sole piece of substantial invention--truly extraneous--is an anti-Communist madman's murders of famous defectors (in order to mess up dÉtente), with Misha, of course, the current target. Unlike Aria, the season's big opera fan book, Ballet! doesn't come alive with prickly insider detail, sardonic wit, or much of anything else; but, also unlike Aria, it's completely accessible to non-devotees, with plot summaries of the dances sneaked in and everything carefully explained. Some of the many new ballet fans may not mind that this earnest dance-go-round creaks on its axis when it really should pirouette.

Pub Date: March 15, 1978

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: New American Library

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1978