LEAP YEAR: A Year in the Life of a Dancer by Christopher d'Amboise

LEAP YEAR: A Year in the Life of a Dancer

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The parade of memoirs from the New York City Ballet continues--and if Toni Bentley's Winter Season (p. 769) is outclassed by Joan Brady's The Unmaking of a Dancer (p. 312), this sorry entry from the very young Christopher d'Amboise (son of the great Jacques) makes Bentley's wispy little volume seem like a cross between Lincoln Kirstein and Elizabeth Hardwick. Chosen for the NYCB company corps before he had even finished high school, 18-year-old Christopher was soon learning ballets, going on tour, occasionally dancing a solo (a last-moment substitution for his injured father). And a few of these pages do capture some backstage, onstage moments--mishaps, excitements, terrifying rehearsals with Balanchine or Robbins. Unfortunately, however, the bulk of this small book is devoted to Christopher's philosophical churnings--most of which could come from the diaries or letters of just about any earnest, intelligent, self-dramatizing college freshman. ""The human consciousness functions freest of apprehension when the elements of the world that affect it are safely fried away, so that one knows just what everything is and where it can be found,"" Christopher muses. He also talks about his sex life, and that of others: ""Oh, men can be the basest of caitiffs! They are so reduced by their weaknesses, and put such importance on status and machismo!"" He questions his colleagues' motives, his friendships, his family relationships, his priorities: ""But what I done? I am searching for the correct way to aim my life--the RIGHT way--yet have just claimed the absurdity and impossibility of a right and wrong!"" And he worries about ballet as a career . . . till a leading-role performance in Fancy Free: ""the one evening of rapture made everything worthwhile."" Thin, puerile stuff, then--with only a few descriptive morsels (and 35 photos) for ballet buffs.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1982
Publisher: Doubleday