Browsable inspiration for dancers of any age or physical ability.



Ballet master Jhung (The Finis Jhung Ballet Technique, 2014) leaps into the spotlight with a memoir about his life and enduring career.

The Honolulu-born author says he knew that he was going to be a dancer in 1946, when he was only 9 years old. His father was Korean-American, and his mother had Scottish, English, and Korean roots; after World War II, they divorced, and Jhung’s mother struggled financially to raise him and his two brothers. Even so, the author was later able to attend the University of Utah, where he learned ballet from William F. Christensen, a founder of the San Francisco Ballet. A college friend connected Jhung with composer Richard Rodgers and lyricist/librettist Oscar Hammerstein II, and in 1960, he danced in their Broadway musical Flower Drum Song. His career took him to the San Francisco Ballet and both the Robert Joffrey Ballet and the Harkness Ballet in New York City. However, he gave it all up in 1969 to devote his life to Buddhism. By 1972, though, he’d returned to his passion and become a dance teacher. Jhung now teaches all ages and skill levels. This is an expansive memoir with many striking black-and-white photos. Jhung’s prose feels familial, as if one is sitting with him as he points to photos and remembers stories. For example, next to an image of himself dancing as a child, he writes, “If you look through the doorway behind me, you can see a wrapped gift on the bed. Could we be celebrating my mom’s wedding?” It’s a down-to-earth voice—at one point, he describes ballet as “a ‘bitchy’ art”—and some of his stories have compellingly eccentric characters, such as a Danish dancer named Lone Isaksen. Other memories, such as the death of his first child, are sharply poignant. The final chapters include a daily log of Jhung’s recovery from hip surgery and gushing student recommendations that read like ads for his classes. However, other student anecdotes are more memorable; one 67-year-old woman, told by her physical therapist that she needed to use a walker, took dance lessons instead.

Browsable inspiration for dancers of any age or physical ability.

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-9913898-0-3

Page Count: 500

Publisher: Ballet Dynamics, Inc.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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