Balanchine’s Apprentice: From Hollywood to New York and Back Hardcover – September 28, 2021 by John Clifford


[324 pages]

PUB:  September 28, 2021

$30.00 $20.64

Out of stock



Author: Clifford John

Edition: 1

Package Dimensions: 28x236x626

Number Of Pages: 324

Release Date: 14-09-2021

Details: Product Description

A talented young dancer and his brilliant teacher
In this long-awaited memoir, dancer and choreographer John Clifford offers a highly personal look inside the day-to-day operations of the New York City Ballet and its creative mastermind, George Balanchine. Balanchine’s Apprentice is the story of Clifford―an exceptionally talented artist―and the guiding inspiration for his life’s work in dance.
Growing up in Hollywood with parents in show business, Clifford acted in television productions such as The Danny Kaye Show, The Dinah Shore Show, and Death Valley Days. He recalls the beginning of his obsession with ballet: At age 11 he was cast as the Prince in a touring production of The Nutcracker. The director was none other than the legendary Balanchine, who would eventually invite Clifford to New York City and shape his career as both a mentor and artistic example.
During his dazzling tenure with the New York City Ballet, Clifford danced the lead in 47 works, several created for him by Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, and others. He partnered famous ballerinas including Gelsey Kirkland and Allegra Kent. He choreographed eight ballets for the company, his first at age 20. He performed in Russia, Germany, France, and Canada. Afterward, he returned to the West Coast to found the Los Angeles Ballet, where he continued to innovate based on the Balanchine technique.
In this book, Clifford provides firsthand insight into Balanchine’s relationships with his dancers, including Suzanne Farrell. Examining his own attachment to his charismatic teacher, Clifford explores questions of creative influence and integrity. His memoir is a portrait of a young dancer who learned and worked at lightning speed, who pursued the calls of art and genius on both coasts of America and around the world.


“Clifford, founder of the Los Angeles Ballet, debuts with an enthralling look at his decades-long career and his time as the protégé of legendary ballet choreographer George Balanchine. Born in 1947 and raised in Hollywood by vaudevillian parents, Clifford got a taste of the theater at an early age. At age nine, he began ballet lessons, and just two years later, he was selected to perform a leading role in a touring production of The Nutcracker, choreographed by Balanchine, with whom he’d developed an instant rapport. Once Clifford moved to New York to study at Balanchine’s School of American Ballet, at age 19, their relationship deepened into an ‘intense devotion’: ‘Balanchine was not just my teacher and choreographer, not just my mentor. He was much more to me.’ Thus began Clifford’s seven-plus years as a member of the New York City Ballet company, where―shaped by Balanchine’s ‘gentle critique’―he flourished as both a dancer and, eventually, a respected choreographer. In 1974, Clifford moved back to L.A. to open that city’s first ballet company, which he ran until it closed in 1984. Even those not enraptured by ballet will find Clifford’s extraordinary career and bond with Balanchine, who died in 1983, affecting. For ballet devotees, this intimate account is required reading.”―
Publishers Weekly

“Clifford, a choreographer who founded the Los Angeles Ballet, learned the intricacies of dance from one of the acknowledged masters of the field, George Balanchine (1904-83), longtime artistic director of the New York City Ballet. In this memoir, Clifford traces a peripatetic childhood with vaudevillian parents, through dance classes and television acting to his teenage years honing his craft by performing and experimenting with choreography in a variety of schools. He relates intriguing vignettes about learning from the greats of mid-20th-century dance and discusses working in Germany, France, and the former Soviet Union and gaining renown for his own balletic creations, apart from his work with ‘Mr. B.’ The gossip is minimal in Clifford’s memoir, which lends his tale credibility, and although he sometimes uses French ballet terminolog

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