David Hallberg, the first American to join the famed Bolshoi Ballet as a principal dancer and the dazzling artist the New York Times described as "the foremost classical stylist of our day," presents an intimate journey through his artistic life up to the moment he returns to the stage after a devastating injury almost cost him his career. Beginning with his real-life Billy Elliot childhood-an all-American story marred by intense bullying-and culminating in his hard-won come-back, Hallberg's brave memoir dives deep into life as an artist as he wrestles with ego, pushes the limits of his body, and searches for ecstatic perfection and fulfillment as one of the world's most acclaimed ballet dancers. While rich in detail ballet fans will adore, this is a book that anyone interested in a life of creativity will love. Hallberg reflects on themes like inspiration, self-doubt, and perfectionism as he takes listeners into daily class, rigorous rehearsals, and triumphant performances, searching for new interpretations of ballet's greatest roles. He reveals the loneliness he felt as a teenager leaving America to join the Paris Opera Ballet, the ambition he had to tame as a new member of American Ballet Theatre, and the reasons behind his headline-grabbing decision to be the first American to join the top rank of Bolshoi Ballet, tendered by the artistic director who would later be the victim of a vicious acid attack. Then, as Hallberg performed throughout the world at the peak of his abilities, he suffered a crippling ankle injury and unsuccessful surgery leading to an agonizing retreat from ballet and an honest reexamination of his entire life. Combining his powers of observation and memory with emotional honesty and artistic insight, Hallberg has written a great ballet memoir and an intimate portrait of an artist in all his vulnerability, passion, and wisdom.
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"David Hallberg, the first American to join the Bolshoi Ballet as a principal dancer, offers a detailed, elegant, touching, sensitive and witty reflection on his entire life, including the bullying he received as a child and a difficult return to performance after a significant, nearly devastating, injury. Vikas Adam's warm narration is perfectly suited to the work. Precision is the operative word as the detailed sequences of exercise, physical training, rehearsal, and performance are exceptionally enlightening. There is so much detail offered that the listener may have to have as profound an interest in the perspiration and pain of the ballet dancer as in the artistry of ballet itself. W.A.G. © AudioFile 2018, Portland, Maine"
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