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Hardcover Dancing on My Grave: An Autobiography Book

ISBN: 0385199643

ISBN13: 9780385199643

Dancing on My Grave: An Autobiography

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Format: Hardcover

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Book Overview

The shattering story of a dream which became a heartbreaking nightmare for one of America's most famous ballerinas, Gelsey Kirkland, who chronicles her brilliant start as a dancer with George Balanchine, her legendary partnership with Mikhail Baryshnikov, her agonizing descent into drugs, and her struggles to rise again. Photographs.

Customer Reviews

4 ratings

A must read for any dancer

Dancing in my Grave, by Gelsey Kirkland is an amazing book. The book is about Gelsey's dancing career, and how she mangled her way through the jungle of ballet. In it are described many of the hardships that come with serious dancing. This book may not apply to people who are not into dance. Dance, when taken seriously, can bore people if they're not interested in it. However, all dancers who are even thinking of getting serious with dance should read this book. This book portrays Gelsey Kirkland as a hero because it elaborates on her issues both mental and physical, but then it tells about her rehabilitation. A hero is someone who does something that benefits someone, not necessarily someone else. Gelsey found and helped a person in need of help, that person just so happened to be her. On page 102, `'I began to starve myself, limiting my diet to candy bars and coffee. This was the first sign of an anorexic syndrome that later would become an obsessive rule in my life.'' Gelsey, although it took her years to realize, convinced herself that she had a problem and she fixed it. To convince oneself that he/she has a problem is a very difficult thing to do. Denying it is the easy way out, or even admitting to it but not changing it is fairly easy but dedicating time to fixing a problem like that, that is what makes a hero. Gelsey shares not only her problem of anorexia but her usage of drugs, her physical adjustments made for beauty reasons and her personal life issues. Gelsey had an older sister Johnna who was given the gift of physical beauty. Throughout the book it tells how Gelsey tried to change her physical appearance as much as possible to be beautiful like her sister. Gelsey undertook many face operations and adjustments to other areas to her body to make her look more like a prima ballerina. Gelsey grew up with a hard family life, possibly partially the cause of her problems later on in life. She shares her dependence on drugs and her fathers drinking problems as well. Another virtue of this book is its great description of George Balanchine. Through most dancers eyes during Gelsey's time Balanchine was a god. This shows how Gelsey got close to him and started seeing things others could not see. The book tells about her partner Mikhail Baryshinkov and her partnering days with Misha and other wonderful dancers. Great views of the differences in Russian ballet and American ballet are exhibited in this book. Dancing On My Grave is a very informational book on dancing, but at the same time it tells the story of a great adventurer and a hero who saved herself from the lies of prima ballerina beauty. This autobiography takes the reader behind the scenes of the `'making'' (training) of a perfect ballerina, and tells all of the gruesome details of love, beauty, drugs, eating disorders, and both physical and mental pain. Gelsey Kirkland worked through all of those hardships and made her mark on the ballet world. The key factor in that is that she real

This touched my heart

No other autobiography I have read has ever been this powerful. I was pulled into Gelsey's heart and felt her pain. She is probably the most beautiful and amazing dancer that ever was in America. Yet she did not feel beautiful. I could relate to all of Gelsey's struggles and emotional hardships. I recommend this book to all those who enjoy autobiographies, all who enjoy ballet, and especially to those who wish to become dancers. It gives a truly realistic view into the dance world. Will become a favourite. Other books to read; Holding Onto the Air by Suzanne Farrell, The Shape of Love (which is the continuing book to Dancing on My Grave) by Gelsey Kirkland and Greg Lawrence.

Captivating, Riviting, Truthfull, ect.!

Wow! This book was simply Amazing! The way Gelsey just opens up her heart and tells her story is beautiful! I loved how she told the truth about her partnership with Misha and showed that he wasn't the perfect man, which many have thought. Also, she brought out the true colors of Balanchine. I'm a younger dancer and had looked up to these men as gods in the ballet world, but my mind has some what changed. I could defintly re-late to her obsessiveness about the "perfect body" and becoming attached to the mirrors. I have read this book over and over and each time I learn something new. The only thing I wish is that I could have seen her perform! She is defintly my favorite dancer of all time and always will be! This is a MUST read for any dancer! Non-dancers will enjoy it too and it will give you a look in to a dancers world. The only thing is, you might have trouble with some of the ballet terms :)

Was there

While many people view Gelsey as self absorbed and self serving, I see her as a product of a world which cast her in this role. Her demanding and alcoholic father ( a famous writer himself) always put her sister first and made Gelsey feel like the ugly duckling. It was this inner turmoil which led her to acheive what she did because her competitive spirit, and need to prove herself to her father, drove her to not only accomplish what she did but to reach the depths that she to which she plummeted. I travelled with her during the ABT tour of 1983-84 and found her to be a driven and tortured soul who, despite her air of assurance on stage, was merely a lost child without guidance. When she met Greg Lawrence her life began to take shape as both they helped to lift each other from the morass of drugs and negativity in which they were mired. The book captures, in an unglamorized version, what happened to her during this time. It is a book of redemption and ultimate triumph.
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