Fonteyn and Nureyev: The Great Years

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9780002713757: Fonteyn and Nureyev: The Great Years

Keith Money was beginning the first of his noted photographic books on the ballet exactly at the time the great partnership of Fonteyn and Nureyev was formed, and from the start he had a privileged view of the moulding of the two dancers into the team that was to take the world by storm in the 1960s. Money's camera recorded matters on an hour-to-hour, day-to-day basis, from first rehearsals to public performance. To complete certain sequences, the photographer (who had become a close friend of his subjects) often travelled extensively; once he joined the pair on a 7000-mile round trip. He has now assembled a panoramic selection of masterprints to provide a record of one of the outstanding theatrical experiences of our time. Money's introduction and commentary provide a counterpoint to his photographic history. Every mood is displayed, from high comedy to tragedy, and we see the moods backstage as well, recorded by someone deeply versed in the exactitude of ballet.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

A pretty and personal tribute to one of the great partnerships in ballet history. Artist Money (Anna Pavlova, 1982) stumbled into dance photography in the early 1960s after seeing the first televised performance of Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev. For the next several years he accompanied the dancers on tour and, against the constant objections of the two photo-phobes, managed to record them together in rehearsal and onstage. Many of the black-and-white images included here have never been published before, and they afford both a charmingly informal glimpse of the two artists and a record of the emotional power and style that made them sellouts at the box office. Most of the photos are maddeningly uncaptioned, but one picture of Fonteyn doing her tendus in a stone archway in Athens seems innocuous enough until one reads in the accompanying text that a workman had just missed bashing her head in with a beam. In the same series, we see Fonteyn stitching a toe shoe while Nureyev looks on; the young dancer had just announced that he would not dance that night. ``Perhaps we'd better just give the money back?'' Fonteyn replied calmly, stitching away. Unfortunately, we get few such intimate anecdotes and no real understanding of their working relationship. Fonteyn was an aging star, whom the Royal Ballet management was ready to shunt aside, Money tells us. Nureyev was a fiery young dancer, a recent defector from the Soviet Union. He renewed Fonteyn's career, even dared her, according to the author, to surpass herself. The magic of that interaction is missing from Money's text. But it is very present in his photos: Fonteyn's remarkably youthful Aurora exults in the arms of Nureyev, her Prince; as Romeo and Juliet they evince innocent love tragically betrayed. Both Fonteyn and Nureyev outdanced the usual span of a dancer's career; both died too young. Money's photos and sketches remind us of the way they were. -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Money, Keith
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Keith Money
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