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Tamara Karsavina, one of Diaghilev's greatest dancers, is the subject of a very handsome and scholarly study. Andrew R Foster has collected and identified an astonishing collection of photographs of Karsavina and the world she knew in Russia and with the Ballets Russes; has annotated them with greatest care; has provided a fascinating sequence of historical notes, all of which detail the ballerina's career (with the Imperial Russian Ballet and with Diaghilev) until 1918, when she left Russia. The 200 photographs (many of great rarity and superbly reproduced) and Foster's dedication to his subject, make the art and life of this great artist vividly real. It is a fine and worthy memorial for a dancer whose qualities still shine through the roles she created: in Le Spectre de la rose, The Firebird, Petrushka and many more. The book costs £40, but is well worth the price. --CLEMENT CRISP - Financial Times, 6 November 2010
Tamara Karsavina: Diaghilev's Ballerina, by the English dance historian Andrew R. Foster, shows, with its gorgeous photographs, Karsavina s heart-stopping beauty and also, insofar as still photos can, her gifts as an actress: her truthfulness and intelligence. --JOAN ACOCELLA The New Yorker, 7 March 2011
Tamara Karsavina, one of the greatest ballerinas of the Ballets Russes, is captured in Andrew R Foster's fascinating new book, Tamara Karsavina: Diaghilev's Ballerina. Researched by the author over a 30-year period, the book meticulously compiles a vast and ravishing collection of photographs depicting the ballerina throughout her career. The book demonstrates Karsavina s range as a ballerina she appeared with success in classical ballets such as Le Corsaire, La Fille mal gardee, Giselle, and Swan Lake; in Fokine's Le Carnaval, Le Dieu Bleu, The Firebird, Le Pavillon d Armide, Petrushka, Scheherazade, Le Spectre de la rose, Les Sylphides and Thamar; and in Vaslav Nijinsky's Jeux all of which are beautifully illustrated with photographs reproduced to the highest quality. --JONATHAN GRAY Dancing Times, December 2010
Featuring over 200 stunning photographs from museums and private collections around the world, Tamara Karsavina: Diaghilev's Ballerina traces the life and career of one of the 20th century's greatest dance artists.
This deeply-researched book details her rise through the ranks of St Petersburg's legendary Imperial Ballet where, alongside Pavlova and Nijinsky, she excelled in the classics and emerged as the supreme interpreter of Fokine's new choreography. Her spectacular debut in the West, as a star of Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, put her at the forefront of all his historic seasons and confirmed her place among the greatest dancers in ballet history.
Karsavina's major performances up to 1918, in each year of the Maryinsky and Diaghilev seasons, are clearly outlined and illustrated with exquisite photographs, many never before seen outside Russia. Individual chapters highlight her seminal role in the creation of such masterpieces as The Firebird, Le Spectre de la Rose and Carnaval.
A legendary beauty in her day, and the subject of widespread adulation, Karsavina's formal portraits are simply breathtaking. Numerous candid photographs of her personal life also offer us a fascinating glimpse into the fashions and lifestyles in the great capitals of Europe one hundred years ago.
With its comprehensive scope and meticulous research, Tamara Karsavina: Diaghilev's Ballerina is a long-overdue and indispensable resource for ballet historians and dance lovers everywhere.
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