{"id":1338718421071,"title":"The Great Nijinsky: God of Dance","handle":"the-great-nijinsky","description":"\u003c!-- - - - - - - - ENTER AUTHOR\/ILLUSTRATOR INFO BELOW - - - - - - - --\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eBy: Lynn Curlee\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003c!-- - - - - - - - ENTER HEADING BELOW - - - - - - - --\u003e\n\u003ch3\u003eA sensation, an artist, a mad genius.\u003c\/h3\u003e\n\u003c!-- - - - - - - - ENTER DESCRIPTION BELOW - - - - - - - --\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eWith one grand leap off the stage at the 1909 premiere of the Ballets Russes's inaugural season, Vaslav Nijinsky became a sensation and the century's first superstar. Perhaps the greatest dancer of the twentieth century, Nijinsky captured audiences with his sheer animal magnetism and incredible skill. \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eNijinsky was a dance prodigy, sex symbol, gay pioneer, and cultural icon. His star climbed high before mental illness stole his career and the last thirty years of his life. This compelling biography chronicles a life of obsessive artistry, celebrity, and notoriety.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eIncluded are spotlights on the ballets the dancer popularized: classic masterworks such as \u003cem\u003eAfternoon of a Faun, The Firebird,\u003c\/em\u003e and of course, the shockingly original \u003cem\u003eRite of Spring,\u003c\/em\u003e which caused the audience to riot at its premiere. Illustrated with elegant, intimate portraits as well as archival art and photographs. \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003c!-- - - - - - - - - - - - ENTER RECOMMENDATIONS BELOW - - - - - - - -- - - --\u003e\n\u003cdiv class=\"recommended-books\"\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eIf you like this book, you’ll enjoy these:\u003cbr\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.charlesbridge.com\/collections\/middle-grade\/products\/the-mysteries-of-beethovens-hair\"\u003eThe Mysteries of Beethoven's Hair\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cbr\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.charlesbridge.com\/collections\/middle-grade\/products\/music-was-it\"\u003eMusic Was It: Young Leonard Bernstein\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003c\/div\u003e\n\u003c!-- - - - - - - - - - - - START OF TABS - - - - - - - -- - - --\u003e [TABS]\n\u003ch5\u003eLook Inside\u003c\/h5\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cimg class=\"cvr-border-gray\" style=\"display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;\" src=\"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0750\/0101\/files\/nijinsky-spread.jpg?18031038447102956763\"\u003e\u003c!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --\u003e\u003cscript type=\"text\/javascript\" async=\"\" defer data-pin-shape=\"round\" data-pin-height=\"32\" data-pin-hover=\"true\" src=\"\/\/assets.pinterest.com\/js\/pinit.js\"\u003e\u003c\/script\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003c!-- - - - - - - - - - - - ENTER AUTHOR BIO BELOW - - - - - - - - - --\u003e\n\u003ch5\u003eAuthor \u0026amp; Illustrator\u003c\/h5\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eLynn Curlee, author and illustrator\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eLynn Curlee has a master's degree in art history and has both written and illustrated more than a dozen books for children, including \u003cem\u003eTrains, Skyscraper, Ballpark: The Story of America's Baseball Fields\u003c\/em\u003e, and \u003cem\u003eCapital\u003c\/em\u003e with Atheneum. His work has been exhibited in Los Angeles, New York City, and Long Island.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003c!-- - - - - - - - - ENTER AWARDS \u0026 HONORS BELOW - - - - - - - - --\u003e\n\u003ch5\u003eAwards \u0026amp; Honors\u003c\/h5\u003e\n\u003cul\u003e\n\u003cli\u003eComing soon!\u003c\/li\u003e\n\u003c\/ul\u003e\n\u003c!-- - - - - - - - - - ENTER REVIEWS BELOW - - - - - - - - - --\u003e\n\u003ch5\u003eEditorial Reviews\u003c\/h5\u003e\n\u003cblockquote\u003e\n\u003cblockquote\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003ci\u003e\u003cimg src=\"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0750\/0101\/files\/star-fade.gif?18127980511287865543\"\u003e \u003cstrong\u003eKirkus Reviews\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/i\u003e, starred review\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThe story of Vaslav Nijinsky's life—onstage and off, in all its glamour and tragedy—unfolds. Originally drawn to Nijinsky by photos of the ballet dancer in costume, Curlee (\u003cem\u003eTrains\u003c\/em\u003e, \u003cem\u003e2009\u003c\/em\u003e, etc.) engaged in extensive research and details major events in Nijinsky's life, beginning with his birth to traveling Polish performers and continuing through to his eventual confinement in various asylums and death in 1950. While much of the content focuses on Nijinsky's art, both his dancing and choreography, time is also spent on his personal life. The text includes short biographical sketches of important artists, such as Diaghilev and Stravinsky, with whom Nijinsky crossed paths as well as explorations of Nijinsky's romantic relationships and mental health. These discussions are frank, and though they never devolve into titillation, they do occasionally include questionable descriptions (\"He was…what some would term stark raving mad\") and label Nijinsky's sexual orientation using modern terms. Interspersed between chapters are stylized programs detailing various ballets that Nijinsky performed or choreographed, including descriptions of the ballet's history and plot and paintings by the author. Quotations from contemporaries and occasionally the dancer himself breathe further life into the narrative. The photographs and illustrations add interest and points of engagement in what is an otherwise tragic tale of a brooding artist. A glossy introduction to the highs and lows of Nijinsky's life and work.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003c\/blockquote\u003e\n\u003cblockquote\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003ci\u003e\u003cb\u003eSchool Library Journal\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/i\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eBorn to Polish parents who worked as traveling performers, Vaslav Nijinsky was raised to be onstage. After training at the Imperial Ballet School in Russia, Nijinsky began performing and his undeniable skills amazed audiences. He also began choreographing, bringing new and sensational pieces such as The Rite of Spring to the stage. In this biography, Nijinsky’s accomplishments on the stage are detailed, accompanied by paintings by the author and archival photographs. “Programs” for Nijinsky’s performances, including facts and summaries of the ballets, separate the chapters. The biography focuses on more than just Nijinksy’s art, delving into his personal life, including his relationships, sexuality, and his mental health. Curlee provides context for Nijinsky’s life and introduces readers to the art scene of the time, including brief biographical sketches of other figures such as Fokine and Stravinsky. Appropriate for preliminary research, and simply for those interested in learning more about Nijinsky, the included back matter provides readers looking to delve deeper with avenues to continue exploring. VERDICT While contemporary conceptions of sexual identity and mental illness cannot easily be superimposed over historical biographies, readers nevertheless are presented with a full picture of Nijinsky’s life.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003c\/blockquote\u003e\n\u003cblockquote\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003ci\u003e\u003cb\u003ePublishers Weekly\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/i\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eRiveting, richly saturated acrylic-on-canvas paintings highlight the latest from Curlee (Mythological Creatures: A Classical Bestiary), about the celebrated early-20th-century dancer Vaslav Nijinsky and his times. More than just a biography, this homage to the “god of dance” often strays from Nijinsky’s life story to introduce other great artists of the era—composer Igor Stravinsky, dancer\/choreographer Mikhaile Fokine, designer Léon Bakst, and, especially, impresario Sergei Diaghilev—whose combined talents made the Ballets Russes company, where Nijinsky made his name, a sensation. Curlee follows the dancer’s life from his birth in Kiev to itinerant Polish entertainer parents, through his early years at the Russian Imperial Ballet School, to his discovery by Diaghilev and spectacular 1909 Parisian debut, tracing his remarkable, brief career as well as his descent into mental illness. In frank accounts, Curlee discusses Nijinsky’s bisexuality, including his open affair with Diaghilev, seen as scandalous at the time, and his impetuous marriage to a Hungarian socialite. The book’s spacious pages—heavily illustrated with original paintings, vintage photos, and simulated programs—elevate the moving story, making for a memorable volume that captures the dancer’s singular talent, fame, and notoriety.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003c\/blockquote\u003e\n\u003cblockquote\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003ci\u003e\u003cb\u003eThe Horn Book\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/i\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eVaslav Nijinsky (1890–1950) was the brightest star of the Ballets Russes, a virtuoso dancer and choreographer the likes of whom no one had ever before seen. This heartfelt biography traces Nijinsky’s trajectory from a lonesome childhood through his 1909 Paris debut, ensuing mega-stardom, and notoriety as a boundary-breaking choreographer to his diagnosis of schizophrenia and, at age thirty, his institutionalization. In his five short years with the Ballet Russes, “Vatsa” originated several of ballet’s most iconic roles and created the landmark modernist works The Afternoon of a Faun and The Rite of Spring (the latter considered so scandalous its premiere incited a riot). Curlee sensitively explores Nijinsky’s contradictions as a magnetic, expressive dancer with little social grace; a provocative performer and sex symbol tormented by his own sexual desires and behaviors; a bisexual man who has retroactively become a celebrated “gay icon” but who passively “followed in [the] wake” of his out-and-proud partner, impresario Sergei Diaghilev; and a visionary artist intent on documenting his descent into mental illness. Beautifully designed, the book is punctuated with theater program–like spreads with brief descriptions of ballets accompanied by Curlee’s striking jewel-toned portraits and archival photographs.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003c\/blockquote\u003e\n\u003cblockquote\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003ci\u003e\u003cb\u003eBooklist\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/i\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eAttendees of the May 18, 1909, performance of Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes were in for a surprise. Accustomed to a more staid, conservative ballet, they were shocked to their feet by the electrifying leaps and jumps of Vaslav Nijinsky, making his solo debut. Flamboyant, creative, and single-mindedly dedicated to dance, Nijinsky established himself as one of the greatest dancers in history, paving the way for dancers such as Rudolf Nureyev and Mikhail Baryshnikov. Curlee’s biography incorporates his own lush paintings into a luxurious volume with creamy thick paper and crisp, clear type. Interspersed through the text are program-style pages, which describe the ballets performed and include quotes and commentary on the performances. Photographs of Nijinsky and the people in his life punctuate and amplify the text. Curlee’s narrative is lucid and smooth, and source notes, a bibliography, and an index round out the book. This elegant volume has a place in any collection.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003c\/blockquote\u003e\n\u003c!-- - - - - - - - - - - ENTER DOWNLOADABLES BELOW - - - - - - - - - - --\u003e\n\u003ch5\u003eDownloadables\u003c\/h5\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: left;\"\u003e\u003cimg alt=\"\" src=\"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0750\/0101\/files\/nijinsky-cvr.jpg?3135636908491869369\" style=\"display: block; float: none; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;\"\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cdiv class=\"btn-wrapper\"\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0750\/0101\/files\/nijinsky-hires.zip?3135636908491869369\" class=\"product-btn\"\u003eDownload the Cover\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/div\u003e\n\u003c!-- - - - - - - - - - - - ENTER DETAILS BELOW - - - - - - - - - - - --\u003e\n\u003ch5\u003eDetails\u003c\/h5\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eHardcover\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003cbr\u003eISBN: 978-1-58089-800-3\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eE-book\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003cbr\u003e For information about purchasing E-books, \u003ca title=\"E-book\" href=\"http:\/\/charlesbridge.myshopify.com\/pages\/e-books\"\u003eclick here\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eAges: 10+\u003cbr\u003ePage count: 128\u003cbr\u003e7\u003csup\u003e1\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003cspan\u003e\/\u003c\/span\u003e\u003csub\u003e2\u003c\/sub\u003e x 10 \u003c\/p\u003e\n[\/TABS]\u003c\/blockquote\u003e","published_at":"2018-07-02T12:37:23-04:00","created_at":"2018-07-02T12:17:58-04:00","vendor":"Charlesbridge","type":"Children's Book","tags":["Browse by Age_Young Adult","Browse by Fiction\/Nonfiction_Nonfiction","Browse by Language_English","Browse by Subject_Art\/Music\/Theater","Browse by Subject_History \u0026 Biography","Browse by Subject_Social Studies\/Cultures","teen"],"price":1999,"price_min":1999,"price_max":1999,"available":true,"price_varies":false,"compare_at_price":null,"compare_at_price_min":0,"compare_at_price_max":0,"compare_at_price_varies":false,"variants":[{"id":12388212375631,"title":"Hardcover","option1":"Hardcover","option2":null,"option3":null,"sku":"98003","requires_shipping":true,"taxable":false,"featured_image":{"id":3661343490127,"product_id":1338718421071,"position":1,"created_at":"2018-07-02T12:29:42-04:00","updated_at":"2018-07-02T12:29:42-04:00","alt":null,"width":1125,"height":1500,"src":"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0750\/0101\/products\/nijinsky-cvr.jpg?v=1530548982","variant_ids":[12388212375631]},"available":true,"name":"The Great Nijinsky: God of Dance - Hardcover","public_title":"Hardcover","options":["Hardcover"],"price":1999,"weight":0,"compare_at_price":null,"inventory_quantity":10,"inventory_management":"shopify","inventory_policy":"continue","barcode":"9781580898003"}],"images":["\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0750\/0101\/products\/nijinsky-cvr.jpg?v=1530548982"],"featured_image":"\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0750\/0101\/products\/nijinsky-cvr.jpg?v=1530548982","options":["Title"],"content":"\u003c!-- - - - - - - - ENTER AUTHOR\/ILLUSTRATOR INFO BELOW - - - - - - - --\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eBy: Lynn Curlee\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003c!-- - - - - - - - ENTER HEADING BELOW - - - - - - - --\u003e\n\u003ch3\u003eA sensation, an artist, a mad genius.\u003c\/h3\u003e\n\u003c!-- - - - - - - - ENTER DESCRIPTION BELOW - - - - - - - --\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eWith one grand leap off the stage at the 1909 premiere of the Ballets Russes's inaugural season, Vaslav Nijinsky became a sensation and the century's first superstar. Perhaps the greatest dancer of the twentieth century, Nijinsky captured audiences with his sheer animal magnetism and incredible skill. \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eNijinsky was a dance prodigy, sex symbol, gay pioneer, and cultural icon. His star climbed high before mental illness stole his career and the last thirty years of his life. This compelling biography chronicles a life of obsessive artistry, celebrity, and notoriety.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eIncluded are spotlights on the ballets the dancer popularized: classic masterworks such as \u003cem\u003eAfternoon of a Faun, The Firebird,\u003c\/em\u003e and of course, the shockingly original \u003cem\u003eRite of Spring,\u003c\/em\u003e which caused the audience to riot at its premiere. Illustrated with elegant, intimate portraits as well as archival art and photographs. \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003c!-- - - - - - - - - - - - ENTER RECOMMENDATIONS BELOW - - - - - - - -- - - --\u003e\n\u003cdiv class=\"recommended-books\"\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eIf you like this book, you’ll enjoy these:\u003cbr\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.charlesbridge.com\/collections\/middle-grade\/products\/the-mysteries-of-beethovens-hair\"\u003eThe Mysteries of Beethoven's Hair\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cbr\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.charlesbridge.com\/collections\/middle-grade\/products\/music-was-it\"\u003eMusic Was It: Young Leonard Bernstein\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003c\/div\u003e\n\u003c!-- - - - - - - - - - - - START OF TABS - - - - - - - -- - - --\u003e [TABS]\n\u003ch5\u003eLook Inside\u003c\/h5\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cimg class=\"cvr-border-gray\" style=\"display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;\" src=\"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0750\/0101\/files\/nijinsky-spread.jpg?18031038447102956763\"\u003e\u003c!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --\u003e\u003cscript type=\"text\/javascript\" async=\"\" defer data-pin-shape=\"round\" data-pin-height=\"32\" data-pin-hover=\"true\" src=\"\/\/assets.pinterest.com\/js\/pinit.js\"\u003e\u003c\/script\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003c!-- - - - - - - - - - - - ENTER AUTHOR BIO BELOW - - - - - - - - - --\u003e\n\u003ch5\u003eAuthor \u0026amp; Illustrator\u003c\/h5\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eLynn Curlee, author and illustrator\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eLynn Curlee has a master's degree in art history and has both written and illustrated more than a dozen books for children, including \u003cem\u003eTrains, Skyscraper, Ballpark: The Story of America's Baseball Fields\u003c\/em\u003e, and \u003cem\u003eCapital\u003c\/em\u003e with Atheneum. His work has been exhibited in Los Angeles, New York City, and Long Island.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003c!-- - - - - - - - - ENTER AWARDS \u0026 HONORS BELOW - - - - - - - - --\u003e\n\u003ch5\u003eAwards \u0026amp; Honors\u003c\/h5\u003e\n\u003cul\u003e\n\u003cli\u003eComing soon!\u003c\/li\u003e\n\u003c\/ul\u003e\n\u003c!-- - - - - - - - - - ENTER REVIEWS BELOW - - - - - - - - - --\u003e\n\u003ch5\u003eEditorial Reviews\u003c\/h5\u003e\n\u003cblockquote\u003e\n\u003cblockquote\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003ci\u003e\u003cimg src=\"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0750\/0101\/files\/star-fade.gif?18127980511287865543\"\u003e \u003cstrong\u003eKirkus Reviews\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/i\u003e, starred review\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThe story of Vaslav Nijinsky's life—onstage and off, in all its glamour and tragedy—unfolds. Originally drawn to Nijinsky by photos of the ballet dancer in costume, Curlee (\u003cem\u003eTrains\u003c\/em\u003e, \u003cem\u003e2009\u003c\/em\u003e, etc.) engaged in extensive research and details major events in Nijinsky's life, beginning with his birth to traveling Polish performers and continuing through to his eventual confinement in various asylums and death in 1950. While much of the content focuses on Nijinsky's art, both his dancing and choreography, time is also spent on his personal life. The text includes short biographical sketches of important artists, such as Diaghilev and Stravinsky, with whom Nijinsky crossed paths as well as explorations of Nijinsky's romantic relationships and mental health. These discussions are frank, and though they never devolve into titillation, they do occasionally include questionable descriptions (\"He was…what some would term stark raving mad\") and label Nijinsky's sexual orientation using modern terms. Interspersed between chapters are stylized programs detailing various ballets that Nijinsky performed or choreographed, including descriptions of the ballet's history and plot and paintings by the author. Quotations from contemporaries and occasionally the dancer himself breathe further life into the narrative. The photographs and illustrations add interest and points of engagement in what is an otherwise tragic tale of a brooding artist. A glossy introduction to the highs and lows of Nijinsky's life and work.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003c\/blockquote\u003e\n\u003cblockquote\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003ci\u003e\u003cb\u003eSchool Library Journal\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/i\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eBorn to Polish parents who worked as traveling performers, Vaslav Nijinsky was raised to be onstage. After training at the Imperial Ballet School in Russia, Nijinsky began performing and his undeniable skills amazed audiences. He also began choreographing, bringing new and sensational pieces such as The Rite of Spring to the stage. In this biography, Nijinsky’s accomplishments on the stage are detailed, accompanied by paintings by the author and archival photographs. “Programs” for Nijinsky’s performances, including facts and summaries of the ballets, separate the chapters. The biography focuses on more than just Nijinksy’s art, delving into his personal life, including his relationships, sexuality, and his mental health. Curlee provides context for Nijinsky’s life and introduces readers to the art scene of the time, including brief biographical sketches of other figures such as Fokine and Stravinsky. Appropriate for preliminary research, and simply for those interested in learning more about Nijinsky, the included back matter provides readers looking to delve deeper with avenues to continue exploring. VERDICT While contemporary conceptions of sexual identity and mental illness cannot easily be superimposed over historical biographies, readers nevertheless are presented with a full picture of Nijinsky’s life.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003c\/blockquote\u003e\n\u003cblockquote\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003ci\u003e\u003cb\u003ePublishers Weekly\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/i\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eRiveting, richly saturated acrylic-on-canvas paintings highlight the latest from Curlee (Mythological Creatures: A Classical Bestiary), about the celebrated early-20th-century dancer Vaslav Nijinsky and his times. More than just a biography, this homage to the “god of dance” often strays from Nijinsky’s life story to introduce other great artists of the era—composer Igor Stravinsky, dancer\/choreographer Mikhaile Fokine, designer Léon Bakst, and, especially, impresario Sergei Diaghilev—whose combined talents made the Ballets Russes company, where Nijinsky made his name, a sensation. Curlee follows the dancer’s life from his birth in Kiev to itinerant Polish entertainer parents, through his early years at the Russian Imperial Ballet School, to his discovery by Diaghilev and spectacular 1909 Parisian debut, tracing his remarkable, brief career as well as his descent into mental illness. In frank accounts, Curlee discusses Nijinsky’s bisexuality, including his open affair with Diaghilev, seen as scandalous at the time, and his impetuous marriage to a Hungarian socialite. The book’s spacious pages—heavily illustrated with original paintings, vintage photos, and simulated programs—elevate the moving story, making for a memorable volume that captures the dancer’s singular talent, fame, and notoriety.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003c\/blockquote\u003e\n\u003cblockquote\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003ci\u003e\u003cb\u003eThe Horn Book\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/i\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eVaslav Nijinsky (1890–1950) was the brightest star of the Ballets Russes, a virtuoso dancer and choreographer the likes of whom no one had ever before seen. This heartfelt biography traces Nijinsky’s trajectory from a lonesome childhood through his 1909 Paris debut, ensuing mega-stardom, and notoriety as a boundary-breaking choreographer to his diagnosis of schizophrenia and, at age thirty, his institutionalization. In his five short years with the Ballet Russes, “Vatsa” originated several of ballet’s most iconic roles and created the landmark modernist works The Afternoon of a Faun and The Rite of Spring (the latter considered so scandalous its premiere incited a riot). Curlee sensitively explores Nijinsky’s contradictions as a magnetic, expressive dancer with little social grace; a provocative performer and sex symbol tormented by his own sexual desires and behaviors; a bisexual man who has retroactively become a celebrated “gay icon” but who passively “followed in [the] wake” of his out-and-proud partner, impresario Sergei Diaghilev; and a visionary artist intent on documenting his descent into mental illness. Beautifully designed, the book is punctuated with theater program–like spreads with brief descriptions of ballets accompanied by Curlee’s striking jewel-toned portraits and archival photographs.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003c\/blockquote\u003e\n\u003cblockquote\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003ci\u003e\u003cb\u003eBooklist\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/i\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eAttendees of the May 18, 1909, performance of Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes were in for a surprise. Accustomed to a more staid, conservative ballet, they were shocked to their feet by the electrifying leaps and jumps of Vaslav Nijinsky, making his solo debut. Flamboyant, creative, and single-mindedly dedicated to dance, Nijinsky established himself as one of the greatest dancers in history, paving the way for dancers such as Rudolf Nureyev and Mikhail Baryshnikov. Curlee’s biography incorporates his own lush paintings into a luxurious volume with creamy thick paper and crisp, clear type. Interspersed through the text are program-style pages, which describe the ballets performed and include quotes and commentary on the performances. Photographs of Nijinsky and the people in his life punctuate and amplify the text. Curlee’s narrative is lucid and smooth, and source notes, a bibliography, and an index round out the book. This elegant volume has a place in any collection.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003c\/blockquote\u003e\n\u003c!-- - - - - - - - - - - ENTER DOWNLOADABLES BELOW - - - - - - - - - - --\u003e\n\u003ch5\u003eDownloadables\u003c\/h5\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: left;\"\u003e\u003cimg alt=\"\" src=\"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0750\/0101\/files\/nijinsky-cvr.jpg?3135636908491869369\" style=\"display: block; float: none; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;\"\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cdiv class=\"btn-wrapper\"\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0750\/0101\/files\/nijinsky-hires.zip?3135636908491869369\" class=\"product-btn\"\u003eDownload the Cover\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/div\u003e\n\u003c!-- - - - - - - - - - - - ENTER DETAILS BELOW - - - - - - - - - - - --\u003e\n\u003ch5\u003eDetails\u003c\/h5\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eHardcover\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003cbr\u003eISBN: 978-1-58089-800-3\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eE-book\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003cbr\u003e For information about purchasing E-books, \u003ca title=\"E-book\" href=\"http:\/\/charlesbridge.myshopify.com\/pages\/e-books\"\u003eclick here\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eAges: 10+\u003cbr\u003ePage count: 128\u003cbr\u003e7\u003csup\u003e1\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003cspan\u003e\/\u003c\/span\u003e\u003csub\u003e2\u003c\/sub\u003e x 10 \u003c\/p\u003e\n[\/TABS]\u003c\/blockquote\u003e"}

The Great Nijinsky: God of Dance

By: Lynn Curlee

A sensation, an artist, a mad genius.

With one grand leap off the stage at the 1909 premiere of the Ballets Russes's inaugural season, Vaslav Nijinsky became a sensation and the century's first superstar. Perhaps the greatest dancer of the twentieth century, Nijinsky captured audiences with his sheer animal magnetism and incredible skill. 

Nijinsky was a dance prodigy, sex symbol, gay pioneer, and cultural icon. His star climbed high before mental illness stole his career and the last thirty years of his life. This compelling biography chronicles a life of obsessive artistry, celebrity, and notoriety.

Included are spotlights on the ballets the dancer popularized: classic masterworks such as Afternoon of a Faun, The Firebird, and of course, the shockingly original Rite of Spring, which caused the audience to riot at its premiere. Illustrated with elegant, intimate portraits as well as archival art and photographs. 

Maximum quantity available reached.

Lynn Curlee, author and illustrator

Lynn Curlee has a master's degree in art history and has both written and illustrated more than a dozen books for children, including Trains, Skyscraper, Ballpark: The Story of America's Baseball Fields, and Capital with Atheneum. His work has been exhibited in Los Angeles, New York City, and Long Island.

  • Coming soon!

Kirkus Reviews, starred review

The story of Vaslav Nijinsky's life—onstage and off, in all its glamour and tragedy—unfolds. Originally drawn to Nijinsky by photos of the ballet dancer in costume, Curlee (Trains, 2009, etc.) engaged in extensive research and details major events in Nijinsky's life, beginning with his birth to traveling Polish performers and continuing through to his eventual confinement in various asylums and death in 1950. While much of the content focuses on Nijinsky's art, both his dancing and choreography, time is also spent on his personal life. The text includes short biographical sketches of important artists, such as Diaghilev and Stravinsky, with whom Nijinsky crossed paths as well as explorations of Nijinsky's romantic relationships and mental health. These discussions are frank, and though they never devolve into titillation, they do occasionally include questionable descriptions ("He was…what some would term stark raving mad") and label Nijinsky's sexual orientation using modern terms. Interspersed between chapters are stylized programs detailing various ballets that Nijinsky performed or choreographed, including descriptions of the ballet's history and plot and paintings by the author. Quotations from contemporaries and occasionally the dancer himself breathe further life into the narrative. The photographs and illustrations add interest and points of engagement in what is an otherwise tragic tale of a brooding artist. A glossy introduction to the highs and lows of Nijinsky's life and work.

School Library Journal

Born to Polish parents who worked as traveling performers, Vaslav Nijinsky was raised to be onstage. After training at the Imperial Ballet School in Russia, Nijinsky began performing and his undeniable skills amazed audiences. He also began choreographing, bringing new and sensational pieces such as The Rite of Spring to the stage. In this biography, Nijinsky’s accomplishments on the stage are detailed, accompanied by paintings by the author and archival photographs. “Programs” for Nijinsky’s performances, including facts and summaries of the ballets, separate the chapters. The biography focuses on more than just Nijinksy’s art, delving into his personal life, including his relationships, sexuality, and his mental health. Curlee provides context for Nijinsky’s life and introduces readers to the art scene of the time, including brief biographical sketches of other figures such as Fokine and Stravinsky. Appropriate for preliminary research, and simply for those interested in learning more about Nijinsky, the included back matter provides readers looking to delve deeper with avenues to continue exploring. VERDICT While contemporary conceptions of sexual identity and mental illness cannot easily be superimposed over historical biographies, readers nevertheless are presented with a full picture of Nijinsky’s life.

Publishers Weekly

Riveting, richly saturated acrylic-on-canvas paintings highlight the latest from Curlee (Mythological Creatures: A Classical Bestiary), about the celebrated early-20th-century dancer Vaslav Nijinsky and his times. More than just a biography, this homage to the “god of dance” often strays from Nijinsky’s life story to introduce other great artists of the era—composer Igor Stravinsky, dancer/choreographer Mikhaile Fokine, designer Léon Bakst, and, especially, impresario Sergei Diaghilev—whose combined talents made the Ballets Russes company, where Nijinsky made his name, a sensation. Curlee follows the dancer’s life from his birth in Kiev to itinerant Polish entertainer parents, through his early years at the Russian Imperial Ballet School, to his discovery by Diaghilev and spectacular 1909 Parisian debut, tracing his remarkable, brief career as well as his descent into mental illness. In frank accounts, Curlee discusses Nijinsky’s bisexuality, including his open affair with Diaghilev, seen as scandalous at the time, and his impetuous marriage to a Hungarian socialite. The book’s spacious pages—heavily illustrated with original paintings, vintage photos, and simulated programs—elevate the moving story, making for a memorable volume that captures the dancer’s singular talent, fame, and notoriety.

The Horn Book

Vaslav Nijinsky (1890–1950) was the brightest star of the Ballets Russes, a virtuoso dancer and choreographer the likes of whom no one had ever before seen. This heartfelt biography traces Nijinsky’s trajectory from a lonesome childhood through his 1909 Paris debut, ensuing mega-stardom, and notoriety as a boundary-breaking choreographer to his diagnosis of schizophrenia and, at age thirty, his institutionalization. In his five short years with the Ballet Russes, “Vatsa” originated several of ballet’s most iconic roles and created the landmark modernist works The Afternoon of a Faun and The Rite of Spring (the latter considered so scandalous its premiere incited a riot). Curlee sensitively explores Nijinsky’s contradictions as a magnetic, expressive dancer with little social grace; a provocative performer and sex symbol tormented by his own sexual desires and behaviors; a bisexual man who has retroactively become a celebrated “gay icon” but who passively “followed in [the] wake” of his out-and-proud partner, impresario Sergei Diaghilev; and a visionary artist intent on documenting his descent into mental illness. Beautifully designed, the book is punctuated with theater program–like spreads with brief descriptions of ballets accompanied by Curlee’s striking jewel-toned portraits and archival photographs.

Booklist

Attendees of the May 18, 1909, performance of Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes were in for a surprise. Accustomed to a more staid, conservative ballet, they were shocked to their feet by the electrifying leaps and jumps of Vaslav Nijinsky, making his solo debut. Flamboyant, creative, and single-mindedly dedicated to dance, Nijinsky established himself as one of the greatest dancers in history, paving the way for dancers such as Rudolf Nureyev and Mikhail Baryshnikov. Curlee’s biography incorporates his own lush paintings into a luxurious volume with creamy thick paper and crisp, clear type. Interspersed through the text are program-style pages, which describe the ballets performed and include quotes and commentary on the performances. Photographs of Nijinsky and the people in his life punctuate and amplify the text. Curlee’s narrative is lucid and smooth, and source notes, a bibliography, and an index round out the book. This elegant volume has a place in any collection.

Hardcover
ISBN: 978-1-58089-800-3

E-book
For information about purchasing E-books, click here.

Ages: 10+
Page count: 128
71/2 x 10