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Dancing spirit : an autobiography /

Main Author: Jamison, Judith.
Other Authors: Kaplan, Howard, 1950-
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: New York : Doubleday, 1993
Edition: 1st ed.
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Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Celebrated African American dancer Jamison gives a vibrant account of her struggles and triumphs in this inspiring autobiography. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review

Coinciding with the 35th anniversary of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (of which she is now artistic director), this is the story of the first black superstar of American dance. In a narrative as eloquent and elegant as her dancing, Jamison recounts her early years and training in Philadelphia and New York and her affiliation with a number of dance companies, including the Harkness Ballet, American Ballet Theatre and, most notably, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. A member of that company for 15 years, she became artistic director after Ailey's death in 1989. Before that, she appeared on Broadway in Sophisticated Ladies and also directed the Jamison Project, a small company of her own on which she choreographed a number of original works. Her signature role, in Cry , which Ailey choreographed on her, has been immortalized in photographs by Max Waldman. A candid self-portrait of an important figure in modern American dance; recommended for collections on dance. For a related work, see Jack Mitchell's Alvine Ailey's American Dance Theater , reviewed below.--Ed.-- Carolyn M. Mulac, Chicago P.L. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by School Library Journal Review

YA-While Jamison describes her childhood and takes great pride in her family and her African heritage, she focuses almost exclusively on her career as a dancer, choreographer, teacher, and now artistic director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre. What comes through most of all is her pride and her passion for dance. A word of caution: many phrases appear in quotes, some of them slang, without explanation, which may confuse readers as the meanings are not always clear in context. In addition, the author is so totally immersed in her subject that she uses many technical terms from ballet to jazz to Horton techniques without defining them. However, for those who adore dance and the theatre, are familiar with the Alvin Ailey troupe, and have some background in the subject, this book will give immense pleasure. Over 60 marvelous black-and-white photographs capture the essence of this intense and dramatic artist.-Pat Royal, Crossland High School, Camp Springs, MD (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

Jamison, a major figure on the American dance scene, is best known as an Alvin Ailey leading lady and muse; she has lesser credits as a choreographer and teacher--and is now cause for excitement as artistic director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. She's also a very proud, private woman, and while we get a good understanding here of her development and sense of purpose, she keeps us firmly at arm's length. Jamison grew up in Philadelphia, and her parents have been towering figures in her life: ``My parents, born and raised in the South, met and settled in the North. I'm moved by contraries, by opposites, the strength that was my mother's eyes, the beauty of my father's hands.'' Growing up, Jamison and her brother were exposed to all that cultural Philadelphia had to offer--and black Philadelphia was in full bloom then. Thus, Jamison's ballet training began early; she was eventually ``discovered'' in a master class by Agnes DeMille. Jamison goes on to chronicle the early years as Ailey struggled to establish his company, the incessant touring, some of her relationships with other notable figures of those years, and her development into a sought-after guest star. Her narrative is sometimes sketchy and bewildering as she skips around the years, but she's more focused as she describes the more recent experience of her artistic directorship following Ailey's death, in 1989. Throughout, Jamison comes across as almost offhand about her talent--it can be hard to catch a glimpse of her passion. Meanwhile, as a woman of deep religious faith, she says, ``I've always believed that my life has been predestined; all I've had to do is be prepared.'' With that as background, readers may not get a feeling for the hard work and intensity undoubtedly necessary for Jamison to have succeeded as she has. An interesting chronicle of Jamison's development and philosophy--but the woman remains an enigma. (Forty-five b&w photographs--not seen)

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