Despite its brevity, she [Lesser] deftly introduces readers to her complex subject and his many remarkable creative achievements ... Ms. Lesser has done some, but not much, original research: The book draws upon what’s already been published, including extensive excerpts from Robbins’s correspondence and diaries. Yet she shapes them to her purposes. This is what can be called a critical biography: Robbins’s work is front and center, as Ms. Lesser zooms in on a number of musicals and ballets for in-depth analysis. Biographical facts are sometimes tossed casually over her shoulders, and sometimes not, in a way that suggests a confident and judicious consideration of what exactly she wants to emphasize ... Ms. Lesser is comfortable jumping around timewise, organizing as much according to theme as chronology. For the reader who is already familiar with Robbins’s story, that’s refreshing; in any case, it is appropriately balletic in the way it collapses time and space.
Lesser has provided enough facts about Robbins’s life to give us a sense of this difficult man and his creative process. Where she excels is in her detailed analysis of selected works that she thinks represent Robbins at his best ... Much of the book is taken up with Lesser’s detailed descriptions of the Robbins dances she most admires. It is these analyses that make her book unique ... Lesser’s Jerome Robbins is eloquently written.
...this slim volume...drills down to the essential core of a complicated man...and consummate artist. In a skillful blend of personal biography and professional profile, Lesser reminds us of Robbins’ place in twentieth-century dance and theater and fosters a new appreciation for his legacy. A fine addition to dance and performing-arts collections.
This brief but carefully researched biography (part of the Jewish Lives series) builds a persuasive case for the importance of Jerome Robbins’s career as a choreographer ... Stories of Robbins’s famously difficult personality are contrasted with examinations of his productive working relationships with colleagues like composer Leonard Bernstein and mentor George Balanchine. The results is an evenhanded portrait of an important choreographer.