To help us better understand Robbins, Amanda Vaill has compiled a rich selection of his writings ... Drawing on the Robbins archive in the New York Public Library and on the correspondence of his friends and associates, Ms. Vaill has produced a hit of her own out of Robbins’s letters, diaries, sketches and notes. For each chronological section she has also provided a substantial preface; taken together, they amount to a distillation of her definitive 2006 biography, Somewhere: The Life of Jerome Robbins ... Ms. Vaill’s book is filled with vivid details about the dailiness of Robbins’ life.
Jerome Robbins, By Himself is a captivating self-portrait, of the man, the artist and his times ... Robbins’ diaries are conversational, intimate, and penned with candor and clarity about his successes and failures both professional and personal ... This beautifully assembled volume features extensive photographs throughout the text and gorgeous color prints of Robbins’ diary entries that contain his own illustrations. Jerome Robbins, By Himself is an unfiltered look at a creative force of nature and an uncompromising artist who just happened to be one of the architects of a golden age of American dance and musical theater.
What Robbins’ writings lack in spit and polish, they make up for in candor ... Other gems include a detailed outline for Fancy Free, as well as a journal entry describing the fits and starts in which the ballet was born ... The centerpiece of the book is a series of letters Robbins wrote to ballerina Tanaquil Le Clercq ... Like much of the fascinating material gathered here, these letters are chatty, empathetic and endearing.
Vaill’s selections depict a man who could be straightforward...controlling, and unsure...but willing to look frankly at the successes of his life, loves, and work, as well as where they fell short and what he wished had gone differently. Frequent photos from his social and professional life, along with chapter introductions by the author, add interest ... Suggested for casual dance readers and Robbins aficionados alike.
One of the pleasures of Vaill’s selection is the cast of characters that returns over many years ... Robbins has often been designated a perfectionist, but the letters suggest 'particularist' is closer to the mark. The fascinating correspondence from his collaboration-rich Broadway years of the 1950s and early 1960s makes clear both why Robbins drove people crazy and why they still wanted him around. The missives are models of civility and uncompromise ... Jerome Robbins, by Himself winds down gracefully ... After Jerome Robbins, by Himself, you don’t just accept the man; you miss him.
With access to the letters, journals, essays and unfinished memoir of Jerome Robbins (1918-98), biographer Amanda Vaill creates a compelling autobiography of the director and choreographer. Vaill...is skilled and savvy about arranging eight decades of Robbins's archival writings into a coherent and compelling chronology. She also offers succinct overviews at the beginning of each chapter, and her annotations at the bottom of each page clarify and enrich ... This superbly assembled Jerome Robbins autobiography is nirvana for Broadway fans.
Mining the rich lode of his archive...Vaill 'offers a different perspective on this contradictory artist than has been possible in any of the biographical works about him.' The result is a carefully curated and meticulously footnoted selection of journal entries, correspondence, sketches, photographs, and more, followed by a chronology that highlights a selective list of personal and professional moments. This is a fascinating backstage look at the creation of such iconic Broadway shows as West Side Story and Fiddler on the Roof and such modern ballet classics as Fancy Free and N.Y. Export: Opus Jazz, as well as a glimpse into the mind of a singular artist.
Vaill...gathers a fascinating selection of illustrations, photographs, and writings from the personal archives of dance choreographer Jerome Robbins ... Vaill expertly weaves Robbins’s insight into his artistic accomplishments ... Provocative and illuminating, this portrait will delight dance enthusiasts.