Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Roger Urban visits the NYPL ... and brings copies of Life Behind the Metaphor

Last week, Roger Urban made a trip from Boston to New York City to visit the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center. With him, he brought several advance copies of Life Behind the Metaphor. Acme Bookbinding was kind enough to speedily and expertly hand-bind these copies (ahead of the main batch) just for this occasion.

The books were extremely well-received. Visiting supporters of the Jerome Robbins Dance Collection stopped by to view the copies—as well as a few large-format prints of the photographs of Nureyev in action—and oohed and aahed over them. Roger later reflected, "I realize that I don't have the words to explain to people just how good the quality of this book is. If they've never seen a book of this quality, they don't understand what I'm talking about—until they hold a copy in their hands."

Soon! Life Behind the Metaphor is set to be released on October 1. You can pre-order now at www.nureyevlegacy.com.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Life Behind the Metaphor: PUBLISHING UPDATE

News on the production of our deluxe book of never-before-seen photographs of Rudolf Nureyev:

Life Behind the Metaphor has been printed!

The pages have come off the presses at Dual Graphics and have been shipped from California to Massachusetts by FedEx Freight, who generously donated the freight shipping costs for this important project.

Next stop is Acme Bookbinding, where the raw sheets will be trimmed, folded and gathered, and then bound, and the dust jackets folded and slipped on. Books almost ready ...!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

"Nureyev: The Russian Years" postgame wrap-up

We've now read through just about every newspaper review of PBS's "Nureyev: The Russian Years," and just about every base seems to have been covered. Personal reactions to add to the pile:

Nureyev is hypnotic. It sounds like a terrible cliché, but it's true. When you see him in the opening moments of the film, as the press asks questions and he says nothing, or when you listen to him speak, years later, about his early life, there's a mesmerizing quality that makes it difficult to look away.

It's fascinating to see how dramatically his technique improved. The early films do show some stunning feats—such as his machine-gun execution of pirouettes in "Le Corsaire"—but they also show the sometimes awkward lack of poise of a young dancer (or perhaps simply a young man). But the films of his post-defection work show no flaws. This level of polish made photographer Roger Urban's work in Life Behind the Metaphor much easier—every frame was guaranteed to be beautiful. As Richard Benson, Dean of the Yale University School of Art, says in his essay in the book: "...the dancer makes the movement so that when well done every part is right; in theory we could stop it anywhere and see perfection."

And finally, a link to a letter from a viewer of the documentary that appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, reflecting upon Nureyev in action:

I find it hard to explain what Nureyev did that was so spellbinding. He certainly defied gravity in an explosive way, but perhaps the most striking memory I have is of him circling the stage as Romeo, below Fonteyn's Juliet, up on her balcony. The image of the way he carried himself - the animal grace and the weightedness of him (unlike many ballet dancers) - as he ran, with his cape flying behind him and his aquiline features barely picked out by the dim stage lighting - is seared on my brain. It is something so beautiful - so fleeting and mysterious - you wish you had words to describe it so others can understand what you mean ... but words fail miserably.