Dancing on My Grave

Dancing on My Grave Gelsey Kirkland was a princess in the world of American ballet The seeming fairy tale of her life in the rarefied atmosphere of classical dance was considerably darker than it appeared to those on the

  • Title: Dancing on My Grave
  • Author: Gelsey Kirkland Greg Lawrence
  • ISBN: 9780385199643
  • Page: 434
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Gelsey Kirkland was a princess in the world of American ballet The seeming fairy tale of her life in the rarefied atmosphere of classical dance was considerably darker than it appeared to those on the outside The endless pressure to rise to soloist and later to principal dancer took a toll on the psyche and body of the young dancer Dancing On My Grave details her eatingGelsey Kirkland was a princess in the world of American ballet The seeming fairy tale of her life in the rarefied atmosphere of classical dance was considerably darker than it appeared to those on the outside The endless pressure to rise to soloist and later to principal dancer took a toll on the psyche and body of the young dancer Dancing On My Grave details her eating disorders, drug abuse and difficult relationships with George Ballanchine and Mikhail Baryshnikov.

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      Posted by:Gelsey Kirkland Greg Lawrence
      Published :2019-01-11T06:19:20+00:00

    One thought on “Dancing on My Grave”

    1. Update: Lord, I'd forgotten how difficult it is to read this book. Gelsey's pain is palpable. What is, perhaps, even more distressing is reading the response here on . Gelsey never intended to promote anorexia, drug addiction, or promiscuity. She doesn't deserve such contempt from readers. My own reservations aside, it was brave of her to write so candidly about addiction and mental illness, and of the (very real) abuses visited upon her. It's clear to me that she earnestly wishes to improve her [...]

    2. One of the greatest bad ass ballerinas of all time, Gelsey Kirkland's book is a wild testament to self-mutilation in pursuit of "ballet feet" - a sort of binding for art's sake -to "ballet body" aka anorexia and cocaine snuffling and other forms of rollercoaster recreation.Her romance with Mikhail Baryshnikov gets a bit overwrought in places, but for the most part whether you like ballet or not I guarantee you'll bury your nose in this one for months to come.

    3. It saddens me when readers rate a memoir based on their perceptions of an author’s choices and struggles.Dancing on My Grave chronicles Kirkland’s journey to prima ballerina status while battling multiple addictions and bulimia. As you muddle through some of the more cringe-worthy details of her relationship with Mikhail Baryishnikov, you’ll probably find some of the passages in the book difficult to digest.Still, Kirkland is brave and achingly honest in this memoir. I applaud Kirkland for [...]

    4. I think I might have liked this book IF#1 I knew who Gelsey Kirland was. Apparently she was a very famous ballerina and even danced with Baryshnikof (yes, I totally made up how to spell that). But she was pretty famous a few years before I was born I missed out.#2 my thighs were not flabby and did not touch each other when I stand normally. My dream is to have those strong, muscular ballet thighs. Or, if I could have the really thin kind that have a space between them. Man, my jeans would wear o [...]

    5. The cover claims this starts as a fairy tale. That is untrue.Nonetheless, the first 5/6 of the book were fascinating for one entirely uninitiated to ballet. Gelsey Kirkland's explorations, questions, insistence on pursuing art for art's sake in the form of dramatic dance, gave me (I think) previously unknown insight into the expressiveness and creativity of movement.Her relationship with Mikhail Baryshnikov frequently made me want to scream. His two-dimensionality outside the ballet, and her dep [...]

    6. Gelsey Kirkland's dancing: 5 stars. Gelsey Kirkland's memoir of dancing: meh. Some here indicate this is required reading for any aspiring ballet dancer, and I'll grant you that it will give you an eye-opening look at the dark side of the dance world. But the focus here is on a mess of a woman who would have found destruction no matter her vocation. I did find it an interesting insight into the world of Balanchine, though, so for that there was value. Beyond that, however, I think an aspiring da [...]

    7. My dance teacher told me about this book, and mentioned Gelsey Kirkland's hellish descent into drug abuse, eating disorders, messed up relationships, et al. I kept reading and reading, and the book was good, but I was like, "okay, so her relationships are totally messed up, but where's the coke?" Well, believe me, it takes awhile but it sure does deliver the goods!!! At one point, she actually does a line of sweet and low. I remember that was a joke in high school. Anyway, this was totally enter [...]

    8. Bleah. Why did I want to read this book? I read it years ago when I was interested in Barishnikov's defection from Russia, and also when I was following the careers of ballerinas he danced with. Why I was struck to read it again is beyond me.This is a pitiful story. Gelsey Kirkland was a gifted dancer, but from the beginning lost and insecure. The daughter of an older alcoholic father (he had 5 marriages and 5 heart attacks), she spends the rest of the book seeking for someone to love her. She i [...]

    9. I really lost patience with this book. It was at least 100 pages too long and seemed to be written too soon, before any of the wounds had healed. She wrote with a chip on her shoulder, which failed to evoke any pity from me, and I came away without a solid understanding of why she put herself through all of that in order to dance. Did she love it? If you watch videos of her dancing, it's incredible, but all you see in this book is the pain and the hurt feelings and a lot of "poor me." Plus, are [...]

    10. My favourite dancer biography, despite stiff competition. I have a massive crush on this woman; how could she dance like that (see YouTube) and write like this? Passionate, beautifully written account of her struggle with her demons (including her feelings for Baryshnikov) to achieve her dream of artistic perfection. Couldn’t put it (or the sequel) down.

    11. This was really difficult to read because Gelsey Kirkland truly did not have an easy life. Still, I loved the way this was written and I was hooked from the very first page. I did not know much about her before going into this memoir, but that turned out not to have mattered too much. I watched several performances on Youtube of her since and she is truly a remarkable dancer. What a shame that she also had to experience such pain in her life.

    12. What an amazing story and told beautifully. really engaging and makes you think while also being a page turner

    13. By the time you get to the miserable part, you forget about the beginning which pretty much paved the way to Gelsey Kirkland's misery. I would suggest this book to anybody who "leisurely" uses drugs all the time and thinks that things are under control to read this book. When I first read this book, I felt sorry for her little knowing that I was months away from the same struggle. Addiction doesn't care if you're a homeless vagrant or a world class ballerina. I'm nine years sober now and I cring [...]

    14. For any ballerinas out there this book is a must read. I read this at age 12 when dance was my life. (but I would never let my 12 year old read this-there is adult material in it) The book is a memoir of Gelsey Kirkland from the NYC ballet, a dancer who I had watched every year on PBS with her partner Baryshnikov (Misha).From Publishers Weekly:Rarely has a performing artist probed so searchingly and satisfyingly into the wellsprings of creativity as ballerina Kirkland does in this incandescently [...]

    15. "Dancing on My Grave" is the first of two autobiographies of one of America's most celebrated ballerinas, Gelsey Kirkland, who is possibly best known for her role of Clara thanks to the filmed production of "Baryshnikov's Nutcracker." Though the book is no longer as controversial as it was upon its initial release, Kirkland's memories may be surprising to some- that her legendary partnership with Baryshnikov was not all smiles and glamour, and her New York City Ballet years showcase a negative l [...]

    16. The true life story full of sex, drugs, and ballet. I reread this for the first time in years at my mother's suggestion. Kirkland's description of the life/structure of life within NYCB (and the dance world in general), the physical and artistic struggles as a ballerina, and the emotional anguish caused by work, love, addiction, etc. were disturbing if only for their accuracy. She goes into great detail about the different challenges of dance (including technical aspects), so that non-dancers ca [...]

    17. This autobiography is about that famous ballerina of the 70's, Gelsey Kirkland. She is most commonly known for her part as 'Clara' in Mikhail Baryshnikov's 'The Nutcracker'. Anyway I thought this book would be simply written as most autobiographies written by those of a different trade are but it was much the opposite. This story of her life was a whirlwind of information both descriptive and devistating. I was dizzy with facts and information about the secluded world of the professional ballet [...]

    18. Gelsey Kirkland was the biggest prima ballerina in the U.S. in her heyday, a favorite of Balanchine and a partner to Baryshnikov. In this memoir, she writes about her career in a confessional, tell-all style. Her story is sad and bitter-there is very little that shows that she got any joy out of her art at all. She also includes her struggle with anorexia and cocaine addiction and the gory details of her less-than-dreamy offstage relationship with Baryshnikov. If you're looking for a glamorous s [...]

    19. 4.5 stars. I learned much more about ballet than I expected, and I felt Gelsey was very open and honest about her struggles with confidence, eating disorders, drugs, and loving difficult people. Her passion for ballet and quest for perfection came across so well, and I liked when she showed how the reviews were positive regardless of how she felt she danced. She always had her own standards, and sometimes she was pleased with her performances. It was very interesting to see into this world. Well [...]

    20. This book for me hit so close to home, Being an ex-dancer of 33 years. It told you the honest truth about the behind the scenes and a the not so pretty secrets of the ballet world and it's glorious & graceful dancers. Gelsey is one of my Heroes and just as a dancer, but as person, for me to learn how she dealt with and conquered all her obsticles. She is a true Inspiration to me & she be to all dancers. In my opinion this was a wonderful book and should be read by all in the dance world. [...]

    21. Gelsey Kirkland sure can find a way to blame everyone but herself for everything. Still, I enjoyed the book and found the political power plays behind the ballet interesting, not to mention her tortured relationship with Baryshnikov. I even liked her in spite of myself. If you have ever watched her dance with Baryshnikov, say in the Nutcracker from the 70s that PBS plays every year, you might, too.

    22. I really enjoyed Gelsey's discussion of her artistic and creative process. A surprisingly clear look at the mental and physical work a performing artist goes through with their craft. And looking at her dance on YouTube shows just what an incredible dancer she was at her peak.

    23. When I was younger and working in Washington, D.C. one of the rewards was frequent ballet performances by the best companies in the world. I attended quite a few, became a fan of American Ballet Theater and met some of the dancers. To say the least, I was unaware of what went on off stage. Kelsey presents an illuminating, fascinating look at her world, with all of its intensity, beauty, competition, drive, insecurities,personal investment and personal cost. I've had the book for years, but for s [...]

    24. A brutally honest memoir by a famous ballerina who fell from one disaster to another. But the book is also a lovely educational tome where I learned a lot about ballet. I found myself googling various dances and dancers, during times when I was more caught up in Kirkland's description of ballet, leaving her story from time to time. Undoubtedly fame contributed to her many difficulties, but it's the driven personality, insecure and unable to find a balance in life, that really leads to one's down [...]

    25. What a miserable read. And then cocaine enters the pictureMost everyone comes out of this book looking bad. But especially Balanchine and Baryshnikov.Gelsey even makes herself look like such a trainwreck that it becomes difficult to imagine why anyone would ever want to work with her. Or how she didn't die from her self-destructive habits.As for the writing itself, it feels more than a little overblown. Every struggle seems like cause for a breakdown, every social encounter a battle waged, every [...]

    26. While I did enjoy the honesty of Kirkland and could appreciate how terrible her struggles were, the voice in this book kept me from giving it more than 3 stars. I kept waiting for an epiphany moment, but throughout the book she seemed to maintain, or at least suggest, that she was a victim. I never really got the sense that she took responsibility for her actions to a full extent, it always felt like someone else's fault. All in all, a solid read.

    27. I read this book numerous times during my teenaged years after watching the yearly PBS special of Gelsey Kirkland dancing the Nutcracker with Mikail Baryshnikov, then learning of their affair. A very interesting book for those who are intrigued by dancing.

    28. I admittedly read this a long time ago, yet it has stayed with me as an amazing look at the incredible hell that ballerinas go through the phrase "suffer for one's art", though trite, is surely true!

    29. I very much enjoyed Gesley Kirkland's perspective and reading about her experience with America's ballet influencers. I was pleased and struck by the cerebral qualities and introspectiveness of her writing style and word choice - Things that, as stereotypical as it sounds, I would not expect from a ballerina with little to no formal education. Her heartbreak is truly palpable in this memoir as she strips away the beautiful ballerina facade, and bares all of her literal and metaphorical scars wit [...]

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