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Making a Ballet

Mary Clarke
Date Published
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Making a Ballet is a survey of the processes which bring a ballet to the stage; it successfully dispels much of the mystique that surrounds what is a hard-learned and very arduous craft. A historical introduction describes something of the collaborations and creativity that made the nineteenth century ballet. Then Mary Clarke and Clement Crisp, through the direct testimony of a distinguished gallery of choreographers, dancers, musicians and painters, examine the varying elements that are combined in twentieth century ballet and the relevance of the changes that have occurred in the conditions of work and the methods of collaboration.

Choreographers describe their creative processes, dancers discuss the way a role develops and the way the classroom steps are adapted for the stage; composers and conductors tell how ballet scores are commissioned and arranged and designers relate the many problems associated with providing the sets and costumes.

As relevant today as at its first publication in 1974, this welcome reissue of Making a Ballet is fully illustrated, and the authors also provide documentation of the famous collaborations of Petipa and Tchaikovsky, Nijinska and Goncharov and Ashton and Lanchbery.


Mary Clarke is one of Britain’s leading critics and dance historians. She has writes for the Guardian and Dancing Times (for which she was the editor) and was for many years the London editor of the New York Dance News. She is the author of many books on dance, several of which she has co-authored with Clement Crisp

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