A great dancer a the height of his powers here sets down his ideas and feelings about the roles he dances. In this book, Mikhail Baryshnikov discusses the first twenty-six ballets he performed when he came to the West, from the great classics... Giselle, Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, Cappelia... to the new ballets specially created for him here.
He writes of the problems, both technical and stylistic, of each role.. what he responds to in each, where its difficulties lie, which few he feels are antipathetic to his temperament. He writes of how it feels to dance Nijinsky's roles. . Petrouchka, Le Spectre de la Rose; of the rigors and rewards of Balanchine's choreography; of working with Twyla Tharp on Push Comes to Shove, with Jerome Robbins on 'Other Dances,' with Anthony Tudor on 'Shadowplay.'
Baryshnikov discusses his need to extend himself by adapting to Western ideas of partnering, and by coming to grips with specifically American music, such as the Ellington score for 'Pas de Duke' and the Frank Sinatra records for 'Once More, Frank.' He explains how his performance as Albrecht in 'Giselle' .. perhaps his greatest role... developed; how he conceived it, what it means to him. He tells us how he work...in his mind, in rehearsal, in performance.
And accompanying the text are Martha Swope's magnificent photographs of Baryshnikov in these 26 roles: stage photographs, rehearsal photographs, and several series of unique studio photographs, including an extraordinary record of his famous solo, 'Vestris.'