In this memoir of a roller coaster career on the New York stage, former actor and dancer Bettijane Sills offers a highly personal look at the art and practice of George Balanchine, one of ballet's greatest choreographers, and the inner workings of his world-renowned company during its golden years. After getting her start on the stage as a child actor on Broadway, Bettijane Sills joined the New York City Ballet in 1961 as a member of the corps de ballet, working her way up to the level of soloist. As a company dancer who remained outside the spotlight that the principals enjoyed, Sills experienced a side of the company that prima ballerinas did not share in. She tells stories of taking class with Balanchine, dancing in the original casts of some of his most iconic productions, and working with some of the company's most famous dancers. Winningly honest and intimate, Sills lets readers in on the secrets of a world that most people have never seen firsthand. She reveals mistakes she made, the unglamorous parts of tour life, jealousy among company members, and Balanchine's complex relationships with women. She talks about Balanchine's insistence on thinness in his dancers and how her own struggles with weight ended her dancing career. Now a professor of dance who has educated thousands of students on Balanchine's style and legacy, Sills reflects on the highs and lows of a career indelibly influenced by the bright lights of theater and by the man who shaped American ballet.
About the Author
Bettijane Sills is professor of dance at Purchase College, State University of New York. She danced with the New York City Ballet from 1961 to 1972, first as a corps member and later as a soloist.