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Winter Season

A Dancer's Journal


Toni Bentley (View Bio)
Hardcover: Random House, 1982; Paperback: University Press of Florida, 2003.

Winter Season
A 1982 New York Times Notable Book
A Seattle Times Book of 2003

"With the Balanchine centennial upon us, now's a fine time to revisit Toni Bentley's evocative and intelligent chronicle of life at New York City Ballet." — Time Out New York

"WINTER SEASON is quite possibly the most revealing book about the world of ballet ever to see print.... Miss Bentley brings to this world of sensuality a rare degree of insight and detachment, writing about it with a touch so sure as to suggest the cat-like nuances of Colette.... Clear-eyed grace.... No matter what shape her future as a dancer may assume, she will have the lasting satisfaction of knowing that in WINTER SEASON she has written a minor classic about the strange profession she loves so passionately." — Saul Goodwin, National Review

"WINTER SEASON is as much about ambition and commitment to a demanding profession as it is about life backstage. But there is colorful detail about performances danced and observed from the wings, and about what goes on in the honeycomb of rooms backstage.... Recorded in prose that is terse, funny and vivid.... Miss Bentley comes to terms with her imperfect self, though not without painful, confusing struggle. In the process she reveals herself as a first-rate writer who promises much for the future." — Jennifer Dunning, The New York Times

"She conveys the tension between hothouse fragility and stoic pride which dominates a dancer's sensibility, and we come to understand the essentially religious dedication to her work." — The New Yorker

"Remarkable.... One of the most intelligent and introspective glimpses ever offered into one of the most competitive and excruciatingly nervous existences in the arts." — The New York Times Book Review

"A mini-marvel, impossible to put down. One wants to say of the book, 'How delightful! How refreshing!'...I cannot comment on Ms. Bentley's abilities as a dancer. But I am certain of her ability as a writer.... Toni Bentley is acutely self-aware without being self-obsessed.... As a dancer's eye portrait of the choreographer [Balanchine], the book is invaluable.... Toni Bentley is a skillful writer." — New York Review of Books

"It has been 20 years since Toni Bentley first made waves in the dance world by publishing her enthralling and pain-filled account of a season with the New York City Ballet. Yet WINTER SEASON: A Dancer's Journal, out this fall in paperback from the University Press of Florida, remains a unique and captivating journey behind the curtain of a great ballet company — and into the mind of an ambitious and conflicted young dancer. Although WINTER SEASON represents a youthful effort — Bentley has since become known as an author rather than a dancer — it is a mature piece of writing and an enduring ballet-insider story. Bentley reflects on the near-impossible standards to which a young dancer holds herself and on the craving for approval of which she is keenly self-aware. But what makes Bentley's account transcendent are two elements: Her providential timing offers a snapshot of one of the world's foremost ballet companies during the autumn of its era under genius founder and director George Balanchine. And her own insightful introspection creates drama out of her efforts to fit herself into the overarching purposes of Balanchine." — Orlando Sentinel

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