Theatre Street:
An Autobiography

Tamara Karsavina / 1961

E.P. Dutton & Co. / ASIN: B000JJPAZW (1961)

Here is another one of those "I bought it at a used-book
store when I was a college student in the 1970s" books
that I will not part with. It's a paperback, but I went
to all the trouble of heat-pressing matte paper to stiffen
the covers, and then laminated it by hand rather than break
down and buy a better copy. It's that much a part of me.

Karsavina has a stunning story to tell. Her life as a child
in pre-Revolutionary Russia, studying ballet in the famous
St. Petersburg "Theatre Street" school, dancing with Njinsky
and the first Ballet Russe, watching as Diaghileff gathered
all the young modern art wonders of music, choreography and
design together to create a Golden Age of ballet.

And there is so much more she could have told. I often go
back and read it again, hoping there was something I missed
in the first hundred or so readings. Example: when she describes
the tour to South America she lightly tosses it off with,
"Nothing interesting happened except Njinsky's wedding."

What?! The marriage that caused Diaghileff to fire him from the
the company... that eventually led to Njinsky's descent into madness
and his being hospitalized for the rest of his life? Njinsky had
been her partner in so many famous roles... so I keep reading,
in vain, hoping to find the reason she so deliberately passed him over.

weight: 14.1 ounces / volume: 308 pages

Return to Book Page