On tonight’s show we were joined by author and former ballerina Toni Bentley whose new book, Serenade: A George Balanchine Story is a love letter to that particular ballet and to the vision and genius of Balanchine, the great Russian-born choreographer who began creating it upon his arrival in America in 1934.
Toni Bentley began training at Balanchine’s School of American Ballet at the age of 10. She first danced in Serenade under his direction at the New York City Ballet at 17 and performed it fifty times. She retired from dancing following a hip injury at 26, four years after the publication of her first book, Winter Season: A Dancer’s Journal. Her subsequent books include Holding on to the Air: The Autobiography of Suzanne Farrell (with Farrell), Costumes by Karinska, (about the great Russian costume designer); Sisters of Salome (a history of the modern strip tease), and The Surrender: An Erotic Memoir.