A New Biography of George Balanchine

Dwight Garner at the New York Times:

Opera is all about saying goodbye, Virgil Thomson is reputed to have said, and ballet is all about saying hello.

In “Mr. B,” a sensitive, stately and often thrilling new biography of the Russian-born choreographer George Balanchine, Jennifer Homans finds a bittersweet tone to capture Balanchine’s many leave-takings — the way he was chased, as if he were Chaplin’s Tramp, across the first half of the 20th century.

When World War I arrived, Balanchine was a young dance student in czarist Russia. Three years later, at 13, he was forced to scavenge for food when the revolution disrupted his life. He spent the interwar years shuffling between Weimar Berlin, before Hitler put an end to that decadent and creative intellectual milieu, and Paris, Monte Carlo and London.

more here.