Choreographer George Balanchine discovered her. Yul Brynner romanced her. Genius artists designed sets and costumes for her. She danced for King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, Adolf Hitler and Josef Goebbels—who introduced themselves backstage. This memoir by the elegant octogenarian Irina Baranova celebrates a remarkable life in the arts. Born to privilege in 1919, Irina fled with her family from the Bolsheviks to an impoverished life in Bucharest, Romania. Despite their circumstances, Irina’s mother managed ballet lessons for her daughter and the family moved to Paris, where Irina debuted with the Paris Opera at age 12. Spotted by the legendary choreographer George Balanchine, she was selected for the Ballet Russes de Monte Carlo at age 13 and toured more than 100 cities around the world. Her husband, London theatrical agent Cecil Tennant, introduced her to a “who’s who” of the stage and screen, and her circle of friends and associates included Marlene Dietrich, Clark Gable, Grace Kelly, Marilyn Monroe, Pablo Picasso, Salvadore Dali, and Marc Chagall as well as ballet legends such as Rudolf Nureyev, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and Margot Fonteyn. Her funny and moving memoir is not merely the story of a starry life but also about her remarkable instinct for surviving wars, heartbreak, and loss and her fulfillment as a wife and mother of three. Featuring beautiful photos and memorabilia from the world of dance, stage, and screen as well as a foreword by leading British dance critic Clement Crisp, this book will appeal to readers with a passion for the arts and life.
Biographies & Memoirs, Arts & Literature, Dancers,