False Gods

The Good Apprentice

by Iris Murdoch
In The Good Apprentice, Iris Murdoch’s twenty-second novel, the hero learns one of life’s most painful lessons: how the gods of youth turn out to be false. Real gods never make an appearance in The Good Apprentice but we are provided with several self-styled magicians deluded into believing they might …

Street Moves

The Dancer and the Dance: Merce Cunningham in Conversation with Jacqueline Lesschaeve

Merce Cunningham Dance Company

November 30–December 6, 1985, Joyce Theater, New York
I first saw Merce Cunningham in a dance class at Bennington College in the summer of 1941, a period that now seems to me as remote as that of the Napoleonic wars. Martha Graham (in whose company he then danced) kindly allowed me to watch classes. I was at the …

A Night at the Palace

After I’d checked in at the hotel and got to my room, I was surprised to find the Queen of the Palace, Leona M. Helmsley, dressed up as Whistler’s mother, esconced in a rocker and watching TV. Alarmed, I reached for the phone, but she said, with a smile. “I …

Spoils of War

The Balkan Trilogy: Vol. I, The Great Fortune, Vol. II, The Spoilt City, Vol. III, Friends and Heroes

by Olivia Manning

The Levant Trilogy: Vol. I, The Danger Tree, Vol. II, The Battle Lost and Won, Vol. III, The Sum of Things

by Olivia Manning
Wars have a momentum of their own and a tendency to destroy the very thing they set out to preserve or to gain. Each starts out as something vast—a reflection of the society that concocts it—only to become a vastness in itself. Masterpieces have been written that illustrate the point, …

An Interview with Ricardo

“Maynard Keynes [is]…with Smith, Marx, and possibly Ricardo, one of the three or four greatest economists who ever lived.” —John Kenneth Galbraith, The New York Review of Books, November 22, 1984 SCENE: A dressing room at the Teatro Galicia in Barcelona, scantily furnished with a couch, a few chairs, …

Balanchine after Balanchine

Liebeslieder Walzer

choreography by George Balanchine. for the New York City Ballet, music by Johannes Brahms, staged by Karin von Aroldingen. at The New York State Theater
When Balanchine died last year, the question of what would happen to the vast repertory that bears his name became a matter of immediate concern. No one doubted the great pieces would still be danced—but how often, how well, and by whom? And what would happen to the important work …

Real Guys

The Paul Taylor Dance Company

at The City Center Theater, New York City March 20–April 15, 1984
Historic evenings of dance exist in the imagination—Nijinsky’s Faun, Ulanova’s Swan, the première of Le Sacre…were they really as extraordinary, as breathtaking, as scandalous as legend would have us believe? I attended one such occasion on the evening of May 14, 1959, when Martha Graham and George Balanchine “collaborated” for …

The Rites of Martha Graham

Martha Graham Dance Company 1984

at the New York State Theater, Lincoln Center February 28–March 18,
To produce a version of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring at the age of ninety is so unlikely a prospect that Martha Graham’s life has taken on an aspect of her work—triumph wrested against odds, whether of time or fate. Graham seems more and more like her chosen heroines, more …