the Man and his Choreography
by Ashley Killar
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Pub Date 28 Nov 2022 | Archive Date 26 Jan 2023
Ashley Killar trained at the Royal Ballet School, starting his career with John Cranko at Stuttgart Ballet. Cranko’s work inspired Ashley throughout his career with Scottish Ballet, Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet and as artistic director of Napac Dance Company and the Royal New Zealand Ballet. Students from Killar’s vocational ballet school in Sydney dance in companies around the world. Now Ashley brings the man, the mentor, to life in a unique biography that takes the reader into Cranko's world.
Shortly after the New York Times had hailed John Cranko’s achievement as 'The German Ballet Miracle', his death mid-Atlantic deprived the world of one of its greatest choreographers. After leaving his native South Africa at seventeen, never to return, Cranko quickly became a resident choreographer with the Royal Ballet. He collaborated closely with luminaries such as Benjamin Britten and John Piper and encouraged the young Kenneth MacMillan. Tirelessly innovative, he devised a hit musical revue, Cranks as well as perennial favourites such as Pineapple Poll. His charm and wit endeared him to colleagues and royalty alike, but in the late 1950s his star began to wane. This, and a much-publicised scandal, drove Cranko to leave England for Germany. There, his work as director and choreographer of the Stuttgart Ballet enjoyed phenomenal success in USA, Russia and Europe. Fifty years after his tragically early death, Cranko’s story ballets continue to enrich ballet audiences around the world.
The author danced in the Stuttgart Ballet’s premieres of Cranko’s Onegin, Romeo and Juliet and many more. Lavishly illustrated with rare photographs, the book contains Cranko’s personal letters and extensive reference material. It brings the reader surprising insights into the life and work of a truly exceptional man of theatre.
Ashley explains: "During a Stuttgart Ballet reunion it struck me that the unique atmosphere of Cranko’s company had persisted for over forty years. What was it that made his spirit live on? I decided that I must answer that question. Although Cranko was well known for his big story ballets, more people should know about his other works, as well the amazing achievements of his short but fascinating life."
A Note From the Publisher
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 1 member
This book, CRANKO, is a beautiful memoir of John Cranko, Ballet Choreographer extraordinaire, written by Ashley Killar. Amazing that his parents upon seeing the Ballet Russes, influenced Cranko on to his career. Mr. Cranko worked with the best in the ballet field! I love that he choreographed for the entire company, rather than only on soloists. This is a lovely, almost documentary, on Cranko's life, talent and influence. Anyone who loves ballet history MUST read this book. Thank you to Netgalley and Matador Publishing for the ARC. I loved This Book!