Junot Diaz is a Chatty Character, Who Knew?!

Look what Maud Newton found. Apparently, Google has a whole series of authors reading from their books and giving little lectures available for viewing on YouTube. The video embedded in Maud’s post is of Junot Diaz, whose collection of short stories, Drown, I loved, and whose new novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, I’m dying to read. Funny how chatty he is; often authors are so shy and introverted. He reads very slowly too, so you can get all the details. Many authors read fast, probably because of the shyness… There are other authors too: Jonathan Lethem, Jeffrey Toobin, Alex Ross… The series makes me very happy because I used to go to a lot of readings, but since I’ve taken to spending my evenings for the past couple of years at either dance performances or dancing myself, I’ve really missed them.

A couple of other things on the net recently: Laura Jacobs has an article about ABT dancer Veronika Part’s “Sleeping Beauty” out in The New Criterion, which isn’t available online for free, but James Wolcott has substantial quotes from it on his Vanity Fair blog. I’m currently reading Jacobs’s Landscape With Moving Figures, a collection of her dance writing in New Criterion covering about a 10-year period, and the first thing I noticed is how poetic she is when speaking about individual dancers. She talks about them so beautifully; it’s like they’re her muses. She has a chapter called “Assoluta,” which is about then current (2004) ballerina assolutas, or prima ballerinas, and she has a lengthy section on Part there. She describes Part as “a snow princess… (with) white white skin, black hair, a young Ava Gardner, a big white rose … (with) lotus-blossom aplomb, … (an) ivory-sceptor extension … pacific delicacy in the wrists and hands” and she calls Part’s developpe (slow lift of the leg, first by the thigh, then extending up and out as the knee straightens) as “not a step … but a glory,” that “comes up like a law of nature, almost animal, and stays like light.” Anyway, go here to read her writing on Part’s Sleeping Beauty.

Also, Ariel has posted several interviews she conducted with four New York City Ballet dancers when they guested recently with her hometown company, Mobile Ballet. The interviews are here and here and here and here.

Finally, there’s an interesting discussion going on between writers, bloggers, and readers about what the internet means for the future of dance journalism. See the comments section here.

And speaking of such, Doug has begun a new blog within his Great Dance blog devoted to dance reviews for each region. He’s started with New York. Anyone who’s written a review may submit.


  1. Thanks for linking to my interviews! I hope you enjoy them! :-)

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