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Jerome Robbins: A Life in Dance


Jewish Lives, Jewish Lives Series, Jewish Biography, Jewish History, Jewish Culture, Jewish Books, Biography books, Top selling books, Jewish Book, Bestselling biographies, Best biography books, Judaism, Jewish, King David, Jacob, King Solomon, Rabbi Akiva, Moses, Peggy Guggenheim, Mark Rothko, Leonard Bernstein, Bernard Berenson, Sarah Bernhardt, Barbra Streisand, Groucho Marx, Hank Greenberg, Steven Spielberg, Louis Brandeis, Disraeli, Leon Blum, Ben-Gurion, Jabotinsky, Moshe Dayan, Walter Rathenau, Leon Trotsky, Emma Goldman, Yitzhak Rabin, Marcel Proust, Lillian Hellman, Primo Levi, Franz Kafka, Hayyim Nahman Bialik, Rav Kook, Moses Mendelssohn, Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud

Jerome Robbins: A Life in Dance

Jerome-Robbins (002).jpg
Jerome-Robbins (002).jpg

Jerome Robbins: A Life in Dance


By Wendy Lesser
Published October, 9, 2018
216 pages

“A compact and incisive portrait” —Kirkus Reviews

A lively and inspired biography celebrating the centennial of this master choreographer, dancer, and stage director

Jerome Robbins (1918–1998) was born Jerome Wilson Rabinowitz and grew up in Weehawken, New Jersey, where his Russian-Jewish immigrant parents owned the Comfort Corset Company. Robbins, who was drawn to dance at a young age, resisted the idea of joining the family business. In 1936 he began working with Gluck Sandor, who ran a dance group and convinced him to change his name to Jerome Robbins. He went on to become a choreographer and director who worked in ballet, on Broadway, and in film. His stage productions include West Side Story, Peter Pan, and Fiddler on the Roof. In this deft biography, Wendy Lesser presents Jerome Robbins’s life through his major dances, providing a sympathetic, detailed portrait of her subject.

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About the Author

Wendy Lesser is the founder and editor of The Threepenny Review and the author of a novel and ten previous books of nonfiction, including the widely acclaimed You Say to Brick: The Life of Louis Kahn. She has written for the New York Times Book Review, the New York Review of Books, the London Review of Books, and other publications.

Author photograph © Anne Wagner


"This brisk biography . . . is light and bright, utterly persuaded by its subject and intoxicatingly in love with movement." —New York Times Book Review

“Wendy Lesser’s new biography deftly introduces readers to her complex subject and his many remarkable creative achievements.” —Wall Street Journal

“Lesser intelligently and critically examines his work. Her writing inspires an exciting dialogue with the reader—and with Robbins’s art and process—that makes you feel up close and inside his dances.” —Pam Tanowitz

“Wendy Lesser’s book is a brief but concentrated look at the excellent and varied work of a complicated artist. . .This book answers questions I didn’t know I had. It is a fascinating and generous point of view.” —Mark Morris

“Through her own unique lens as a literary critic and writer with a strong appreciation for dance, Wendy Lesser presents a rich, unexpected portrait of Jerome Robbins. Lesser’s delicately crafted book is a boon to the study of Robbins and dance criticism.” —Emily Coates, Yale University

"This brief but carefully researched biography (part of the Jewish Lives series) builds a persuasive case for the importance of Jerome Robbins’s career as a choreographer . . . . An evenhanded portrait." —Publishers Weekly

"This slim volume . . . drills down to the essential core of a complicated man. . . . In a skillful blend of personal biography and professional profile, Lesser reminds us of Robbins’ place in twentieth-century dance and theater and fosters a new appreciation for his legacy." —Booklist