Dancing from the Heart: A Memoir

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McClelland & Stewart, 2000 - Biography & Autobiography - 284 pages
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Frank Augustyn is a pioneer. The first male graduate of the National Ballet School to become an international dance star, he has performed, both as a principal with the National Ballet of Canada and as a guest artist, in all the dance capitals of the world. Through the late 1970s and the early 1980s, his legendary partnership with Karen Kain was one of the great treasures of Canadian ballet. Their partnership earned them the nickname “The Gold Dust Twins,” referring not only to their stunning artistry, but also to their extraordinary power to draw unprecedented and enthusiastic audiences everywhere they danced. Frank Augustyn’s years at the National Ballet (1970-1989) were exciting ones for the company as well. These were the years of Rudolf Nureyev’s landmark production of The Sleeping Beauty, and years that saw Frank Augustyn working with some of the great luminaries of dance: Erik Bruhn, Sir Frederick Ashton, Glen Tetley, Rudi van Dantzig, Hans van Manen, Maurice Béjart, and, of course, Nureyev himself – who would have a profound influence on Augustyn. Opening with his childhood in working-class Hamilton, Ontario, Dancing from the Heart is Augustyn’s account of his active dancing career, and his perspective on Canadian ballet. With humour, insight, and an appreciation of the art form, he talks about fighting the prevailing attitude in Canada that said “real men don’t dance,” and explains the trials and tribulations that the male dancer must sometimes endure at the hands of his ballerinas. He tells lively and revealing stories about the companies, dancers, and choreographers he has known and worked with, and he reflects on marriage, fatherhood, and his post-dance career as a TV producer (Footnotes), as a teacher, and as artistic director of the Ottawa Ballet.

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