Robert Gottlieb - Quotes

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One of the eternal mysteries of ballet is how untalented choreographers find backers for their work, and then find good dancers to perform in it. Is it irresistible charm? Chutzpah? Pure determination? Blackmail? Or are so many supposedly knowledgeable people just plain blind? ---->>>

The man Dickens, whom the world at large thought it knew, stood for all the Victorian virtues - probity, kindness, hard work, sympathy for the down-trodden, the sanctity of domestic life - even as his novels exposed the violence, hypocrisy, greed, and cruelty of the Victorian age.

The man Dickens, whom the world at large thought it knew, stood for all the Victorian virtues - probity, kindness, hard work, sympathy for the down-trodden, the sanctity of domestic life - even as his novels exposed the violence, hypocrisy, greed, and cruelty of the Victorian age.

Who would have thought that a tap-dancing penguin would outpoint James Bond at the box office? And deserve to? Not that there's anything wrong with 'Casino Royale.' But 'Happy Feet' - written and directed by George Miller - is a complete charmer, even if, in the way of most family fare, it can't resist straying into the Inspirational.

Who would have thought that a tap-dancing penguin would outpoint James Bond at the box office? And deserve to? Not that there's anything wrong with 'Casino Royale.' But 'Happy Feet' - written and directed by George Miller - is a complete charmer, even if, in the way of most family fare, it can't resist straying into the Inspirational.

In 1998, Vanity Fair asked me to write a big piece for them on the 50th anniversary of the New York City Ballet. My life, to a great extent, had been spent at and with the New York City Ballet, and I decided to try it. It was very scary, writing about something I loved so much and had such strong opinions about. ---->>>

At a certain point, you have to face the fact that you've turned into an old fart. ---->>>

How the English love playing at being naughty boys! ---->>>

'Black Swan' does what Hollywood movies have always done - it spends its energies on getting some surface things right while getting everything important wrong. Darren Aronofsky, the director, applies the same techniques and the same sensibility here as he did with 'The Wrestler,' only with a prettier protagonist.

'Black Swan' does what Hollywood movies have always done - it spends its energies on getting some surface things right while getting everything important wrong. Darren Aronofsky, the director, applies the same techniques and the same sensibility here as he did with 'The Wrestler,' only with a prettier protagonist.

The first time the Kirov ballet was seen in America was on Sept. 11, 1961. The ballet was 'Swan Lake.' The ballerina was Inna Zubkovskaya. The place was the old Met, on what must have been one of the hottest nights of the year, and there was no air-conditioning. ---->>>

'Beloved Renegade' is a meditation on Walt Whitman, on tenderness, on dying. ---->>>

The Iron Curtain may be a thing of the past, but Mother Russia is as mysterious as ever. ---->>>

When December comes, can 'The Nutcracker' be far behind? No, it can't - not in America, anyway. ---->>>

City Ballet has to develop choreographers of stature and a new approach to coaching before everything we value about it fades away and, in the great tradition of the Cheshire Cat, there's nothing left but Peter Martins' smile. ---->>>

'Eclipse' is a concept piece, and its concept centers on 36 large light bulbs strung from above in a geometrical pattern and at different heights, some of them at times down below the dancers' chest level. ---->>>

Paul Taylor's 'Offenbach Overtures' has lots of zip and charm, and its pair of dueling soldiers in red, who end up starry-eyed about each other while their disgusted seconds take up the quarrel, is nonstop funny. ---->>>

What 'War and Peace' is to the novel and 'Hamlet' is to the theater, Swan Lake' is to ballet - that is, the name which to many people stands for and sums up an art form. ---->>>

You can approach 'The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death' in a variety or combination of ways: as a startlingly eccentric hobby; as a series of unresolved murder mysteries; as the manifestation of one woman's peculiar psychic life; as a lesson in forensics; as a metaphor for the fate of women; as a photographic study. ---->>>

There are a few writers whose lives and personalities are so large, so fascinating, that there's no such thing as a boring biography of them - you can read every new one that comes along, good or bad, and be caught up in the story all over again. ---->>>

You can usually tell how healthy a ballet company is by the degree of your interest in the middle ranks of the dancers - the not-yet stars, the up-and-comers. ---->>>

The first movement ballerina should be a paradigm of strength and authority. ---->>>

There are certain historical figures of such importance that we need to know everything about them, which is why books about Napoleon, Lincoln, Julius Caesar, Joan of Arc, Queen Elizabeth I, and the great religious founders continue to proliferate; these lives require constant reevaluation and interpretation. ---->>>

How do you rate works of genius? Partly by personal inclination, partly by accepted wisdom, partly by popularity. ---->>>

As an editor, I have to be tactful, of course. ---->>>

Ballet is like any other art form in that we all start out knowing nothing about it. ---->>>

Blood is the leitmotif of 'Black Swan.' ---->>>

Most famous stage actors tactfully fade away. ---->>>

'Ocean's Kingdom' is a fairy story with no subtext, no resonance - it's not about anything except its water-logged plot. ---->>>

One of the odder byways of nonfiction is the dishy memoir by those who have served the great or the near-great. ---->>>

Some readers took 'Heaven's My Destination' as a satire on Christianity and the Midwest, but today it reads like a loving comedy. ---->>>

The 1920s brought not only the Charleston but the flat chest. ---->>>

The early giants of modern dance - Isadora Duncan, Ruth St. Denis - barely left traces of their art. ---->>>

The eternal and uneasy relationship between ballet and modern dance endures, but radically altered in tone and intensity. ---->>>

The finest chroniclers of the great and the near-great have often been courtiers - the Duc de Saint-Simon, for instance, or Lady Murasaki. ---->>>

Twyla Tharp set her sights on ballet, and ballet, hungry for major talent, succumbed. ---->>>

Wayne McGregor's 'Dyad 1929' is a good example of this capable British choreographer's work. ---->>>

Without a Prospero-Caliban relationship to balance the Prospero-Ariel one, 'The Tempest' loses much of its resonance. ---->>>

Melissa Barak, an ex-City Ballet dancer and sometime choreographer, has put together an unspeakably dopey and incompetent mess called 'Call Me Ben,' combining ultra-generic dance, terrible dialogue and disastrous storytelling, about the founding of Las Vegas by the gangster Bugsy Siegel, who insists, violently, on being addressed as 'Ben.' ---->>>

Ballet in September used to be dead as a dodo. Now, with City Ballet's ingenious decision to give us four weeks of repertory in the early fall, having cut down on the relentlessly long spring season when dancers, critics and audiences droop on the vine, we wake up after the dog days of August with something to look at. ---->>>

'Eclipse' is overlong and overly self-conscious, but it isn't a fake or a zero; it just gets exhausting. It raises a crucial question: 'When does Concept morph into Gimmick?' ---->>>

The best seat in the house often depends on the ballet. For instance, much of the first act of 'The Nutcracker' is domestic and small scale, so it's great to sit up close. But the second act features elaborate scenery and choreography, which are better to observe from a distance. ---->>>

Yes, bad or mediocre ballets can be useful to the dancers and temporarily fun for the audience, but in the long run, the lowering of standards can only erode the art form we all love. ---->>>

Editing is simply the application of the common sense of any good reader. That's why, to be an editor, you have to be a reader. It's the number one qualification. ---->>>

I was the only child, and I know my father had certain thoughts about me. He was a lawyer and extremely literary, but he would have been much happier if I had wanted to be a lawyer, a scientist, an engineer. But what I wanted to do was read. ---->>>

Larry Hart and Dick Rodgers were both bright Jewish boys from Manhattan who at one point or another went to Columbia, but there the similarity in their backgrounds ends. ---->>>

Martha Graham, along with George Balanchine, is one of the two commanding figures in 20th-century American dance. For those much younger than I am, her genius as a performer will have to be taken on faith - and on the always-suspect evidence of film. What will last, if things go well, is her genius as a choreographer, as a woman of the theater. ---->>>

Paris, as always, is swarming with Americans, and these days, it's also swarming with hamburgers. Oddly, though, it's not typically the Americans who are pursuing the perfect burger on the perfect bun with the obligatory side of perfect coleslaw; the Americans are pursuing the perfect blanquette de veau. ---->>>

'The Sleeping Beauty' is the greatest, most challenging and most vulnerable of classical ballets. Everything can go wrong with it, and all too often, everything does. ---->>>

Tolstoy may be right about happy and unhappy families, but in ballet, it works the opposite way: All good ballets are different from each other and all bad ones are alike, at least in one crucial respect - they're all empty. ---->>>

What really matters is that 'Black Swan' deploys and exaggerates all the cliches of earlier ballet movies, especially 'The Red Shoes,' another tale of a ballerina driven mad and suicidal.

What really matters is that 'Black Swan' deploys and exaggerates all the cliches of earlier ballet movies, especially 'The Red Shoes,' another tale of a ballerina driven mad and suicidal.

With literary fiction, generally a film maker falls in love with a book. In commercial fiction, it's a producer or studio falling in love with a book they can make into a movie with worldwide appeal. ---->>>

You have to surrender to a book. If you do, when something in it seems to be going askew, you are wounded. The more you have surrendered to a book, the more jarring its errors appear. ---->>>

Controversy sells books. ---->>>

Gelsey Kirkland has had more than her share of demons, as her two distressing memoirs - and her violently checkered career - attest. ---->>>

Twyla Tharp is not going to take orders from anyone, not even Mozart! ---->>>

We know that Diana Vishneva is a phenomenon of strength and style, and she certainly has earned the right to stretch her talents as best she can. ---->>>

'A Midsummer Night's Dream' is one of George Balanchine's greatest creations - and one of the greatest of all story ballets. ---->>>

A steady diet of the higher truths might prove exhausting, but it's important that we acknowledge their validity and celebrate their survival. ---->>>

Acting has changed since the nineteen-forties. ---->>>

All ballet galas are unbearable, but they're unbearable in different ways. ---->>>

Ballerinas are often divided into three categories: jumpers, turners and balancers. ---->>>

Ballet companies have their ups and downs, just like the rest of us. ---->>>

Ballet Hispanico is far from Irish, and, though it has strong dancers, its Spanishness has always left me unconvinced. ---->>>

Charles Dickens left us fifteen novels, and in an ideal world, everyone would read all of them. ---->>>

Choreographers, historically, are born, not made - their talents drive them to it. ---->>>

City Ballet remains a great company in perpetual artistic crisis. ---->>>

Classics are constantly being re-imagined and transformed, and the originals are none the worse for it; they endure. ---->>>

Dance stories, unlike those in opera, are usually simple. ---->>>

Dance Theatre of Harlem has done a lot of good things well, a lot of good things badly, and a lot of bad things - it doesn't matter how. ---->>>

Diana Vishneva is not only a magnificent dancer but a magnificent actress - no one works harder or understands more. ---->>>

Either 'Deuce Coupe' has aged badly, or I have. I suspect it's the latter. ---->>>

Every great dance company, even when it seems poised in perfect balance, needs constant renewal of both repertory and performers. ---->>>

For me, the real pleasure in writing is in having an excuse to pursue my curiosity about people who have meant something to me. ---->>>

'Happy Feet' has many felicities. ---->>>

Has there ever been a dance career with more ups and downs than Twyla Tharp's? Or with more varied ambitions? Or larger ambition? ---->>>

I can almost always read a new manuscript overnight. ---->>>

I can't claim to 'understand' 'Byzantium,' if any dance work can be 'understood,' but whenever I see it, I sense that it's charged with meaning. ---->>>

I don't like writing - it's so difficult to say what you mean. It's much easier to edit other people's writing and help them say what they mean. ---->>>

I first read 'An American Tragedy' in college, and in my entire life I had never read anything so painful. ---->>>

I hated Matthew Bourne's 'Swan Lake' when it first turned up, and then when it was televised, and then when it returned. ---->>>

I have no problem selling ebooks for authors directly as an agent, but partnering with them is another matter. ---->>>

If Tom Clancy didn't write any Op-Centers, he would be $60 million less rich. ---->>>

If you like being battered, the work of Savion Glover - one-time child prodigy - should be up your alley. I don't, and it isn't up mine. ---->>>

In Georgia, apparently, men are men and women are women - at least in their folk dance. ---->>>

In today's world, it never looks good when you're suing somebody who earned $20,000 for writing a book over a period of a year or two. ---->>>

Increasingly, editing means going to lunch. It means editing with a credit card, not with a pencil. ---->>>

It's a crapshoot, publishing. ---->>>

It's always fascinating - and sometimes a little disquieting - when two first-rate critics violently disagree. ---->>>

Ladies: You have to support an infant with a hand under its head. ---->>>

Like all editors, I assume, I'm a reactor. ---->>>

Many people say to me, particularly about my dance writing, 'It sounds just like you.' But it sounds just like me after I've made it sound like me. ---->>>

Most writers are vulnerable and insecure, and Kay Graham was more so than most. ---->>>

'Neverwhere,' by Benjamin Millepied, is set to his favorite composer, Nico Muhly. ---->>>

No agent/publisher is in a position to create across a spectrum of media and distribution what major publishers can accomplish for authors. ---->>>

Nobody could call the work of Noche Flamenca & Soledad Barrio pallid. ---->>>

Nothing is harder to create than brilliant comic ballets, except maybe brilliant full-evening comic ballets. ---->>>

Of the great singing stars of the 1940s and '50s, only one - Nat King Cole - died young, at age 45. ---->>>

Once, Pina Bausch was about something, however disagreeable. ---->>>

'Paquita' has a patchy history, beginning in 1846, and a patchy plot. ---->>>

Raimund Hoghe is a little man with a spinal deformity who was once Pina Bausch's dramaturge. ---->>>

Remember: TV is a format, film is a format, and books are a format. ---->>>

Schumann's 'Quintet in E flat for Piano and Strings' is one of the sublime moments in Romantic music. ---->>>

Shakespeare has always been up for grabs, and choreographers have every right to use him any way they choose. ---->>>

The best thing you can say about Hubbard Street is that if you were a dancer, this is a company you'd fight to get into. ---->>>

The heart of the classical repertory is the Tchaikovsky-Petipa 'Sleeping Beauty,' and no ballet is harder to get right. ---->>>

The Kirov is a great ballet company because it has so many terrific dancers, but it doesn't always know what to do with them. ---->>>

'The Leaves Are Fading' had something of a vogue when Antony Tudor made it in 1975, largely because of Gelsey Kirkland's ravishing performance. ---->>>

The mysteries and scandals of the Kremlin are nothing compared to the mysteries and scandals of the Bolshoi. ---->>>

There is no consolation for anyone in the Scott Peterson story, and no final illumination. ---->>>

There's no point pretending that all of Martha Graham's pieces are equally strong. ---->>>

We know how Merce Cunningham works and how he thinks - we've been told, over and over again, by him and by others. ---->>>

We see a new generation of Russian authors who are not divided from their Western contemporaries either culturally or philosophically. ---->>>

What guarantees - or at least semi-guarantees - good ballets is good choreographers, and they are thin on the ground. ---->>>

What makes a publishing house great? The easy answer is the consistency with which it produces books of value over a lengthy period of time. ---->>>

When you can't follow a ballet's action, you can always read the program notes. ---->>>

Writing happened to me. I didn't decide to start writing or to be a writer. I never wanted to be a writer. ---->>>

You may feel that Peter Martins' 'Beauty' is too compressed and inexpressive, but it's loyal to the text. ---->>>

Young women today, as in the fifties, find themselves entering the big world and having to make choices. ---->>>

'River of Light,' to a dense but powerful score commissioned from Charles Wuorinen and with ravishing lighting by Mark Stanley, has depth and resonance. ---->>>

Almost the first thing you see after entering the Houdini exhibition at the Jewish Museum is a large-screen film of Harry Houdini hanging by his ankles upside-down from a tall building, high over a sea of men in fedoras, and thrashing his way out of a straitjacket. ---->>>

Despite the rigid classicism of the famous Paris Opera school and company, the French have done more than their share to unmoor la Danse from its traditions and standards. ---->>>

The cows in Stella Gibbons's immortal 'Cold Comfort Farm' are named Graceless, Aimless, Feckless and Pointless, and that more or less is the verdict on 'Ocean's Kingdom,' the wildly hyped and wildly uninteresting collaboration between Peter Martins and Paul McCartney. ---->>>

A lot of people have a lot of faith in Karole Armitage. They see her as bold, inventive, indefatigable. 'America isn't working out? There's always Europe. Ballet? No? Go modern. Keep going! Show 'em!' ---->>>

After all these years of saying the same thing about the Alvin Ailey company - terrific dancers, awful repertory - I'm finally accepting the inevitable: I'm not going to change my mind, and they're not going to change their ways. And why should they, given their juggernaut success all over the world? ---->>>

As for the once-revolutionary 'Agon,' after more than half a century, its lessons and revelations have been so absorbed into the language of ballet that it now seems almost conventional. ---->>>

As ye sow, so shall ye reap. When a ballet company spends a lot of money on gimmicky pieces, it's stuck with them for a while - they have to earn their keep. ---->>>

Audiences love Paul Taylor, and so do I. Not everything, and not always, but year in, year out, he gives me more concentrated pleasure than I get from any other dance company. ---->>>

Ballet Hispanico is a mixture of ethnic, ballet, social, jazz - you name it, it's doing it. The company has been going strong for more than 20 years, and you can see why: It may not be refined, but it's full of beans. ---->>>

Dickens was born in 1812 and died in 1870, having produced fifteen novels, many of which can confidently be called great, as well as having accomplished outstanding work in activities into which his insatiable need to expend his vast energies - to achieve, to prevail - carried him: journalism, editing, acting, social reform. ---->>>

Editing requires you to be always open, always responding. It is very important, for example, not to allow yourself to want the writer to write a certain kind of book. Sometimes that's hard. ---->>>

'Empty Moves' is elegantly and coolly inventive. Two pairs of dancers shadow each other in slow, deliberate rearrangements and manipulations of legs and torsos, only occasionally switching partners or breaking free of the formal patterning. ---->>>

For Russians, to whom Pushkin's poem 'Eugene Onegin' is sacred text, the ballet's story and personae are as familiar and filled with meaning as, for instance, 'Romeo' and 'Hamlet' are for us. Russians know whole stretches of it by heart, the way we know Shakespeare and Italians know Dante. ---->>>

How can educated and sophisticated viewers react so differently to a work of art? Is it just Kulture Klash? No, since most of the time there's no Klash at all. On the occasions when we disagree, it may be because we're looking for different things in dance. ---->>>

I can't remember how many years it's been since I last saw a David Parsons program or what I saw whenever it was, but that isn't surprising, since I can't really remember the first half of a David Parsons program while I'm watching the second half. ---->>>

In my view, the ebook world for both established and new authors is a terrific new and exciting format. It is a format that will bring forth many new writers to publishing. ---->>>

In traditional 'Swan Lakes,' it's Prince Siegfried's 21st-birthday celebration, his coming-of-age. The entire court, from his mother the Queen on down, is on hand. ---->>>

It's often the case that the most strained moments in books are the very beginning and the very end - the getting in and the getting out. The ending, especially: it's awkward, as if the writer doesn't know when the book is over and nervously says it all again. ---->>>

Jodi Melnick is hotly self-absorbed. Her onstage musicians are much too loud, and like so many narcissistic performers, she goes on much too long: She's interested in herself; why wouldn't we be? ---->>>

Just as I was turning fifteen, in the spring of 1946, my parents took me to see 'The Glass Menagerie,' well into its year-long run. I had seen a number of shows on Broadway by then, but nothing like this - because there was nothing like this on Broadway. ---->>>

'Porgy and Bess' has never been thought of as a dance show, and yet it's filled with dance. It uses dance to punctuate the action, or as background, or as atmosphere; even when it's front and center, it isn't crucial. ---->>>

'Seven Sonatas,' with its flowing series of meetings between men and women in an identifiable emotional world, is in the mould of Jerome Robbins' glorious 'Dances at a Gathering.' ---->>>

Soledad Barrio is clearly a master - of thrilling steps and passionate movement. She stalks, she circles, she struts, she snaps her head - her feet drill the stage. ---->>>

The mystery of Christopher Wheeldon deepens. Yes, he's the most talented of the younger ballet choreographers - indeed, where's the competition? Yes, he's particularly good at nurturing dancers and identifying their essential qualities. ---->>>

We all need each other in publishing to make publishing work for authors in a variety of formats now and in the future. Anyone who thinks publishers don't bring anything to the table has a very narrow view and lack of knowledge about the industry as a whole. ---->>>

When I was at Cambridge in the early fifties, there was a school nearby for training Army officers in Russian, and some imaginative genius came up with the idea of putting on Russian plays with the students to improve their language skills. ---->>>

Why movie and dance critics are taking 'The Company' seriously, I can't imagine. Are they impressed by Altman's reputation and naive sincerity? By the fluid semi-documentary approach? ---->>>

With its vastly complicated plot and its immense cast of characters swirling around the case of Jarndyce vs. Jarndyce that has been grinding away in the Court of Chancery for decades, 'Bleak House' is, for many readers, Dickens's greatest novel. ---->>>

You don't have to be a member of the New York Psychoanalytic Institute to figure out that when you title a memoir of your parents 'Them,' you're performing an act of distancing. ---->>>

Biography

Nationality: American
Born: 04-29, 1931
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Die:
Occupation: Writer
Website:

Robert Adams Gottlieb (born April 29, 1931) is an American writer and editor. He has been editor-in-chief of Simon & Schuster, Alfred A. Knopf, and The New Yorker.(wikipedia)