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Monday, August 16, 2010

Dancing Into The Unknown by Tamara Tchinarova Finch

My drawing of a ballerina.

A gypsy told the ballerina, Tamara Tchinarova Finch, that she would travel, learn other languages, and people of different nationalities would applaud her work. Finch was only very young at the time, but she remembered the gypsy's words all of her life. They came true.

Finch was a 'Baby Ballerina' with the Ballets Russes, toured Europe, America, and Australia, and eventually married the great actor, Peter Finch. Her lively personality matches her joyful dancing, and she tells a riveting tale in this book which reads like a novel.

Life was difficult for Finch and her mother, a poor Romanian living in Paris. Her mother was very strong - she left Finch's father and refused to go back to Communist Russia with him. It was a very prescient decision but she had to make ballet shoes so that her talented daughter could have ballet lessons. Life was tough.

Soon Finch toured with the Ballets Russes - her mother went with her as chaperone. This is probably the most interesting part of the book because the ballerina came into contact with such interesting people. They included Nijinska, Danilova, and Chaliapin.

She lived in Australia during the war and met Peter Finch there. Finch doesn't give Australians a good write-up. She found them mostly hard-drinking, blunt and crude. I think that if she'd associated with different people, she might have had a different picture of us.

She and her husband, Peter Finch, went back to England to further his career. When he got the chance to go to Hollywood to make movies, his drinking and Vivien Leigh helped to ruin the marriage. The book has a lot of information about Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier and it gives a strange picture of Olivier.

Some ballet books are very dry, but this one certainly isn't. I was sorry to finish it!

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