The Mak­ing of Markova

  • From the Publisher
May 13, 2013
She learned about fash­ion from Coco Chanel, was a muse to chore­o­g­ra­ph­er George Bal­an­chine, and rubbed elbows with Picas­so and Matisseall by the age of 14. That was quite a feat for a frail, painful­ly shy Jew­ish girl born with foot and leg defor­mi­ties. The life of bal­let leg­end Ali­cia Marko­va (19102004) is as improb­a­ble as it is remark­able, with a career span­ning 1920s Monte Car­lo, 1930s Lon­don, and the war years tra­vers­ing the Unit­ed States, which she would come to call home. An amaz­ing child dance prodi­gy, the British Lil­ian Ali­cia Marks (renamed Marko­va by Sergei Diaghilev at his famed Bal­lets Russ­es) became not only the most acclaimed clas­si­cal bal­le­ri­na of her gen­er­a­tionand a much-loved world­wide celebri­tybut also the first open­ly Jew­ish pri­ma bal­le­ri­na in his­to­ry. To reach that lofty posi­tion she would have to over­come oppres­sive anti-Semi­tism, pover­ty, jeal­ousy, sex­ism, and prej­u­dices against her eth­nic looks. This is the spell­bind­ing sto­ry of a smart, self-reliant and adven­tur­ous woman, both proud­ly Jew­ish and far ahead of her times. 

Discussion Questions