The Dancer Within is a collection of photographic portraits and short essays based on confessional interviews with forty dancers and entertainers, many of them world-famous. Well-known on the concert stage, on Broadway, in Hollywood musicals, and on television, the personalities featured in this book speak with extraordinary candor about all stages of the dancer’s life—from their first dance class to their signature performances and their days of reflection on the artist’s life. The Dancer Within reveals how these artists triumphed, but also how they overcame adversity, including self-doubt, injuries, and aging. Most of all, this book is about the courage, commitment, love, and passion of these performers in their quest for artistic excellence. The reader will quickly realize that “the dancer within” is a metaphor of the human spirit.
Photographer and author Eichenbaum trains her lens on 40 dancers in this collection of photographs, short essays and interviews. She covers a wide range of artists, from the worlds of Hollywood, Broadway, ballet and modern dance. While some, such as Rasta Thomas and Ethan Stiefel, are young, most are veterans Rita Moreno, Cynthia Gregory, Liza Minnelli and Dudley Williams. Despite a certain level of fawning (to Mitzi Gaynor: "Mitzi, you've still got it"; to Russ Tamblyn: "You look almost exactly as you did in West Side Story"), the dancers mostly transcend this with thoughtful comments. The section on Mikhail Baryshnikov is peculiar, relating Eichenbaum's failed pursuit of an interview and the restrictions placed on her photographing the star. And there are some glaring omissions no Balanchine ballerinas? So few young dancers? Still, there's a constant refrain that links the disparate artists together, summarized succinctly by Jean Butler, star of Riverdance: "At the end of the day, I just want to dance." This is recommended for dance aficionados. 40 b&w illus.