With Ballet In My Soul by Eva Maze
First published in America by Moonstone Press today, the 1st April 2017.
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How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
'A life spanning close to 100 years is noteworthy, if only because of its longevity. The rich life of a woman committed to a professional vision ahead of its time, filled with glamour, excitement and adventure, is truly remarkable. Narrated in her own words, this is the story of such a woman, Eva Maze, who, from the time she left Romania as a teenager in 1939, dreamed of being a ballet dancer, and through a series a circumstances, became instead one of the most successful theatrical impresarios in Europe – with a career spanning more than 40 years.
Now in her nineties, Maze looks back at the path and passion that led her from Bucharest to the United States as an immigrant, and then, as a married woman, back again to Europe and Asia, where she found her professional calling.
Set against key historical events of the 20th century, including the building of the Berlin Wall, the massacre at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games, as well as the rise and fall of Pan American Airlines, Maze’s fascinating past is brought to life through a combination of serious commentary and amusing anecdotes about the risks and rewards of the business side of theater and dance, some of the personalities who were part of those worlds from the 1940s to the 1990s, her own motivation for being an impresario, and her personal life. Her narration is supported by more than 250 captivating historical and modern images going back to her birth in 1922.'
Reading Eva Maze's memoir is like listening to a fascinating older relation chatting about their life. I hadn't previously heard of her work, but am interested in theatre and dance so appreciated this opportunity to discover her. A lifelong nomad, Eva travelled extensively, settling for periods of time in India, Japan, Germany and France, which gives her a pretty unique perspective on many historic events, especially in post-war Europe. She talks as informally about the trials of keeping dance shows touring as she does about the swift building of the Berlin Wall, interspering business memories with humorous anecdotes of near-disasters averted - an orchestra whose violins didn't make it onto the plane for example. Driven by an almost preternatural energy, Eva's establishment of herself, a married woman in a time when marriage was supposed to reduce any woman to a housewife's role, as a premier impresario is an inspirational tale.
What makes With Ballet In My Soul special and unusual though is the inclusion of so many photographs ranging from personal shapshots to tour programmes and publicity images. The physical book is a beautiful 'coffee table' publication which I believe would make a thoughtful gift for anyone interested in twentieth century dance and theatre, or the arts in post-war Germany.
Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Eva Maze / Biography and memoir / Books from Romania