About the book

The choreographer John Cranko (1927–73) is renowned all over the world for ballets such as OneginPineapple Poll, Romeo and Juliet and The Taming of the Shrew, but his mercurial and wide-ranging talents are seldom fully recognised. This biography, with its numerous rare photographs and unpublished letters, helps reveal Cranko the man, behind the ballets. The author Ashley Killar danced in the first performances of many of them.

A valuable resource – over 500 info-packed pages!

The Appendices section includes a comprehensive Catalogue of Cranko’s works, as well as more of his letters, his programme notes and masses of other fascinating facts. A glance at the Table of Contents will show you the wide range of information available – in addition to the authoritative biography itself. This book is a valuable resource. As Reid Anderson attested, “Ashley has written the book with care, passion and love!”

“The 100 page appendices include letters from Cranko…texts of the choreographer’s programmes and a catalogue raisonné that was not available in such detail before….all the premiere casts, the smaller occasional works, new studies and revisions – for that alone one must have this book.”     Angela Reinhardt,  Tanz /Dance for You.

The occasion will be marked by extra performances of his ballets around the world, and this authoritative biography, Cranko: the Man and his Choreography, will be especially welcome. Whether you watch ballet in the theatre or on screen, and whether you are a seasoned ballet-goer or simply interested in what makes a great choreographer ‘tick’, you will find the book an enriching experience.

Cranko in the Stuttgart Ballet studio.
Photo: Andreas Heumann


“Cranko’s legacy speaks volumes and Killar has done him proud.”  Jennifer Shennan …on dancing