Excerpts, plus links to the full reviews
This biography of John Cranko is a deeply researched, widely contextualised and beautifully written account of the life and work of a major choreographer of the mid-20th century.Jennifer Shennan …on dancing http://www.michellepotter.org/john-cranko
…written with love and affection.
Ashley Killar, a former dancer with the Stuttgart company whilst Cranko was director, has written an enjoyable and enlightening new biography of the man… It is written with love and affection … but the author has not shied away from noting the choreographer’s insecurities, nor from stating that not all his ballets were works of genius. Above all, it underlines the fact that Cranko was a chatty, intelligent, funny and amiable gay man, as well as a supportive father figure to many of his dancers.Jonathan Gray former editor Dancing Times in Gramilano www.gramilano.com/2023/01/biography-john-cranko/
…a book this brilliant.
Research supplies facts. But research alone cannot produce a work of this calibre, one that describes Cranko’s ballets, backed by magnificent photographs, and detailed stories behind them so knowledgeably that it brings them alive into one’s reading room? Only someone breathing alongside the person concerned could produce a book this brilliant.Shiela Chisholm Cape Argus https://www.gate5.co.za/read/28252/qv/101117176/152521020/6997/p
…he was such fun to be with.
I have very much enjoyed your writing and agree with Sheila Chisholm ‘….Research alone cannot produce a work of this calibre’. It brought Johnnie back to life for me, he was a genius and such fun to be with.Clarissa Lewis, daughter of the artist John Piper in a letter to Ashley Killar
… Ashley Killar’s affectionate biography is written with the benefit of an insider’s view
particularly valuable… written with great erudition, love, frankness and the benefit of an insider’s view. It is also an engrossing read.Karen van Ulzen, Dance Australia http://www.danceaustralia.com.au/news/tribute-to-a-tireless-choreographer
…we gain an understanding of the many layers to Cranko’s personality.
Killar’s biography puts Cranko in context of his life and times … we gain an understanding of the many layers to Cranko’s personality. … [He] did not have an official ‘office’ but was accessible at all times to his dancers, whom he considered family. He was generous, loyal, had a bubbling sense of fun, a splendid musical ear, was full of finesse and banter, yet sometimes hid an audacious, exuberant lifestyle.Lynne Lancaster Dance Informa
…Much more than a monograph for aficionados; it’s a page-turner told against a backdrop rich in historical detail. Jannson J. Antmann Limelight
Killar investigates selected ballets to understand how Cranko succeeded or failed to achieve his expectations. As an observant insider and experienced director, Killar is well placed to put each work in context…. it is greatly illuminating and reveals how Cranko changed the aesthetics of European ballet and produced a new breed of gifted choreographers, dancers, and designers. Lee Christofis Australian Review of Books
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