The story of Henning Kronstam, one of the greatest dancers of 20th-century ballet, is a testament of professional achievement and personal victory. Overcoming illness, family disapproval and his own private torments, Kronstam dominated one of the world's most renowned companies, the Royal Danish Ballet, for nearly 30 years - beginning in 1956 when he created the role of Romeo at the age of 20 in Frederick Ashton's ""Romeo and Juliet"", until a new generation, trained by him, took the stage. In 1979, Kronstam organized and directed the Bournonville Fesival, introducing the world to the rarely performed works of August Bournonville, the Danes' master choreographer. Alexandra Tomalonis has documented Kronstam's major roles as recounted in his own workds, revealing the man behind the dancer. Kronstam's range streched from classical ballet to modern dance; his greatest roles included Bournonville's James; Balanchine's Apollo; Petit's Cyrano; and the Old Clown in Murray Louis's ""Hoopla"". His refusal to substitute ""flash"" for style won him the admiration of his peers, and to many he remains a beacon of artistic integrity. In the writing of this book, the author conducted 200 hours of interviews with Kronstam and talked to over 100 dancers and choreographers, including many who worked with him. She observed classes and rehearsals at the Royal Danish Ballet over a ten-year period and, as such provides the story of the dance company in addition to a biography of the man. The photographs showcase Kronstam's refined classical technique and dramatic range and the theatrical traditions of the Royal Danish Ballet.
Alexandra Tomalonis has been writing dance criticism for the Washington Post since 1979, and she is the founding editor of DanceView, a quarterly dance review magazine. She has taught dance history and appreciation at George Washington University and George Mason University and has been guest lecturer at the Smithsonian Institution and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, among others.