Shortly after the New York Times had hailed John Cranko’s achievement as 'The German Ballet Miracle', his death mid-Atlantic deprived the world of one of its greatest choreographers. After leaving his native South Africa at eighteen, never to return, Cranko quickly became a resident choreographer with the Royal Ballet. He collaborated closely with luminaries such as Benjamin Britten and John Piper and encouraged the young Kenneth MacMillan. Tirelessly innovative, he devised a hit musical revue, Cranks as well as perennial favourites such as Pineapple Poll. His charm and wit endeared him to colleagues and royalty alike, but in the late 1950s his star began to wane. This, and a much-publicised scandal, drove Cranko to leave England for Germany. There, his work as director and choreographer of the Stuttgart Ballet enjoyed phenomenal success in USA, Russia and Europe. Fifty years after his tragically early death, Cranko’s story ballets continue to enrich ballet audiences around the world.
The author danced in the Stuttgart Ballet’s premieres of Cranko’s Onegin, Romeo and Juliet and many more. He reveals the man behind the masterpieces and explores an array of lesser-known works, bringing to light fascinating facts about the genesis of Cranko’s ballets. Lavishly illustrated with rare photographs, the book contains Cranko’s personal letters and extensive reference material. It brings the reader surprising insights into the life and work of a truly exceptional man of theatre.