Reviews

“In that moment, I could imagine something of Yakobson’s spirit coming through.” —Review of “Eternal Spring” and “The Kiss” from “Rodin,” The New York Times 

“Without Balanchine, the thinking goes, ballet would have buried itself in the past….Yakobson is the ideal figure on whom to focus a corrected and expanded ballet history.” —Apollinaire Scherr, The Atlantic

“Ross is right: The story of this artist, all but unknown in the West, is a ‘hidden yet monumental tale’ about an unruly genius who proved that Westerners weren’t the only ones turning ballet into a modern art.” —Sarah Kaufman, The Washington Post

“In Ross’s account, it becomes clear that what Soviet officials objected to was not simply the ballet’s ending, [but] the ballet’s affirmation of a Jewish identity separating the dancers’ bodies from the body politic in which citizens of the USSR were meant to submerge their differences.” —Robert Johnson, Forward

“In ‘Like a Bomb Going Off: Leonid Yakobson and Ballet as Resistance in Soviet Russia,’ Janice Ross traces the trajectory of Yakobson’s position in Soviet ballet history and locates him as an important modernist innovator who waged a lifelong surreptitious battle against Soviet repression and bureaucracy.” —Roslyn Sulcas, The New York Times

“One of the things that makes Ross’s portrayal of Yakobson so compelling is the larger connections she draws between ballet and political resistance, juxtaposing the overt against the coded.” —Claudia La Rocco, Artforum

“Almost every interesting Russian choreographer of the twentieth century either emigrated or had his career destroyed. This biography illuminates one exception: Leonid Yakobson.” The New Yorker

“Ross’s is a fascinating rereading of ballet modernism, her careful documentation and insightful analysis revivifying a forgotten tradition. She constructively untidies our notions of how several centuries of choreography flowed into the 20th — an inspiring provocation for scholars and artists alike in the 21st.” —Mark Franko, The Chronicle of Higher Education

Ross’s “fantastic new book on [Yakobson’s] work and life introduces this Jewish artist, who fought to perform modernist ballet under a repressive regime..” The Daily Beast

“Ross is a passionate advocate, ardently evoking [Yakobson’s] surviving ballets and why his work, and his courage, meant so much to Soviet audiences.” —Zoe Anderson, The Independent

“Ross details how Yakobson clung to dissident themes and movement material under the Soviets, when classical tradition, experimentation, and social realism in turn became official conduits for ballet art.” —Marcia B. Siegel, The Arts Fuse

“Ross is to be congratulated for finally giving [Yakobson] his due as the equal of Balanchine. One wonders why this genius of modern ballet is not better known.” —Anne Sebba, The Jewish Chronicle

“Ross’s book is a landmark study of this figure and his setting, the kind of study all future English-language books on the topic will need to consult, and the book’s understated brilliance lies in the fact that Ross takes an approach that even her volatile and preening subject would have approved: she concentrates as much on the position and power of ballet in the Soviet Union as she does on Yakobson’s life and pertinent quotes.” —Steve Donoghue, Open Letters Monthly

“This admirably researched and well-written book throws a sharply focused light on a truly extraordinary artist and courageous human being. It also convincingly provides the reader insights into what it means to be subject to the arbitrariness of a political system that uses art to cement ideology. While Like A Bomb remains focused on Yakobson, it offers just enough of a broader perspective of what other artists—Dmitri Shostakovich, Fyodor Lopukhov—had to live through.” —Rita Felciano, In Dance