Foreword Reviews

A Dancer in Depth

Paragraphs from a Theatre Life

Clarion Rating: 2 out of 5

Dancer in Depth is a raw performer’s memoir about active periods in show business.

Stanley Howard Mazin’s memoir Dancer in Depth recounts a lifetime of professional dancing and acting, with stories shared in snippets.

Mazin grew up in New Jersey and Florida, his time split between his parents; his mother lived with her partner. He attended college in Philadelphia and Florida, where he studied hospitality and participated in theater. He cut his studies short when he was presented with an opportunity to dance in New York.

Mazin took and taught dance classes and worked on off-Broadway productions for several years. He met his longtime partner, Dom, on a set. They later moved to California, where he continued to dance, as well as direct, choreograph, and act in television, movies, and theater. Mazin worked in the travel industry in the 1990s and 2000s, too. After forty-four years together, Dom passed away.

This lively book focuses on high points, with a few lows shared between them. Its entertaining, succinct tales are complemented by warm photographs further evincing its companionship themes, as of Mazin’s dogs. It also includes graphic documentation of a robust sex life, for the most part outside of Mazin’s partnership; these confessional, serious forays hold interest. But in portraying its barrage of relationships that are not distinguished in terms of their weight, the book also becomes melancholy.

Insider glimpses into celebrity interactions come up, though they tend to focus on people’s exemplary behavior at the expense of character development. That so many people are spoken of in superlative terms makes the book seem effusive to excess, while the fact that so many names are dropped ends up overshadowing Mazin’s own narrative. When famous people acknowledge him, it’s centered, but also juxtaposed with the notion that work is its own reward.

But the memoir also feels directionless. Stories are shared one at a time; they are not made to interrelate or follow a clear direction. Their order is sometimes chronological, though this arrangement is also interrupted by cascading memories. Some stories repeat; the stories are also of varying lengths and depth, though most end with a lesson learned. The book’s reliance on ellipses undermines its credibility, while its direct addresses to the audience to deliver advice, rather than resulting in intimacy, come across as too familiar. Further, the book’s one-liner conversations are wearying.

Dancer in Depth is a raw performer’s memoir about active periods in show business.

Reviewed by Mari Carlson

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The publisher of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Reviews make no guarantee that the publisher will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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