Associate Editor (with Larry Kaplan) of the quarterly Ballet Review.

Senior Dance Critic for the weekly City Arts, where I also wrote about music from its inception in 2009 until this year.

Chief dance critic for the New York Sun from 2005 until the paper closed in 2008.


Wilde Times: Patricia Wilde, George Balanchine, and the Rise of New York City Ballet.  Lebanon, New Hampshire:  ForeEdge, 2016.

Alla Osipenko: Beauty and Resistance in Soviet Ballet. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015.

Dancing on Water: A Life in Ballet From the Kirov to the ABT by Elena Tchernichova with JL.  University Press of New England, 2013.

Tallulah! The Life and Times of a Leading Lady– My biography was published by ReganBooks in 2004 and reissued in paperback by Harper Collins in 2008.

Radical Rags: Fashions of the Sixties. New York: Abbeville Press, 1990.

Articles about dance, opera, and books for Capital New York, Playbill, Dance Magazine, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Quest, The Weekly Standard and The New York Post.

Contributor to Modern Encyclopedia of Russian, Soviet & Eurasian History, Academic International Press, 2004.

Contributor to Scribner’s Library of Daily Life Encyclopedia of Clothing and Fashion, 2004.

Contributor to Costas Cacaroukas’s Balanchine: Celebrating a Life in Dance, Tide-Mark Press, 2003.

Consultant to Francis Mason’s I Remember Balanchine, Doubleday, 1991.


Lisa Whitaker and I are working on a photo bio of Kirov legend Yuri Soloviev, expanding my Ballet Review piece on him from 2003 and our BR interview published in 2011 with Soloviev’s widow, Tatiana Legat.

Steve Willis and I are working on a biography of Diana Sands.

I’m working on an autobiography of sorts that will contain portraits of some of the extraordinary people I’ve known and researched in fashion, the arts, among family and friends.

11 Responses to About

  1. Joan Brookbank says:

    Joel! I am so happy to see that Elena and you were able to publish her book as you so deserved! Congratulations. I just came across it by chance and looked you up so that I could send word.
    Fond regards,

  2. says:

    Joan what is your phone no.?

  3. Marina Harss says:

    Hi Joel, I just read your interview with Simon Keenlyside in Ballet Review and found it quite fascinating. I had no idea he was married to Zenaida Yanowsky. I remember seeing the Winterreise. I find his comments on the great singers of the past and knowing how to be still to be so, so true. Really enjoyed it. Thanks.

  4. says:

    Marina, thanks for writing!

  5. Nancy Wight says:

    I was very saddened to learn of Tchernichova’s death just yesterday. I enjoyed her memoir a great deal. It is an important work of a time in Soviet and American ballet history. I greatly look forward to your own autobiography as well as the Osipenko and Soloviev photo biographies.

    As for myself, I have collected over the past 40 years, before the internet, dancers’ obituaries largely from the Times. They are neatly compiled in four volumes which I call Lives Lived. It is not comprehensive by any means.

    All best wishes for your fine work.

    Nancy Wight

  6. Inna Aslanian says:

    Hi Joel.
    I was so happy to get the information on Alexander Volinine.
    He is my great uncle. I am trying to find as many materials as I can.
    I would like either make a family book or even to publish a book about him.
    Do you have any other information?
    What was the name of his school? Do you know anybody alive who knows him?
    Thank you so much.
    Inna Aslnian( Guseva/Volinin)

  7. Alison Child says:

    Hi Joel,
    I was fascinated to read in your great book on Talulah that you interviewed Quentin Crisp and Anton Dolin years ago. You quote them both on the subject of Gwen Farrar. I am researching Gwen and Norah Blaney and I would be really interested to read the transcripts of the interviews if you have them or even better still the recordings.
    Very best wishes,

  8. says:

    Hi Alison — I have more on them from Una Venning, I don’t think Crisp said any more about them. Dolin didn’t say anything else. Tell me more about what you’re doing — sounds interesting.
    write me at joellobe@gmail.com


  9. Patricia Abbinanti says:

    Are you Joel Lobenthal of Jackson Heights?

  10. says:

    Yes. .who’s writing?

  11. Arli Epton says:

    Thank you for answering the question I wrote for the afternoon panel, at the recent FIT conference on ballerinas as fashion muses, asking whether Balanchine felt so compelled by U.S. culture, because Russia/Georgia lacked diversity.

    Patricia Mears, in particular, found that hard to believe, which I can understand. You responded by mentioning that the Russian institutional ballet school would choose diverse candidates from all the republics, but then never hire them for the company–instead sending them back to their homelands to teach dance there.

    In pondering the matter further, I wonder whether it was more freedom AND diversity that Balanchine was responding to (albeit in a sometimes questionable way, as the speaker on Mr. B. and American blacks pointed out), than merely diversity.

    Furthermore, I really appreciated your discussion about the Tanaquil Le Clerq “a la Kate Moss” photo that everyone loved. Susan Sontag would have loved what you said as well, don’t you think?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.