Robert Reed Publishers
Vision in the Desert: a dancer's life by Vassili Sulich
Vision in the Desert is the funny, delightful and touching autobiography of Vassili Sulich, a joyful man who found he could not live without art, music, beauty, and most of all, without dance in his life. Follow Vassili's career as a dancer, from the children's performing group in the refugee camp, to England, France, South America, Spain, Switzerland and finally to America where he reigned for nine years as the principal dancer in the famed Folies Bergere. Feel his agony as he struggles to build a classical ballet company in the cultural wasteland of Las Vegas. Share his ecstasy when the Nevada Dance Theatre becomes the crown jewel of the arts in Nevada. Relive the times of turmoil and strife as his company grows in stature and gains rave reviews while touring nationally, and as Vassili gains fame as a choreographer for ballet and opera companies.
So you would like to dance?
. . . he turned to me, "How old are you?"
"I just passed 13."
He looked me all over, slowly. Walking away he said: "You are too tall."
"I felt hurt, but not discouraged. I stayed and watched from the side, listening to his instructions. Dance steps came easy to me. When everyone left I tried those combinations alone. Over and over again, day after day, weeks and months. I knew one day I would dance. I had to! Never mind 'too tall', just wait, you will see."
How Veseljko became Vassili is only one of the many stories Vassili tells in this funny delightful and touching autobiography. His “joyful” approach toward people who could never pronounce his given name illustrates how seriously Vassili takes himself. He takes his art very seriously, but views himself much less dramatically. The book is full of stories of the famous people Vassili met through his career, but this is no “tell all”. Vassili's memories are filled with humor, with sympathy, with gratitude and with warmth. Always Vassili, who calls himself a “Dalmatian without the spots”, is able to laugh at himself, and his self-deprecating humor makes this book a joy to read from beginning to end.
Follow his career as a dancer, from the children's performing group in the refugee camp, to England, France, South America, Spain, Switzerland, and finally to America — where he reigned for nine years as the principal dancer in the famed Folies Bergere. Feel his agony as he struggles to build a classical ballet company in the “cultural wasteland” of Las Vegas. Share his ecstasy, as the Nevada Dance Theatre becomes the “crown jewel” of the arts in Nevada. Relive the times of turmoil and strife as his company grows in stature and gains rave reviews as it tours nationally — even as he gains fame as a choreographer for ballet and opera companies.
Vassili Sulich has been recognized by the community of Las Vegas many times and has received the Distinguished Nevadan Award, from the Board of Regents at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and the Governor's Arts Award as Outstanding Individual Artist. Vassili has been honored by the Chamber of Commerce for Achievement in Arts and Entertainment, and is mentioned in five separate Dance Encyclopedia. In 1992, Senator Harry Reid presented Vassili with an Achievement Award in recognition of his outstanding artistic direction of Nevada Dance Theatre, and in 1999 he was inducted into the Casino Legends Hall of Fame in recognition of his years of dancing on the Strip in the famous Folies Bergere at the Tropicana Hotel. He continues to write his poetry and to choreograph in his head as he drives his car. As Vassili says at the end of his autobiography, “I know for sure, I have not turned my final page.”