A Letter From The Publisher, May 1, 1978

She had a reputation for being a very private person, often temperamental, always a perfectionist. She would not be an easy subject, warned her friends. But when Gelsey Kirkland agreed to be interviewed by TIME Correspondent Barry Hillenbrand for this week's cover story, she approached the task with the same dedicated professionalism that has made her at 25 the nation's youngest star ballerina.

She met Hillenbrand over dinner at Chicago's Bismarck Hotel. In blue jeans and a baggy smock, without her stage makeup and wigs, she bore little resemblance to the ethereal Giselle...

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