The Real World of the Ballerina

By Deirdre Kelly

Greystone Books 27.95 244 pages

While fans of the ballet can now experience more of the life of a dancer through reality TV shows such as Breaking Pointe, never could one imagine the brutal beginnings and history behind such a beautiful art form. In her book Ballerina: Sex, Scandal and Suffering Behind the Symbol of Perfection, Deirdre Kelly exposes, with rich detail, the underbelly of the world that only those with a true calling to dance en pointe could endure. Throughout the years as men have reigned supreme in their roles as choreographers (George Balanchine among them) and artistic directors they failed to see beyond the tutus and toe shoes to the human element of the ballerina. Yet despite all of the suffering and setbacks modern day ballerinas can give thanks to great legends like Anna Pavlova and to ballerina/crusaders like Kimberly Glasco for paving the way to a better life for dancers of the twenty first century and beyond. Read this book. You will never look at a ballet production through the same eyes again.

Reviewed By Kathleen Godwin

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