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A Dance of Sisters Paperback – March 15, 2005


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (March 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0064407519
  • ISBN-13: 978-0064407519
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,243,527 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In an absorbing and eye-opening novel about two motherless sisters, Porter (Treasures in the Dust), who has first-hand experience with the rigors of ballet, candidly exposes the nightmarish elements behind a girl's dream of becoming a classical dancer. Delia, 13, and her older sister, Pearl, struggle with the void left by their mother's death years earlier. Pearl, with a longer memory than Delia's and more able to acknowledge her grief than their always-busy father, dabbles in witchcraft and gets sent to boarding school after she is expelled from her private day school. Delia, meanwhile, gravitates to the highly respected Elanova School of Dance. At first glance the characters seem like predictable stereotypes: cold-hearted Madame Elanova barks her commands with a thick Russian accent ("You must vork! Vork!"); the anorexics are rewarded for their discipline; the teacher's pets guard their positions; students back-bite their way to the top. But the interactions of these characters are complex and full of psychological drama, with individuals' motives perceptively laid out. Delia changes clearly and authentically, her development shored up with realistic details and believable insights. Pearl evolves equally credibly offstage, her voice emerging through letters to Delia and through an occasional visit home. The ballet story lines converge elegantly and poignantly with Pearl's and Delia's different experiences of bereavement and loss. Readers will be sorry to see this novel end. Ages 8-12.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 6-8-Delia, 12, and her older sister, Pearl, struggle with adolescence and the loss of their mother in very different ways. Delia attends a prestigious ballet school headed by a former prima ballerina, and the focus of the story is on her. Pearl, who is into witchcraft, is on her way to getting kicked out of yet another prep school. And their father is still grieving the loss some 10 years later. As the competition at the academy gets tougher and tougher, Delia realizes that it is time to make important decisions about her future. Porter's best passages are about the ballet school and its dancers and she does a credible job of revealing the underbelly of the serious ballet student's world. The text is weak in the passages unrelated to dance and may fail to hold readers' attention. The author's handling of the theme of losing a parent is undeveloped and, ultimately, a distraction. In addition, the relationship between the two sisters is neither compelling nor fully fleshed out, and readers never get the sense of their loss or loneliness.
Elaine Baran Black, Gwinnett County Public Library, Lawrenceville, GA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kind Bean on May 24, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book is about two sisters, Delia and her older sister Pearl. Their mother died when Pearl was very young. While Pearl is still having trouble dealing with the death of her mother, their father deals with it by avoiding talking about her, and Delia dives into ballet. Her new teacher is very strict and warns all her girls about being fat. While Delia gets better at dance, she also starts to starve herself and does nothing but dance. Pearl meanwhile withdraws from her family becoming rebellious and failing school. This story is as much about dance as it is about the survival of a broken family. This is a very good book that slightly older children will enjoy and even learn from. I recommend it to all who like books about ballet, dealing with family issues and growing into an adult.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Little Willow on December 29, 2004
Format: Hardcover
"A Dance of Sisters" is a poignant look at one girl's somewhat estranged family and her newfound passion for ballet. After the death of their mother, two sisters become closer, with the younger sister looking up to her older sister more than words can express. Their father, though he loves his daughters, becomes more distant as he grieves for his wife, removes her pictures from the house walls, and throws himself into his thriving business.

Fast-forward years later: The younger sister, Delia, is in middle school. She's a good girl, but doesn't have any notable hobbies - except for dancing. Suddenly, the local mainstream dance school with its yearly corny recitals are not satisfying enough for her, and she decides to pursue ballet exclusively. She enrolls at a prestigious school taught by a Madame who strictly adheres to the classic type of ballet instruction. As Delia's love for ballet deepens, she starts having her own life - and her own secrets.

Meanwhile, Delia's older sister is getting kicked out of school after school due to her behavior. She is not a felon nor a threat to anyone, simply a free spirit who does not want to conform. She dresses in dark clothes that she reshapes and redesigns. She dyes her blonde hair black. She truly cares for her little sister, and still loves her father, but she too has distanced herself from her family, feeling as if she is the only one who truly remembers her mother. Sent off to a new school, she expects nothing, but surprises herself and everyone else when she ends up with a new interest - taming a horse that was said to be untameable.

I recommend this book to a wide audience.
Read more ›
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By StarGymnast on March 12, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This was a great book which shows what you may have to go through to become a top ballet dancer. It's about Pearl and Delia, two sisters who are very close. When they were very young, their mother died and left their dad to raise them. Pearl becomes a strange, eerie person who seems to think life would only be worth living if her mother was alive, so she gets sent to boarding school by her father. Delia, however, misses her sister very much, but has found her spot in the world of ballet dancing. She had been taking classes at the Elanova School of Ballet, a prestigous dance school. Soon after two months of dancing there Delia was picked to be taught by Madame Elanova, the head directer and teacher. Delia enjoys dancing, but it was taking a huge toll on her life. She lost too much weight, she got sick, and every spare moment she had was filled with dancing. She realizes at the end that she cannot put up with ballet and feels like she dosn't need it in her life. Read the book to find out what happens in the end!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on April 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover
A Dance of Sisters

by Tracy Porter

A Dance Of Sisters is a book that's rich, exciting and powerful. In this book, Delia, a girl who only wishes to become a classical dancer , and her sister, a sad and energetic goth who's into witch craft and makeup, learn more about each other and how things happen in their torn and broken family. With their father working day and night, her sister is eventually sent to boarding school and their mother is dead. Delia, also known as Little Moon from her sisters terms, hardly finds time to talk or even be a normal girl. Delia now becoming unhealthy because her dancing is keeping her too thin she is now confused about who she is and how her life she is torn between fixing her grace in dance and fixing her family. Now that she knows more about how things used to be it makes it easier to figure out what happens now in her life.

This exciting book was difficult yet a good book for a little challenge, I read this when I was nine. It was so good that I was engaged every time I read and all I wanted to ever do was read more. I think Tracy Porter did a great job at balancing the reality and fantasy in this book for readers that dont't give up on a good book. If you think of reading this book, then all I can say is I give this book two thumbs up!

Elise T. Tucker
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