From School Library Journal
Grade 4-7–Siegel was born to dance. At age six, she began to take lessons in Puerto Rico. When her family moved to Boston, she continued to study ballet and was totally inspired when she saw a performance by Maya Plisetskaya of the Bolshoi Ballet. When she was accepted at the American School of Ballet, her family moved to New York. While she was a student, she performed in numerous ballets of George Ballanchine. Her promising future came to an end at the age of 18 when she suffered a serious ankle injury. However, rather than focusing on this disappointment, Siegel notes that she went on to college and later began dancing again because, Dancing fills a space in me. The graphic format works well. The illustrations and story line blend together to create a pleasing whole. The watercolor-and-ink illustrations introduce a theme of fluidity and movement through undulating ribbons like those on a ballerina's slippers. Through one dancer's experiences during the 1970s and '80s, readers are introduced to an important period in the world of ballet and are given an inspiring message about the dedication required to become a ballerina.–Carol Schene, formerly at Taunton Public Schools, MA
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*Starred Review* A husband and wife team up to provide an insightful, accessible, and aesthetically engaging graphic novel that follows the latter's dance career. Well- proportioned watercolor panels trace Siena Cherson Siegel's involvement with ballet from her introduction to it at the age of six and her training as an adolescent at the School of American Ballet to her leaving professional dance when she reached college and her return to it several years later, "because I still need[ed] to dance." The fully realized account goes beyond the sacrifices and rewards she experienced to other matters, such as the effects of her parents' separation and divorce and her awe of ballet master George Balanchine. As a girl, Siena discovered Jill Krementz's photo-essay A Very Young Dancer
(1976), but unlike that portrait of a girl ballerina, this one is in no way glamorized. Mark Siegel's images are often pretty, but like the story his wife tells, they are honest about a ballerina's life. Foot pain, leg injuries, and more are a part of Siena's story, which provides those who hope for or wonder about a career in dancing with a candid view of an individual for whom ballet is essential to a fulfilling life. Francisca GoldsmithCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved