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To Dance: A Ballerina's Graphic Novel Hardcover – October 1, 2006
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From School Library Journal
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Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top Customer Reviews
Siena begins her story this way: "Big, empty spaces always made me dance". She yearned to move. First growing up in San Juan, Puerto Rico and then later when her family moved to Boston. For Siena, dance was in her heart and mind. She flew to New York in 1977 to get a taste of dance rigor at the American Ballet Theater and discovered that she wanted to be a ballerina more than anything. A year later she auditioned for the School of American Ballet (founded by George Balanchine) and got in. As her home life grew unpleasant, Siena's time with the ballet became even more precious to her.Read more ›
Siena began her dance journey in San Juan, Puerto Rico when she was diagnosed with flat feet. She started dance classes and fell in love with the art form. The story follows her family as they move to Boston where she sees the Bolshoi Ballet perform for the first time. She dreams of ballets.
At the age of 11 she auditions and wins a spot in the School of American Ballet and begins to work in earnest. She sees George Balanchine and Baryshnikov, Suzanne Farrell, and Gelsey Kirkland in the halls. Being fitted for her first toe shoes, winning a spot in her first performance and partnering class are all milestones in her life at SAB. Family life is difficult as her parents' marriage fails. As a teenager there are boyfriends and schoolwork and worry about the shape of her body.
Plots of ballets are seamlessly woven into the story as we see the excitement and glamor of performance balanced with the hard work of practice and the heartbreak of not being chosen to perform. Her memoir also allows the reader an inside look at the grief and sorrow that overwhelmed the company when Balanchine died.
Mark Siegel draws the story with detail and love. To depict a story like this in graphic novel form allows the reader to move through the years with Siena. The reader notes the change of color of her leotard as the years pass, each color representing a higher level at SAB. Her painful injuries and aching toes from hours of dancing are communicated without words.
One scene where young Siena is reading the book A Very Young Dancer by flashlight is typical of the care and detail the Siegels have included.Read more ›
This basic story has been told many times. Two examples that jump out from my reading history are Ballerina Dreams, an easy reader by New York City Ballet's Diana White and Gelsey Kirkland's only-for-grown-ups memoir, Dancing on My Grave. The big difference between these books and To Dance, aside from format, is that even those well-versed in the recent and current ballet world will not recognize the name Siena Cherson Siegel; she is not a ballerina.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Wow! After finishing this book, I need to read it and read it again!!!! The art was MAGNIFICENT!!!!! I am not a dancer, so you definitely don't have to be a dancer to love it!! Read morePublished 13 months ago by MeliVose
Too advanced for my 3-year-old. Will keep for later. Wish there was an age range when buying these books.Published 20 months ago by Brenda Woods
This was a good book because it tells a story of a young girl with the passion for ballet and her family sacrificed a lot for her to be allete. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Holly Elizabeth Hammack
I liked the way the author used beautiful pictures to describe the main characters's experiences in her life of balletPublished on August 14, 2014 by gt
I bought this for my 12 year old niece, and she devoured it immediately pronouncing it excellet. I would recommend it for any ballerina loving tween..Published on January 22, 2014 by KMI
This is the real life story of a normal girl with a drive: to dance. She tells her story in a way that is straight-forward, honest, and exciting. Read morePublished on September 2, 2013 by Claire
My ten year old reluctant reader has fallen in love with a book! Only a book this special could captivate her interest. Read morePublished on March 4, 2013 by Raine V.