Summer Reading: Books By Dancers

Summer is here! Whether you're hanging out under a beach umbrella or passing the time between rehearsals, it'll be more fun with a book in hand. Check out these ballet page-turnersall written by dancers themselves.

 

Bunheads

By Sophie Flack

This novel follows devoted Manhattan Ballet Company corps member Hannah Ward as she navigates company life. For the most part, things are going smooth, until she meets a college-student musician, Jacob. When sparks fly, Hannah’s life gets shaken up a bit. Although fictional, the novel lends tons of insight to the life of a professional dancer—its author, Sophie Flack, danced with the New York City Ballet for nine years!

 

I Was a Dancer

By Jacques d’Amboise

As Balanchine’s protégé, d’Amboise certainly has a compelling story. He begins by recounting his childhood in Washington Heights and training that the School of American Ballet. We hear about his experiences dancing with Balanchine’s famous muses, as well as the life and death of Balanchine himself.

 

Daria Klimentova: Agony and Ecstasy: My Life in Dance

By Daria Klimentova

This autobiography by English National Ballet’s Daria Klimentova offers an easy-to-read look into the life of the Czech born ballerina. Klimentova begins her story by talking about her upbringing under Soviet rule, and continues right on up to her legendary partnership with Vadim Muntagirov.

Latest Posts


Getty Images

Hiding Injuries: Why Downplaying Pain Can Lead to Bigger Problems Down the Road

Sabrina Landa was thrilled to be offered a traineeship with Pennsylvania Ballet. "As a trainee, everything felt like a chance to prove myself as a professional," she says. Her training hours increased and she was dancing more than she ever had before. When Landa began experiencing pain in her metatarsals partway through the 2018 Nutcracker season, she notified the staff. "But in fear of losing my shows, I downplayed the severity of it," Landa says.

She notes that no one pushed her to keep dancing but herself. "I was 18 and was aiming to receive a contract by the end of the year," she says. "I felt so much anxiety over missing an opportunity that I was afraid to be honest about my pain." Pennsylvania Ballet's artistic staff were understanding and supportive, but Landa minimized her injury for the next few months, wanting to push through until the season ended and contracts were offered. But after months of pain and an onset of extreme weakness in her foot, Landa was diagnosed with two stress fractures in her second and third metatarsals. She spent the next three months on crutches and six months off dancing to allow for the fractures' delayed healing.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Skjalg Bøhmer Vold, Courtesy Merritt Moore

How Quantum Physicist Ballerina Merritt Moore Learned to Dance With a Robot (Plus, Her Newest Film)

When the world went into lockdown last March, most dancers despaired. But not Merritt Moore. The Los Angeles native, who lives in London and has danced with Norwegian National Ballet, English National Ballet and Boston Ballet, holds a PhD in atomic and laser physics from the University of Oxford. A few weeks into the coronavirus pandemic, she came up with a solution for having to train and work alone: robots.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Lauren Anderson's Tips for Relevé Développé Écarté Devant

Développé écarté relevé "is in every class, every ballet," says Lauren Anderson, former principal dancer and current program manager of education and community engagement at Houston Ballet. Below, she gives you the keys to success for this "light and lovely" repertoire staple.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks