Ballerina: Sex, Scandal, and Suffering Behind the Symbol of Perfection by Deirdre KellyBallerina: Sex, Scandal, and Suffering Behind the Symbol of Perfection by Deirdre Kelly

Ballerina: Sex, Scandal, and Suffering Behind the Symbol of Perfection

byDeirdre Kelly

Hardcover | September 7, 2012

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A Globe and Mail top 100 book of 2012

. . . spellbinding yet harrowing . . . &#8212Publishers Weekly

A controversial look at the brutal backstage existence of some of the world's most celebrated ballerinas.

Throughout her history, the ballerina has been perceived as the embodiment of beauty and perfection. She is the feminine ideal — unblemished and ethereal, inspiration incarnate. But the reality is another story. Beginning with the earliest ballerinas, who often led double lives as concubines, Deirdre Kelly goes on to review the troubled lives of nineteenth-century ballerinas, who lived in poverty and worked under torturous and even life-threatening conditions. In the twentieth century, George Balanchine created a contradictory ballet culture that simultaneously idealized and oppressed ballerinas, and many of his dancers suffered from anorexia and bulimia or underwent cosmetic surgery to achieve the ideal ethereal form. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, ballerinas are still underpaid, vulnerable to arbitrary discrimination and dismissal, and expected to bear pain stoically — but much of this is beginning to change.

As Kelly examines the lives of some of the world's best ballerinas — Anna Pavlova, Marie Camargo, Gelsey Kirkland, Evelyn Hart, and Misty Copeland, among others — she argues for a rethinking of the world's most graceful dance form — a rethinking that would position the ballerina at its heart, where she belongs. Also available in paperback.

Deirdre Kelly is a journalist, author, and internationally recognized dance critic for Dance Magazine, the Dance Gazette, and the Globe and Mail, where for sixteen years she was the paper's dance critic on staff. A contributor to the International Dictionary of Ballet and the online arts group Critics at Large, she is the author of the...
Title:Ballerina: Sex, Scandal, and Suffering Behind the Symbol of PerfectionFormat:HardcoverProduct dimensions:264 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.87 inShipping dimensions:9 × 6 × 0.87 inPublished:September 7, 2012Publisher:Greystone BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1926812662

ISBN - 13:9781926812663


Editorial Reviews

"[Kelley is] fresh and adept when summoning the art’s spellbinding yet harrowing earlier centuries"—Publishers Weekly “fast-paced and fascinating a pleasurable read for any balletomane.”—Library Journal"Ballerina features the powerful and dramatic stories of some of the industries greatest dancers"—The Dance Journal"Kelly exposes, with rich detail, the underbelly of the world that only those with a true calling to dance en pointe could endure. ...Read this book. You will never look at a ballet production through the same eyes again."—Portland Book Review“Ballerina is a literary dance of narrative and emotion that pirouettes between rage and sorrow, backstage bleakness and transcendent beauty. A terrific book.”—Elizabeth Abbott, author of A History of Celibacy