To Dance: A Ballerina's Graphic Novel
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To Dance: A Ballerina's Graphic Novel

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  986 ratings  ·  253 reviews
Dancers are young when they first dream of dance. Siena was six -- and her dreams kept skipping and leaping, circling and spinning, from airy runs along a beach near her home in Puerto Rico, to dance class in Boston, to her debut performance on stage with the New York City Ballet.

To Dance tells and shows the fullness of her dreams and her rhapsodic life they led to. Part...more
Hardcover, 64 pages
Published October 1st 2006 by Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books (first published September 5th 2006)
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I loved the illustrations. Loved the color, Loved the ribbons that ran through it. Loved it! The writing...mmm, it was a bit disjointed and clunky but over all it worked.

A bunch of other ramblings...
When I was a kid we were poor. Not Frank McCourt poor, not we might have to eat the dog poor. but still, poor.

poor like, no insurance poor, and going to McDonalds was a MAJOR TREAT poor, wearing socks for gloves in the winter poor, and babysiting the siblings at the berry field that my mo...more
(NS) Lauren
Grade/Interest Level: 3-6

Dancers are young when they first dream of dance. Siena was six -- and her dreams kept skipping and leaping, circling and spinning, from airy runs along a beach near her home in Puerto Rico, to dance class in Boston, to her debut performance on stage with the New York City Ballet.
To Dance tells and shows the fullness of her dreams and her rhapsodic life they led to. Part family history, part backstage drama, here is an original, firsthand book about a young dancer's begi...more
Summary: To Dance is a graphic novel about a young girl that loves to dance. She dreams of being a dancer and this book takes you through her journey. The book is not only a graphic novel in which the main character is a girl, but it is also the memoir. The young girl has flat feet as a child and gets inspired to take dance because of a Russian ballerina as well as her mother’s idea to take lessons. She began lessons in Boston and then back in Puerto Rico where she was from. Once accepted to a b...more
To Dance, is a memoir by Siena Cherson Siegel with illustrations by her husband, Mark Siegel. The story is about her life from the time she was a little girl with a dream of dancing through her teen years. When Siena was six her doctor told her mother that she was “flat-footed,” and that she would never be able to dance. Her family moved around a lot, but her mother kept signing her up for dance classes. She worked so hard and was accepted into the School of American Ballet (SAB). She thrived i...more
(NS) Brea M
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 re...more
Jun 18, 2010 Karen rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: ls560
To Dance: A Ballerina's Graphic Novel is a dance through its word choice and graphic artwork. Each chapter title can be found on a swirling ribbon that intertwines throughout the story. When specific ballets are chapter titles, the chapter title is presented with an image from that particular ballet.

In this novel, a young girl's passion for dance is felt immediately, and I had to pause to balance the meaning of the words with the action of the illustrations. By the time I was nearing the climax...more
Jessie Doster
The book To Dance is a graphic novel about a young girl and her aspirations of becoming a dancer. The story begins with the six-year old dreaming of dancing while seeing a doctor about her flat fleet. The story is told from the main characters point of view as she takes readers on her journey of struggles and moments of triumph. Her family history and the backstage drama are captured to show the young girls character development into a beautiful young woman. Each page is filled with beautiful il...more
To Dance by Siena Cherson Siegel, is a graphic novel follows the life of the main character Siena. Siena Cherson Sigel wrote the book about herself. Siena lives in Puerto Rico with her mom, dad and brother. She was told that she can never dance because of her flat fleet. For many, this would have discouraged, but not Siena a six year old girl at the time! The story uses colorful pictures which guide the story of the life of Siena through her ups and downs. When she gets older she goes to New Yor...more
This is the perfect graphic novel for any girl (of any age!) who has ever wanted to be a ballerina!

Siena Cherson Siegel had the childhood every kid who was ever serious about ballet can only dream of. She auditions for and is accepted into the very prestigious School of American Ballet (SAB). This is the top school in the United States for young dancers and even more impressive is that Siegel was there during the last years of SAB's famous founder George Balanchine's life. This was also during...more
Sarah Stewart
Sarah Stewart
In this biography, Siena Siegel tells her story about her dream to become a dancer in this graphic novel. Siegel dreamed of becoming a dancer since she was little and living in Puerto Rico. She dreamed of leaping and spinning on a stage. With a move to New York, Siegel was signed up for a dance class. Becoming more serious about her dream as she grew up, she went to the American School for Ballet. There, she performed many performances by George Ballanchine. However, upon t...more
Nov 18, 2009 Liz rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: young girls ages 8+
This biographical graphic novel of a young girl aspiring to be a prima ballerina with The New York City Ballet is a story many young girls will relate to. Siena started dancing at 6 in San Juan, Puerto Rico later moving with her family to New York to study at the School of American Ballet. As she grows as a dancer the stage and dance studio become her refuge from her parent's fighting. At eighteen Siena stops dancing to give herself the opportunity to grow in other ways, even though dancing will...more
The simplicity of the story is refreshing. The drawings compliment the story quite well. the love of dance infuses every page, and one can't help but fall in love with dance as Siena relates her story.

I picked this book up while browsing through the shelves. Immediately, I thought of my daughters, both of whom, enjoy dance. Do they have the same love for dance that Siena describes?

I finished it because it was enjoyable and easy to read. I felt each struggle, and pain filled moment as well as t...more
OK. The illustrations are pretty cool. And full color. Yes, they convey emotion and movement, more so than other J graphic novels. And yes, she talks about how hard being a ballet dancer is, so as not to give prospective dancers false hope. But a Siebert Award? All I'm saying is, it was no Life and Death of Adolf Hitler. Or even Secrets of a Civil War Submarine. Was the committee just throwing graphic novels a bone? But girls will probably like it, and it's nice to see a postive, female centric,...more
Aug 11, 2007 Jamie rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: little girls
The Siegels expertly render what it's like to grow up with a dream--all of the hard work and the obstacles, the things in life that threaten to derail us, and the reward of passion. The comic book medium proves a good place to show dance, the art lightly moving across the page with appropriate grace.
Marivel Rangel
A graphic novel about a little girl that overcomes some bad times but never gives up her dream of becoming a ballerina. The illustrations are great!
Great graphic book - I enjoyed reading this autobiography, it was an easy read. The illustrations were well done according to story line.
Adam Cherson
I love my cameo in this book, egomaniacal narcissist that I am!
This graphic novel interweaves illustrations and text very well. The story, which is autobiographical, focuses on the childhood and teenage years of a dancer from Puerto Rico. Several ballet stars from the 70s and 80s make brief appearances, including Balanchine, Kirkland, Baryishnikov, etc., so major ballet fans will notice them easily. The story itself is interwoven with the protagonist's parents' marriage falling apart and her own experiences with body image (there is discussion of breast siz...more
The Dance: a Ballerina’s Graphic Novel a memoir by Siena Cherson Siegel with artwork by mark Siegel
Sibert Award

This graphic novel is unusual for an American GN. The subject is ballet, the colors are pink, and the main character is a young girl who loves to dance.

From the cover with the perspective of the wide-eyed girl dreaming of ballet to the end covers with the vast sandy beach space and a little girl flying through the space this graphic novel is definitely different and attractive to girl r...more
Erin Reilly-Sanders
I thought this was a really lovely little graphic novel/biography. It does an excellent job of carrying the story through the illustrations in addition to text by demonstrating action, portraying people, and showing emotion. The use of perspective really adds to the effectiveness of the illustrations, using a straight on view for emphasis such as Odette from Swan Lake shown mid-spin or a closeup of the pure grace in just the ballerina's hands or pulling back to show space and awe (such as lookin...more
Independent Reading: 2-5th grade

Siegel’s creativity and energy is fully expressed in her memoir, “To Dance: A Ballerina’s Graphic Novel”. Her husband Mark Siegel’s illustrations portrayed her life and dancing in an elegant yet comical manner. The text compliments the cartoon creations, yet stands apart in thinking and dialogue bubbles and framed boxes above the picture with a white background. Various phases of her life are broken into subtitles that are made cohesive by being written on a balle...more
Casey Brock
Reading level: 3-7
Siegel and Siegel use a graphic novel format to create this story. The use of pictures mixed with text make this book an easy and fast read. The pictures are small throughout the book, but the pictures are very detailed. The faces on the pictures show a lot of emotion and all of the different characters in the story have a very different look. Much of the book appears to be colored in with crayons. The pictures have some white space on the inside of the black lines that make t...more
Leslie Brevard
3rd – 5th grades
Mark Siegel did a wonderful job on the illustrations with this book. He used many vivid colors that were bright and dramatic. I think that even though he used cartooning, his characters had a lot of emotion showing with each of his pictures. You could see the happiness, confusion, and even anger in each character which I thought was neat to see in this type of cartooning. The text was very small and a little hard for me to read. The story was very meaningful and inspiring for all...more
Siena grew up in Puerto Rico, Boston, and New York. She started taking ballet lessons when she was very young and fell in love with her classes. When she saw Maya Plisetskaya perform with the Bolshoi Ballet she decided that she wanted to be a professional ballerina, too. She continued to take classes and eventually her family moved to New York after she auditioned for and was accepted at the School of American Ballet. Siena describes her training, her performances, her love of dance in her graph...more
Leticia H
The graphic novel, “To Dance”, was a very moving graphic novel that tells the story of a young lady who has a desire to dance, but has to face different obstacles along the way. Siena goes through the universal emotions of life… Hope, Desire, Obstacles, Happiness, Disappoint, Love, Commitment, Anger, Sadness, and Resolution.

I like how the graphic novel “To Dance”, starts off with a picture of Siena dancing in the sand at the beginning (first two pages of the graphic novel) and how the last two...more
Autobiographical graphic novel about a young girl who pursues her dream of becoming a ballerina. The panels and the art are creatively done, with different layouts on every page, and often the illustrations spill outside the borders of the panels. The book is easy to follow, as much of the text bridges across multiple panels, showing your eyes which way to go. There are many intricate details throughout the text with reoccuring pictures and creatively intertwined ribbons throughout the book. The...more
Siena wanted to dance more then anything else in the world. She loved how dancing made her feel, and how successful she was at it. Her favorite type of dance was ballet. Siena was originally from Puerto Rico and came to the United States to attend The School of American Ballet. She enjoyed performing and making new friends with the other ballerinas. In her early teens ballet was an escape from the growing problems and tensions between her parents. Siena loved ballet and danced until the age of 1...more
Another YA project book. I really enjoyed this and didn't think I was going to given the subject matter, as I think dancers are usually full of themselves. However, I really enjoyed it. It was story of the author from age 6 to about 20, when she first started ballet dancing to when she went back to it years later. I used to want to do ballet, ok really I wanted to skip straight to the pointy toe shoes, but when I found out that was probably 6 yrs of ballet down the road before you got those shoe...more
Patricia Rodriguez
To Dance: A Ballerina's Graphic Novel is a great book to read. I can relate to this book since my daughter dances ballet. For a dancer it's the magic created with a final performance that creates a dreamlike outlook of their future with dance. Many young dancers have a dream of being dancers, and the magic of that dream in this book spirals from Siena's mom believing that flat feet may be fixed with ballet dance classes. Siena begins amateur dancing in her hometown of Puerto Rico, then continues...more
I was drawn to this book because of its appealing format as a graphic novel, a medium which middle grade readers enjoy. That fact that it is a memoir, a genre which we study and produce in fourth grade, was also appealing. To Dance is Siena Siegel’s life story as a dancer, from when she was six years old and dreamed of filling open spaces with dance through her training at School of American Ballet, to her debut performance on stage with the New York City Ballet, her decision at 18 to attend c...more
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