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

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  1,112 ratings  ·  269 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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Book Review:
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
Kristin Carney
When I saw this book on the reading list, I knew I had to read it. I felt I could relate to it a lot because my passion is to dance. I really liked how this book started with a young dancer to show her dreams. Siena was a six year old dancer chasing her dreams big. I really liked the illustrations in this book because it kept it more alive. The color and the ribbons that ran through the book just made it more special to me I felt. It just made the story seem so real and passionate about dance. T...more
Taylor Railey
I have been a dancer all my life so I really enjoyed reading this book. I could really connect with Siena and her dream of becoming a dancer. All of her hard work when she decided to become a professional ballerina after seeing a performance by Maya Plisetskaya was so real to me and I could really grasp a since of the emotion she had.

This graphic novel was very simple and I don't think it could have been written any better. The illustrations were great as well. They were very bright and they add...more
Judy Booe
Siena is a young girl in Puerto Rico who loves to dance. When Siena is nine, her family moves to Boston for a year and she has the opportunity to see the great Maya Plisetskaya perform Swan Lake with the Bolshoi Ballet. This fueled her passion and determination to become a ballerina. She took classes back in Puerto Rico and didn’t give up her dream. Her family supports her dreams by bringing her to New York to audition for the School of American Ballet when she is eleven. This story follows her...more
Genre: Informational/Biography/Graphic Novel for ages 9 - 13

Summary: A ballerina tells her story in this graphic novel. From her childhood in Puerto Rico to her school days in New York at the School of American Ballet. It's a story any girl who dreams of becoming a ballerina would love to read and dream of being a reality for her as well.

Curriculum Connection: A history connection with ballet and dance. cold be explored. Also, geography could be explored since many places are mentioned like, Sa...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.
Apr 27, 2014 Ekassel added it
Shelves: 642-shelf
Genre: Graphic Novel/Memoir

Age: 1st-5th

Summary: Ballerina Siena Cherson Siegel tells the story of how she became a ballerina, after the doctor told her her feet would always be flat. She includes stories of her family life with the ballerina story.

Curriculum Connection: This is a great example of an autobiography, and can show kids that there are alternative ways, such as graphic novels to create an autobiography. Young girls will fall in love with the ballerina's story.

Personal Reaction: I li...more
Amy Adams
This was a nice little autobiography-graphic novel for kids. I think I would've loved it in second or third grade! You get a glimpse into not just the dance life but also the family life of a New York City Ballet dancer. It gives kids an introduction to some significant figures in ballet history, and you see just how dedicated you have to be to become a professional. Also, the part that addresses George Balanchine's death is very moving and well done. I like both the illustrations and the story,...more
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
Synopsis: "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 beginnings -- and
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
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