Jay's Reviews > Dreamer Ballerina

Dreamer Ballerina by Sarah Rubin
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's review
Sep 25, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: ballet, books-i-own, historical-recent, ya
Read from September 25 to 26, 2011

This book starts off like other standard YA ballet works. A young girl, with no training, aspires to be a prima ballerina and must beat the snooty other dancer in her class who can afford lessons and the like. Casey, our narrator, is poor and loves to dance everywhere but can't afford to go to a ballet school. She believes she's ready to attend the American School of Ballet in NYC, and although she has never done her tendus and fondues and grand battements in a classroom, she has 'checked out every book on ballet in the library'. So off she trots to NYC to try her hand at a scholarship...

...and ultimately fails to get one. Because she's not cut out for a top ballet school, because she's never had lessons. However, Miss Priss, as she's dubbed, tells Casey (and the reader) that she has worked her arse off to get where she is and she deserves the scholarship. Her feet are bleeding, she constantly practices, and dammit, some layabout from the street isn't going to take that from her.

Now, Balanchine (who, lol, is in this book, which is both awesome and highly amusing) does tell Casey to try out for contemporary dance, and Casey is awesome at it and so on. I worry a little that Sarah Rubin is fobbing contemporary off as an idea that it's for would-be ballerinas who just aren't cut out for the ballet world. Contemporary is just as hard as ballet, and requires just as much work and stamina. It's not an easy out. But I digress- this could be blamed on the late 50s/early 60s setting.

I like that Casey had to find another dream. You just can't waltz into a ballet studio- and not at a top school as that, either- and get a scholarship by dancing with your heart alone. You can't learn ballet from a book, and I like that Balanchine (pfft) pointed that out to Casey. She didn't have the technique right. She needed to work on it.

Now, the story otherwise is simple, and the characters easy to follow. I liked Rubin's writing style, with its casual, laidback air, and slightly lazy, vaguely uneducated teen manner. If she writes any other books on this topic I'll go search them out- she seems to get that dance is hard work, something many authors, I found, have lacked.
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Reading Progress

09/25/2011 page 60
02/05/2016 marked as: read
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