What's the Name of That Book??? discussion

UNSOLVED: One specific book > YA book about young ballet dancers. They walk under a horizontal rope to measure how tall they are. read in 80s or 90s, possibly older. Sadler's Wells series?

Comments Showing 1-24 of 24 (24 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Rachel (new)

Rachel | 1530 comments A book I read in the 80s or 90s, but might have been slightly older.

It followed several young girls who were ballet dancers. I think there was a certain amount of envy or rivalry between them because some girls were more talented or successful than others. They may have been at a ballet academy or school, rather than just going to classes.

The main scene I remember is that all of the girls in their class were told to walk under a horizontal rope which was held up by their instructors. I think the height limit was 5 feet. If they fit under the rope, they were small enough to become professional dancers. If they were too tall, they were told their prospects as dancers were limited. At least one girl in the book was too tall to fit under the rope and was devastated about it, and jealous of her shorter friends.

It may have been part of a series, but there are so many ballet books from that era it's been really difficult to identify the one I am looking for, so I'm hoping these specific details will ring a bell with someone. Looking through lists of ballet books is not especially helpful since there usually aren't enough plot details to identify a specific book. However, I don't think it was Ballet Shoes.

Any help appreciated!

message 2: by Tab (new)

Tab (tabbrown) | 5054 comments Do you remember the cover?
How old were the girls?
Do you remember any of the teachers, parents, etc?

message 3: by Rachel (last edited May 02, 2018 01:43AM) (new)

Rachel | 1530 comments I don't remember anything about the cover.

The girls were aged about 11-13 I think. I remember finding the height thing weird because at that age they still could have grown a lot taller in the future.

I think the teachers may have been a man and a woman, but that's all I've got - nothing about the parents. It's been a looong time since I read it.

Edit: it's also definitely not the Scrambled Legs series - more serious and less jokey than those books.

message 4: by Rachel (last edited May 30, 2018 03:40AM) (new)

Rachel | 1530 comments I'm now wondering if this was one of the Sadler's Wells series by Lorna Hill, so I've edited the header but I can't find detailed enough plot descriptions to identify which book.

message 5: by Kris (last edited May 30, 2018 06:45AM) (new)

Kris | 36643 comments Mod
Sadler's Wells series by Lorna Hill - mentioned by Rachel

message 6: by Rachel (new)

Rachel | 1530 comments bump

message 7: by Rachel (new)

Rachel | 1530 comments bump

message 8: by Kris (new)

Kris | 36643 comments Mod
I'd suggested using the advanced search on Worldcat.org. It's good for tracking down older children's books.



message 9: by Rachel (new)

Rachel | 1530 comments ballet dancers bump

I didn't have any luck searching on Worldcat. There's just not enough plot description to identify the book.

message 10: by SamSpayedPI (last edited Aug 15, 2019 07:25AM) (new)

SamSpayedPI | 2075 comments Perhaps the Susie series? I only read On Your Toes, Susie!, and I don't remember the rope scene, but it might be in one of the other books in the series. I don't remember it as being particularly serious in tone, however. They're also quite old (1950's).

message 11: by Rachel (new)

Rachel | 1530 comments Thanks for the suggestion, but I'm pretty sure I haven't read these. The book I am looking for was a bit longer and aimed at slightly older readers (would guess 10-13 ish).

message 12: by Rainbowheart (new)

Rainbowheart | 21140 comments Do you remember what country the books were set in?

message 13: by Rachel (new)

Rachel | 1530 comments I think they were set in the UK.

message 14: by Rainbowheart (new)

Rainbowheart | 21140 comments Jean Ure is British and wrote a lot of ballet books.

message 15: by Juels (last edited Aug 16, 2019 11:35AM) (new)

Juels | 2569 comments Are you positive it was ballet and not gymnastics? Beginners by Elizabeth Levy?

message 16: by Rachel (new)

Rachel | 1530 comments I don't think it is any of the Jean Ures as I remember them quite well.

Juels, I'm pretty sure it was ballet and not gymnastics, although if the book you linked has the scene with the rope then I will reconsider. I can't find enough detailed info online about it.

message 17: by Juels (new)

Juels | 2569 comments I was wondering because I've heard of gymnasts being undesirable if they exceed a certain height. However, most ballerinas are between 5'3" and 5'8" - common heights for women.

message 18: by Rachel (new)

Rachel | 1530 comments See I always thought the height thing didn't make any sense in ballet - even at the time I was reading it!

Thinking about it, maybe the height thing was actually part of the casting for a specific performance? Like maybe all the girls 5ft and under were cast in the chorus so that their heights would be similar and it would look better onstage. They were aged about 10-13 so probably the majority were under 5ft anyway.

message 20: by Rainbowheart (new)

Rainbowheart | 21140 comments Still looking, Rachel?

I found the Royal Ballet School Diaries series, but the first book wasn't pubbed until '05.


message 21: by Rachel (new)

Rachel | 1530 comments Still looking! I don't think it was the Satin Slippers series which Juels suggested - they don't look familiar at all. The Royal Ballet School books would be too recent. Thanks for all the suggestions though.

message 22: by Bethany (new)

Bethany | 28 comments Could it be one of a series of books by Jean Estoril ? She wrote a series of books about a ballerina called Drina. The first book Ballet for Drina I haven't actually read (so I can't say if it has this rope scene sorry), but the other ones sound similar in theme. She is very serious about ballet and attends an academy or dancing school and, from memory, it's set in the UK.

message 23: by Rainbowheart (new)

Rainbowheart | 21140 comments Dancing Peel? It's the first in a series.

message 24: by Rachel (new)

Rachel | 1530 comments I don't immediately recognise the Drina series or the Dancing Peel series. To be honest if they don't have some kind of preview or extract available online it will be very difficult to rule books in or out as I'm going on one specific scene. I appreciate the suggestions though.

back to top