Top Five Most Inspirational Ballet Books

Top Five Most Inspirational Ballet Books, including Confessions of a Neighbor: a Ballet Book Thriller by Heather Nadine Lenz The Top Five Most Inspirational Ballet Books[/caption]

I recently attended Swan Lake at the Zurich Opernhaus; I walked out onto the plaza after the performance glowing with pure joy. I adore the controlled nuance of each graceful movement, the power of lithe bodies moving as if one with the music, the costumes, the electric attraction the dancers emit on stage. Experiencing riveting beauty is so soul satisfying; it is like a spring shower for the spirit.

Do you find ballet fascinating as I do? Is watching one performance a year not nearly enough to quench your thirst for the beauty of classical ballet? Or do you have a little ballerina in your house and you want to dive in and learn more about what it takes to become a ballet dancer? I have compiled a select list of the top five most inspirational ballet books for you to quench your thirst for more ballet in your life:

The most inspiring ballet books as of May 2017
The most inspiring ballet books as of May 2017

1. Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina by Misty Copeland
2. Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina by Michaela DePrince, Elaine DePrince
3. Dancing Through It: My Journey in the Ballet by Jenifer Ringer
4. Mao’s Last Dancer by Li Cunxin
5. Once a Dancer: An Autobiography by Allegra Kent

* Confessions of a Neighbor: A Ballet Thriller

(If you love inspiring ballet novels, you will enjoy my ballet thriller novel: Confessions of a Neighbor. Confessions of a Neighbor is a ballet fiction book that dives into the intrinsic drive and discipline ballet dancers must possess to win a place on the stage.)

I have to confess, after reading these riveting ballet novels I was not only inspired. I was horrified. The path of a ballerina sounds like torture. You need to not only have talent in spades and iron-will discipline but mental strength. Without this resilience, it is impossible to withstand the rejection, disappointment, poisonous discrimination and pure, pulsing physical pain. For me, one facet of my fascination with ballet is the dancers’ passion, which lifts them up and carries them through every barrier to their dream, to their art.

(Side note: After reading these ballet books, I do not want my daughter to become a ballet dancer; it seems such an intense and brutal road with a microscopic chance of success. At the best dancers enjoy a very short career on the ballet stage. But like any loving mama, I will support my child in following her dreams.)

Ready to start reading? I’ve included the descriptions of each ballet book from Goodreads below:

1. Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina by Misty Copeland

Goodreads Book Description:
“Picture a ballerina in a tutu and toe shoes. What does she look like?

As the only African American soloist dancing with the prestigious American Ballet Theatre, Misty Copeland has made history. But when she first placed her hands on the barre at an after-school community center, no one expected the undersized, anxious thirteen-year-old to become a ground-breaking ballerina.

When she discovered ballet, Misty was living in a shabby motel room, struggling with her five siblings for a place to sleep on the floor. A true prodigy, she was dancing en pointe within three months of taking her first dance class and performing professionally in just over a year: a feat unheard of for any classical dancer. But when Misty became caught between the control and comfort she found in the world of ballet and the harsh realities of her own life (culminating in a highly publicized custody battle), she had to choose to embrace both her identity and her dreams, and find the courage to be one of a kind.

With an insider’s unique point of view, Misty opens a window into the life of a professional ballerina who lives life center stage: from behind the scenes at her first auditions to her triumphant roles in some of the most iconic ballets. But in this beautifully written memoir, she also delves deeper to reveal the desire and drive that made her dreams reality.

Life in Motion is a story of passion and grace for anyone who has dared to dream of a different life.”

2. Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina by Michaela DePrince

Goodreads Book Description:
“The extraordinary memoir of Michaela DePrince, a young dancer who escaped war-torn Sierra Leone for the rarefied heights of American ballet.
Michaela DePrince was known as girl Number 27 at the orphanage, where she was abandoned at a young age and tormented as a “devil child” for a skin condition that makes her skin appear spotted. But it was at the orphanage that Michaela would find a picture of a beautiful ballerina en pointe that would help change the course of her life.
At the age of four, Michaela was adopted by an American family, who encouraged her love of dancing and enrolled her in classes. She went on to study at the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at the American Ballet Theatre and is currently a member of the Dutch National Ballet’s junior company. She has appeared in the ballet documentary “First Position,” as well as on “Dancing with the Stars, Good Morning America,” and “Nightline.”
In this engaging, moving, and unforgettable memoir, Michaela shares her dramatic journey from an orphan in West Africa to becoming one of ballet’s most exciting rising stars.”

3. Dancing Through It: My Journey in the Ballet by Jenifer Ringer

Goodreads Book Description:
“A behind-the-curtains look at the rarefied world of classical ballet from a principal dancer at the New York City Ballet

In her charming and self-effacing voice, Jenifer Ringer covers the highs and lows of what it’s like to make it to the top in the exclusive, competitive ballet world. From the heart-pounding moments waiting in the wings before a performance to appearing on Oprah to discuss weight and body image among dancers, Dancing Through It is moving and revelatory.

Raised in South Carolina, Ringer led a typical kid’s life until she sat in on a friend’s ballet class, an experience that would change her life forever. By the age of twelve she was enrolled at the elite Washington School of Ballet and soon moved to the School of American Ballet. At sixteen she was a professional dancer at the New York City Ballet in Manhattan, home of the legendary George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins.

Ringer takes us inside the dancer’s world, detailing a typical day, performance preparation, and the extraordinary pressures that these athletes face. Ringer shares exhilarating stories of starring in Balanchine productions, working with the famous Peter Martins, and of meeting her husband and falling in love at the New York City Ballet. Ringer also talks candidly of Alistair Macauley’s stinging critique of her weight in his 2010 New York Times review of The Nutcracker that ignited a public dialogue about ballet and weight. She unflinchingly describes her personal struggles with eating disorders and body image, and shares how her faith helped her to heal and triumph over these challenges.”

4. Mao’s Last Dancer by Li Cunxin

Goodreads Book Description:
“From a desperately poor village in northeast China, at age eleven, Li Cunxin was chosen by Madame Mao’s cultural delegates to be taken from his rural home and brought to Beijing, where he would study ballet. In 1979, the young dancer arrived in Texas as part of a cultural exchange, only to fall in love with America-and with an American woman. Two years later, through a series of events worthy of the most exciting cloak-and-dagger fiction, he defected to the United States, where he quickly became known as one of the greatest ballet dancers in the world. This is his story, told in his own inimitable voice.”

5. Once a Dancer: An Autobiography by Allegra Kent

Goodreads Book Description:
“Allegra Kent joined the New York City Ballet at the age of fifteen and, only two years later, inspired Balanchine’s unforgettable The Unanswered Question. Beautiful, sensuous, and mysterious, she quickly became an essential Balanchine dancer-and the story of her personal life is as dramatic as they story of her rise to fame. Her account of a bizarre childhood, a magnificent if curious dance career, a charged, complicated domestic life with photographer Bert Stern, and a never-ending struggle with emotional, physical, and financial pressures is fascinating-as are her portraits of the other great dance figures who punctuated her life, from Balanchine to Baryshnikov.”

Confessions of a Neighbor: by Heather Nadine Lenz

A Ballet Thriller-Novel About Heartbreak, Fighting for your Dreams and Love.

Ella’s dream of becoming a ballerina are fractured with the death of her grandmother, the last in her family. At only 16 years old she is alone, trying to forge her way as a ballet dancer, studying and training hard while working in a restaurant to make ends meet. Dejected and alienated, she fails one ballet audition after another. It is then that she meets the handsome neighbor she has been watching from across the street. Be prepared for not-quite-what-they-seem lives, betrayals, and manipulation. This inspirational thriller ballet book is full of twists and turns and gripping to the last page.

This novel is full of twists and turns, and the feeling of menace steadily grows. Ella has no idea that the seemingly innocent practice of spying on her neighbor will put her in grave danger.

“Confessions of a Neighbor, is a wonderful suspense story that takes you for a ride on the roller coaster of unexpected events one after the other, so beautifully that it’s hard to put down. The story is about a young 16-year-old girl Ella, who has a dream to be a ballerina, but losing her close ones breaks her heart and leaves her lonely and sad. Then she became a victim of being stalked, and she is worried and scared. The book is her inspiring journey of fears, insecurities, her loss and determination and love to pursue her dreams. The author has done a beautiful job in creating a sense that makes you feel the emotional ride of Ella as you read the book. The detailed description of beautiful scenes of Switzerland is a bonus. All in all an intense, psychological mystery.” – Archie

“This is a disturbing and entrancing book at the same time, perhaps because it reveals the vulnerability that anyone can have in their lives. The modern age is a frightening place where information is impossible to bury, and leaving your past behind is harder than you think. Ella is a talented and passionate ballerina that has been dealt an unfair hand in life, and we see her very real struggles on the pages of this novel. Not only does she have personal demons and professional fears to juggle, but the unwanted attention of a neighbor and the rising sense of fear in her days adds an extra dash of suspense and tension to this taut thriller. The pace is slow and methodical, like a slowly building threat, and just when readers are beginning to plateau, a new depth to this mystery is revealed. Lenz writes with a real sense of human nature, and has the ability to capture emotions in a compelling way – a skill she puts on full display with the gamut of Ella’s feelings in this memorable read.” Veritas Vincit for Reader’s Favorite
Be prepared for not-quite-what-they-seem lives, betrayals, and manipulation. This psychological mystery set in Switzerland is impressively creepy.

Love of Reading Ballet Books, Christian Fiction, Psychological Thrillers\

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