It all started when Jeanne recommended Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead. A novel about how an American ballerina helps a Russian dancer defect, set against the backdrop of the exciting, challenging world of ballet, it has lead to a full-blown obsession.
As the NY Times notes, Shipstead “does caustic humor, simmering hostilities and social envy well”, which makes for a fun, immersive read.
Just before that, Jo’s post reminded me about city.ballet, a great AOL series narrated by Sarah Jessica Parker all about life as part of the New York City Ballet. It’s on it’s second season now – each episode is less than 10 minutes long and brimming with interesting tid bits and refreshing honesty.
If that’s not enough (and for me, it wasn’t), hit up Netflix – go for cheesy nostalgia with Zoe Saldana’s film debut, Center Stage, or keep it real with the brilliant 2011 documentary, First Position.
I never did ballet – I did get notions one summer though. I think I was around 10, and we had this brilliant Russian gymnast working with us in the circus that season. She trained my sister Kelly and I for a few months, and I have vivid memories of doing ballet drills to her chiming “Raz, dva, tri, chetyre!” and, after weeks of practising, finally, finally managing to do a side split. That’s as far as I got though.
I would love to see ballet live some day; which might happen sooner than I thought, as the Moscow City’s Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker is coming to the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, which is just up the road. So the obsession can continue…
Top: Absolutely gorgeous shot by Akira Enzeru.
Bottom: Underground Ballerina by Anthony Passant.