I finished this book over my Spring Break. What a great Spring Break it was, relaxing with a book in one hand and a cup of tea in the other.
Bunheads by Sophie Flack (2011)
The cover of this one drew me in-ballerinas with their elegant tutus and delicate arms swooshing overhead. Hannah Ward is nineteen and been at dance academy since she was young. She doesn't want you to call her a ballerina though as those are the stars of the show, she dances in the corps de ballet. Hannah is a wonderful mentor for us novice wanna-be ballet anythings. We see through her eyes the difficult struggle, the competitiveness, and the thrust into adult life, Hannah is living. One night she meets a boy though and through his eyes she sees how she just might be missing out on a thing or two.
I like this story although there isn't any amazing triumphant crisis. I like that Hannah was upbeat compared to some of her other dance partners and her friend, Bea, even more so. It was very interesting peeking backstage, and listening in on dressing room gossip as Flack takes us into their personal lives as each of the corps girls struggle with weight, injuries, and Otto, the man in charge of it all.
Two interesting quotes that stood out to me:
"That's why I had to tell them, over one of my mom's hippie dinners of baked tofu and mashed yams, that this was the chance of a lifetime and that I was willing to take the risk." (6) (sounds yummy!)
"Mai is incredibly thin, and Otto uses her as the model for the ideal ballerina body. I've heard that she eats only once a day, and then only white foods. As I look at her, I can believe the rumors, even though I don't want to." (137) (White foods like garlic mashed potatoes or vanilla ice cream? I think maybe she eats things more like bean sprouts or jicama.)
You notice lots of focus on food and the girls do smoke and drink which is kind of hard to take as they are young and ever so thin. This is a light read that transports you backstage and around NYC with a set of hip young friends.
Sophie Flack writes from experience as she trained at the Boston Ballet School, and at fifteen, was accepted into the American Ballet. Her experience is what makes this book worth reading. Find another review here at 4Dancers.