Fiction Martha Southgate Another Way to Dance

ISBN 13: 9780385321914

Another Way to Dance

3.55 avg rating
( 84 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780385321914: Another Way to Dance

Fourteen-year-old Vicki Harris's dream has come true. She has been accepted into the summer program at New York City's prestigious School of American Ballet. It will be hard work and highly competitive, but Vicki feels ready. She is totally committed to dancing.
Vicki isn't prepared to be one of only two African-American students in the program. Nor is she expecting the racism she finds within the school. And Michael, from Harlem, takes Vicki completely by surprise. He shakes up her dream world--where Baryshnikov is her idol, her parents never really got divorced, and every pirouette is perfect--and shows her that the real world is bigger than a stage.
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From Kirkus Reviews:

A probing ballet story about a young dancer who is untangling the differences between blending into the corps de ballet and subsuming her own individuality. Vicki Harris is in love with Mikhail Baryshnikov. She's thrilled to be accepted into the summer program at the prestigious School of American Ballet--where she might run into Misha--but she's also worried: The school is extremely demanding. Vicki is one of two African-Americans in the program, pronounced the other ``chip in the cookie,'' by sassy Stacey. They support each other in their rigorous classes but suspect that no matter how hard they work or how good they are, the subtle racism that pervades classical ballet and therefore the school has no room for anyone at the top who isn't white. Vicki has her own prejudices: Swept up in her ideal of the perfect ballerina, she has straightened her hair (over her mother's objections) and wears it in a bun; she's embarrassed at the ``loud and crazy'' antics of a group of black girls on the subway and dislikes the oversize clothing of ``homies.'' She faces these prejudices while coping with the rigors of school, family relationships, and her growing feelings for a boy in this compelling first novel about growing up, a summer of dance, and the haunting, competitive world of classical ballet. Readers will be rooting for Vicki all the way. (Fiction. 12+) -- Copyright 1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

As in Erika Tamar's Alphabet City Ballet (reviewed above), the heroine of this impressive first novel is a minority student at a prestigious ballet school. Unlike Tamar's starry-eyed younger heroine, however, 14-year-old Vicki has experienced subtle racism in classes where "visual harmony" is as highly regarded as a perfect pirouette, and she has tried her best to fit in. Vicki's recently divorced parents have both worked hard to instill in her an appreciation of her African American heritage, but Vicki is more interested in ballet: "Everything that's important to me doesn't have much to do with the color of my skin." She is thrilled to attend a summer session of the School of American Ballet in New York, to work at her art as well as to nurse her elaborate, "color-blind" daydreams about Mikhail Baryshnikov. The friends she makes while at the school, especially a teenage boy from Harlem, help pull Vicki out of her narrow fantasies. She begins to face her daily frustrations in and out of Lincoln Center, and to realize that she cannot ignore the issue of race any more than her unhappiness with her parents' divorce. Southgate offers a poignant account of self-discovery, convincingly hopeful and steadfast in its refusal to settle for easy solutions. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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