Reviews for


"This provocatively titled, impeccably researched history of the ballerina romps through centuries' worth of ballet's dirty little secrets . . . There are many engrossing stories in Ballerina. Ballet lovers will not be disappointed by this compelling read." —Cindy-Marie, Winnipeg Free Press

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"Much like the mesmerizing figures that inhabit the world of ballet, the beauty of the art form attracts us but the unknown allure what goes on backstage forever holds our intrigue. It's this vast and often dark history that Canadian arts writer Deirdre Kelly delves into and brings to the surface in her latest book, Ballerina: Sex, Scandal and Suffering Behind the Symbol of Perfection." —Elle Canada

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"Kelly . . . [is] fresh and adept when summoning the art's spellbinding yet harrowing earlier centuries." —Publishers Weekly


"Kelly exposes, with rich detail, the underbelly of the world that only those with a true calling to dance en pointe could endure. . . . Read this book. You will never look at a ballet production through the same eyes again." —Portland Book Review


"In a painfully riveting book, Canada's dance critic Deirdre Kelly sheds new light on the private struggles of ballerinas." —Flare Magazine


"Ballerina features the powerful and dramatic stories of some of the industries greatest dancers." —The Dance Journal


"After the dancers take their final bows, peek behind the theatre drapes by reading Deirdre Kelly's controversial new book Ballerina: Sex, Scandal and Suffering Behind the Symbol of Perfection." —FASHION Magazine


"A revealing insight into the need for an environment . . . protecting the physical and psychological well-being of the artist." —Margaret Illmann


"A fascinating, well-researched, and insightful book . . . this is an important story to tell." —Sabina Allemann


"A fascinating portrait . . . the ballerina emerges as a true sexual Gothic heroine." —Susan Swan


"A concise, often chilling history . . . filled with sex, scandal, heartbreak, and beauty." —Katrina Onstad


"Deirdre Kelly's new book delivers on its juicy title, providing a thoughtful history of the ballerina as social constructóthe idealized woman." —Maclean's

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"Deirdre Kelly has been obsessed with dance and the ballerina since she was three years old . . . Now, in her new book, Ballerina: Sex, Scandal, and Suffering Behind the Symbol of Perfection, she pulls back the curtain and gives us a rare peak behind the scenes at what it means in the past and the present to be a ballerina." —Critics at Large

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"Deirdre Kelly fosters a greater appreciation of this most iconic of female dancers." —Vanessa Harwood


"Ballerina is a literary dance of narrative and emotion that pirouettes between rage and sorrow, backstage bleakness and transcendent beauty. A terrific book." —Elizabeth Abbott


" . . . her detailed account of how ballet transitioned from being a means of teaching aristocratic boys and men proper form for fencing and military manoeuvers to an avenue of social advancement for lower-class women is engaging and informative . . . Ballerina is an entertaining book . . . the conversational tone and an abundance of tabloid-worthy gossip makes this a worthwhile read for avid fans of dance looking for an accessible and fun, if not exhaustive, history of ballet." —Dory Cerny, Quill & Quire


" . . . fast-paced and fascinating . . . a pleasurable read for any balletomane." —Library Journal


"[Deirdre Kelly] vivily describes the treatment of women in ballet from a historical perspective." —Broadway World