When Da Capo Press contacted me several weeks ago, I said I was happy to accept a complimentary copy of Lauren Kessler's book, "Raising the Barre: Big Dreams, False Starts, and My Midlife Quest to Dance the Nutcracker." I agreed to read the book and review it if I found it relevant to the Blog for Ballet audience.
I was surprised and delighted when I began reading - for several reasons. First, that Ms. Kessler's account of her midlife quest to dance in The Nutcracker included several scenes of her work with Eugene Ballet Company dancer - and Augusta Ballet 2015 Hope Ballet Theatre summer camp instructor! - Victoria Harvey. By pure coincidence, I was reading a book that heavily featured my lovely friend Tori.
Second, that the author's astute observations of the dancer's experience - from grueling work and body images issues, to peer bonding and the richness of creating art - were enriched with humor and self-deprecation. And third, that the book is as much about adult identify and the meaning of (mid)life as it is about ballet.
Whether or not you're harboring secret fantasies of becoming the ballerina you dreamed of becoming as a child, "Raising the Barre" inspires you to keep pursuing personal growth, no matter how much it scares or eludes you. In fact, Kessler argues that the impossible dreams are the ones most worth chasing.
Marin Rose, Artistic Chair, Augusta Ballet Board of Trustees
Read a free excerpt.