Dancing on Thorns
by Rebecca Horsfall
Category: Fiction / General
0 pages; ISBN: 0345479785
Rating: 9/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner
Dancing on Thorns
Ballantine, Sep 2005, $23.95
He is only sixteen but his promise as a classical dancer already seems lost as his teachers at the Academie in Paris have given up on him and worse so has he. Jean-Baptiste St. Michel’s dream of proving to his renowned dancer-choreographer father that he is worthy appears doomed to failure as his techniques are imperfect until the internationally once famous aging Nadia Petrovna arrives for two weeks of escape from bills to the place she first achieved acclaim. She brings him back to London and arranges for her ingenious protégé Charles Crown, head of the Islington Ballet, to tutor the teen.
Over the next few years, Michel works on his craft to become a star under demanding tutlege. He also becomes the center of the troupe that includes Jonni Kendal. They are attracted to one another immediately and marry, but he is unable to provide any true emotion to their relationship as the dance is everything. In spite of success and marriage to a nice sweet person, Michel remains discontented as he still fails to achieve his objective of parental approval.
This is a terrific dance saga and though Michel is the main character, the novel contains side tales of several other key players so that the prime cast seems genuine whether it is a scorning father, a cold mother, a nurturing yet demanding teacher or a sweet wannabe actress. Still the in spite of the powerful characterizations, ballet is the star of this five star production. Readers will appreciate this strong look over several years inside the life of a classical dancer and those in his sphere.
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