I want to stretch to the moon, Delia thought. Far, far away.
Twelve-year-old Delia Ferri doesn't remember her mother or her family the way it used to be. All she knows is that her sister, Pearl, and her father are fighting more and more. Pearl is withdrawn and angry and obsessed with witchcraft. Delia vows not to give her father anything else to worry about.
The only time Delia feels important and alive is when she is dancing for Madame Elanova, a world-famous ballet instructor who calls Delia "destined." Delia relishes the hard work required to be a ballet dancer, but she doesn't see the toll it is taking on her life. As competition for Madame's approval takes over, Delia's weight drastically drops, her schoolwork suffers, and she pulls away from her friends and family. Only then does she begin to understand how fiercely her sister had to fight to find her own truth.
A Dance of Sisters is an intimate portrait of the rigorous world of ballet, and a story of two girls searching for connection. Tracey Porter's beautiful novel explores the many dances of life, and the bond between sisters that sometimes only experience can reveal.
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Tracey Porter graduated from the Washington School for Ballet, a secondary school devoted to serious ballet students that was modeled on the ballet academies in Russia and Europe. It was the first and only school of its kind until it closed in 1977. She teaches middle school at Crossroads School in Santa Monica, California. She lives with her husband, Sandy, her daughter, Sarah, and her son, Sam.From Publishers Weekly:
In an absorbing and eye-opening novel about two motherless sisters, Porter (Treasures in the Dust), who has first-hand experience with the rigors of ballet, candidly exposes the nightmarish elements behind a girl's dream of becoming a classical dancer. Delia, 13, and her older sister, Pearl, struggle with the void left by their mother's death years earlier. Pearl, with a longer memory than Delia's and more able to acknowledge her grief than their always-busy father, dabbles in witchcraft and gets sent to boarding school after she is expelled from her private day school. Delia, meanwhile, gravitates to the highly respected Elanova School of Dance. At first glance the characters seem like predictable stereotypes: cold-hearted Madame Elanova barks her commands with a thick Russian accent ("You must vork! Vork!"); the anorexics are rewarded for their discipline; the teacher's pets guard their positions; students back-bite their way to the top. But the interactions of these characters are complex and full of psychological drama, with individuals' motives perceptively laid out. Delia changes clearly and authentically, her development shored up with realistic details and believable insights. Pearl evolves equally credibly offstage, her voice emerging through letters to Delia and through an occasional visit home. The ballet story lines converge elegantly and poignantly with Pearl's and Delia's different experiences of bereavement and loss. Readers will be sorry to see this novel end. Ages 8-12.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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