Synopses & Reviews
Dancers are young when they first dream of dance. Siena was six -- and her dreams kept skipping and leaping, circling and spinning, from airy runs along a beach near her home in Puerto Rico, to dance class in Boston, to her debut performance on stage with the New York City Ballet. andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt; Twirl along with Siena as she shares her story in words with pictures by acclaimed illustrator Mark Siegel.
"Siena Cherson Siegel's autobiographical story will be as inviting to balletomanes as to aspiring ballet dancers. In a credible, youthful voice that conveys both confidence and innocence, she recalls her earliest inspirations to pursue dance, including watching Maya Plisetskaya perform with the Bolshoi Ballet. Mark Siegel (Seadogs), the author's husband, gracefully portrays this subtle epiphany in a single panel illustration, as young Siena looks directly at readers: 'I wanted to be a ballerina.' Eventually, she gains acceptance to the School of American Ballet, co-created by George Balanchine to train dancers for his New York City Ballet. The format smoothly connects these milestones with humorous childlike observations. In one series of panels, she comments on the Russian teachers at SAB: 'They wore black./ Floors were black./ Doors were black./ I wore green!' The next spread then explains that this green corresponds with a dancer's level. Under Balanchine's direction, Siena danced in Harlequinade, in which Baryshnikov starred, and she watches the ballet from the backstage wings, spying Balanchine or 'Mr. B.,' as the dancers call him, in the wings opposite her. Later, when Mr. B. dies unexpectedly, the artwork beautifully pays homage, with a shot of his empty place in the wings. Siena leaves the ballet, after a serious injury, to attend college, yet continues to dance ('Dancing fills a space in me'). The graphic novel format allows the Siegels to fluidly balance biographical events with onstage action, capturing both the dancers' movements and their passion. Ages 8-14. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
andlt;iandgt;"To Danceandlt;/iandgt; is a beautiful portrait of the magical world of dance, and an even more beautiful portrait of a young girl growing up. A must-read for all dreamers who discover themselves. Brava, Siena!" andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt; -- Peter Boal, artistic director, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and former principal dancer, New York City Ballet
"The familiar tale of a young dancer's progress takes on a newly poignant aura by being translated into the unexpectedly appropriate medium of the graphic novel." andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt; -- Terry Teachout, author of andlt;iandgt;All in the Dances: A Brief Life of George Balanchineandlt;/iandgt;
"I treasure the marriage of these lovable pictures with the humble story of becoming a ballerina. I believe that with this book, the number of ballet lovers will grow." andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt; -- Maya Plisetskaya, prima ballerina, Bolshoi Ballet
About the Author
andlt;Bandgt;Mark Siegelandlt;/Bandgt; was inspired by Cynthia Rylant's melodious homage to moonlit nights to take many long walks with only the full moon as his guide. The wonderfully atmospheric illustrations in andlt;Iandgt;Long Night Moonandlt;/Iandgt; reflect many of the things he discovered on those nocturnal hikes. An up-and-coming visual artist and an aspiring author, Mark spends his days designing books for children. His first book, Lisa Wheeler's andlt;Iandgt;Seadogs,andlt;/Iandgt; was published earlier this year. He lives with his wife, Siena, in New York.