Books Like Off Balance
Even before movies like the psychological thriller Black Swan were released, plenty of novels explored the darker side of being a ballerina. To observers, these dancers are the pinnacle of grace, but few understand just how much blood, sweat, and tears go into becoming a ballerina. Ballet dancing requires years of rigorous training since childhood and involves a lot of sacrifices from ballerinas. For example, Off Balance by Terez Mertes Rose features a woman named Alice who accepts the loss of her ballet career after an injury. Alice trades her ballet shoes for spreadsheets, but things change when her boss asks her to befriend a new ballerina who has joined the company. This girl, Lana, represents everything Alice has lost as a ballet dancer, but in the process of helping her, both women embark on a journey of painful rediscoveries. For more novels that lift the curtains on what it can take to be a ballerina, check out the following books like Off Balance.
by Rachel Kapelka-Dale
The Ballerinas by Rachel Kapelka-Dale tells the story of three women alternating between their adolescent years and the present day. Delphine Léger and her fellow dancers Lindsay and Margaux were friends until she abandoned her prestigious soloist spot at the Paris Opera Ballet. She did so for a new life in St. Petersburg but took with her a secret that could upend the lives of her friends. Thirteen years later, at the age of thirty-six, Delphine returns to her former home and the legendary Palais Garnier Opera House. She plans to choreograph the ballet that will kickstart the next phase of her career. However, she also hopes that she will be able to make things right with her former friends, but discovers that things have changed while she's been away.
by Edward Stewart
Ballerina by Edward Stewart is the story of two girls who relentlessly pursue their ambition to become great dancers after meeting in ballet school. While Stephanie Lang and Christine Avery share the same dream, they are very different individuals. Stephanie's mother is a former dancer who wants nothing more than to see her daughter achieve the fame she never attained. In contrast, Christine has lived a sheltered life with a privileged upbringing, but her past holds a devastating secret. Both girls give their all to dance and become inseparable in the process. Unfortunately, this ends when they both fall for the same man and compete for the same role of a lifetime.
by Megan Abbott
The setting for The Turnout by Megan Abbott is a ballet academy run by two sisters, Dara and Marie Durant. The Durant School of Dance was founded by their glamorous mother, who also homeschooled and trained the two sisters. However, they were forced to take over the school a dozen years ago after the tragic accident that claimed their parents. While Marie teaches the younger students and Dara the older ones, Charlie, Dara's husband, takes care of the back office. Charlie practically grew up with the girls and was once their mother's prized student until years of injuries sidelined him from dancing. The studio thrives, but then, as they prepare for the annual performance of The Nutcracker, an interloper arrives to threaten the delicate balance between the sisters.
by Tammy Greenwood
The Stil Point by Tammy Greenwood is a story about women's sacrifices for their children, friendship, and art. The three women, Ever, Lindsay, and Josie, have spent years helping their daughters, Bea, Olive, and Savvy, through ballet classes in their coastal California town. Between all the heartache and drama, they forged friendships that transcend rivalry. However, when a man named Etienne Bernay shows up to direct the production of The Nutcracker and brings along a film crew, everything changes. He plans to document his search for a special student who will receive a full scholarship to the Ballet de Paris Academie. This is a chance for one of the girls to fulfill a lifelong dream, but the secrets and lies at the heart of all three families will be exposed in the process.
by Melissa Brayden
First Position by Melissa Brayden is the tale of a rivalry between two ballerinas. One is Anastasia Mikhelson, who has become the rising star of the New York City Ballet after sacrificing everything from creature comforts to social life and even her own physical well-being. For Anastasia, it's worth it to attain perfection in dance. The other ballerina is Natalie Frederico, who prefers modern dance and, living on her own terms, has proven herself to be a prodigy at ballet. Natalie can't say no when given the opportunity to dance with the New York City Ballet, but when forced to work side by side with Anastasia, sparks begin to fly onstage and off.
by Cynthia Ekren
The Class of Perfection by Cynthia Ekren is a story that was inspired by actual events and follows the life of a ballerina named Brigitte Gustoevna Legher. It is set in pre-Revolutionary Russia, where Brigitte was placed in an experimental Infant Class at the Ballet School in St. Petersburg. The goal is to bend her body and mind to attain perfection and become a prima ballerina absoluta for the Imperial Ballet. However, after Brigitta graduates from school, her forbidden affair with a revolutionary-minded man jeopardizes her dreams of dancing for the Tsar and Russia. This leaves Brigitte with hard choices to make if she wants to save herself and those she loves.