Six Fiction Books About Ballet

Six Fiction Books About Ballet

In the heaps of memoirs, biographies and textbooks, it won’t be that easy to find even a dozen fiction books about ballet. But we’ve selected six books with ballerinas and dancers as the main characters. The books ponder on such topics as perseverance, hard work, attitude to life, doubts and philosophical searches.  

The Black Swans, a novel by the Bulgarian art critic and writer Bogomil Raynov  

This is a description of three days in the life of a ballerina, full of the deepest emotions and plenty of events. The personality of the main character, Violetta, is revealed through a difficult choice: to achieve the almost impossible or to admit the limitations? The book is easy to read — the author has a clear style and a great sense of humor. The first line alone says a lot: "The day started as usual, that is, badly."

The Book of Proper Names, a novel by the contemporary Belgian writer Amélie Nothomb

An extremely polemical book about a girl called Plectrude, whose unbelievably complicated fate is connected, among other things, to the Paris Opera Ballet School. Readers' ratings on a ten-point scale range from 1 to 10. A "stylized nightmare", "grotesque fantasy", "weird weirdness", "superbly written" — these are some of the reviews of the novel. Those who believe black humor is their mother tongue will definitely find it to their liking. 

The Writer and the Ballerina, a detective novel by Oleg Roy

They say about this novel that it is an action-packed mystical love story. It is impossible to determine what is more here: these lines are effectively interwoven into the fascinating fabric of the narrative. The main character — Mark Weinstein — is the author of detective stories. He is in love with ballet and considers it his life's work to write a novel about this art. After meeting his ballerina, he gets inspired, but for what? Why is the aerial muse prompting him to write about grisly murders? Where is the border between choice and predestination? These and other philosophical questions are posed by the author. 

Wilis (Dancing Ghosts), a novel by Yuri Korotkov

The book describes the life of students of the Bolshoi Theater Ballet School. Who are the Wilis? These are eternally dancing creatures that unmarried girls who enjoyed having fun during their lifetime turn into after death. They are also the characters of the ballet Giselle. According to the author, they are also the students of the choreographic school who sacrificed everything for the sake of ballet. On the one hand, they have to sweat blood to get to the top, giving up everything that is not ballet. On the other, love knocks on their door sometimes. And the young girls, who were children only yesterday, need to make a difficult choice: if life is not equal to ballet, it turns out to be terrible. As one of the characters of the novel said, “You have been deceived. You have been locked in four mirrored walls, and you think that ballet is the whole world, that humanity is divided into those on stage and those in the auditorium... "

Diary of Delphine, a children's book by the French actress and writer Odette Joyeux

This story is told by a 12-year-old girl called Delphine. A student of the Grand Opera Ballet School, she is fond of dancing and dreams of becoming a ballet star. Art is her whole life, but before becoming a prima ballerina, she will have to pass several tests and take responsibility for her actions. The book talks about the ballet life in simple language and explains human truths without too much moralizing.  

Ballet Shoes: A Story of Three Children on the Stage, a book for children and teenagers by the English writer Noel Streatfeild

Three girls, who became orphans for various reasons, live in London, in the house of a scientist and traveler. They are very different: one dreams of becoming an actress, the other dreams of planes and motors, and the third got ballet shoes from her mother - she wants to dance. A warm and beautiful story sets young girls an example of dedication, creativity, and moral purity. The characters of Ballet Shoes are alive, you empathize with them and look forward to what will happen next.