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on Oct. 31, 2010 :
Three excellent tales of a lofty and ephemeral world--a world few of us even glimpse--skillfully linked together by common characters who draw the reader indelibly into the story with them. All three ultimately bring both tears and laughter while opening our eyes to lives that are sophisticated, elegant, and fiercely competitive--driven, as they are, by the intense love of dance.
While the author has rated these stories as perhaps unsuitable for those under 18, I’d like to note that I read absolutely nothing in them that would seem to warrant such a rating.
“Golden Lasses” is a story that is, perhaps, as old as dance itself: the story of two ballerinas who vie for the same coveted role. In this first person narrative, the talented but shy Moira finds herself competing with the darkly beautiful and technically excellent Zita for the role of Princess Aurora in the “Rose Adagio.” Is it possible to win and lose at the same time? In this story, the answer is yes.
In “The Last Dance,” a third person narrative goes on to explore the exquisite life of a ballerina as Zita would have it. Though technically excellent, Zita lacks perhaps the one thing that would keep her from achieving perfection: heart. Under the tutelage of the Russian dancer Alexei Rostov, she learns there is more to being a star than simply being the best. But in learning that, Zita loses her heart to Alexei, and must learn on her own how to come to terms with the truth about the man she has come to love.
The last story, “The Ladies Who Dance,” treats us to another first person narrative of Moira. Grown now, and with an adult daughter of her own, Moira is both frustrated and intrigued by a different side of dance when she takes over the training of ten middle-aged, inexperienced women who, in their dreams, would aspire to the life a ballerina. But sometimes the best lessons are learned when we least expect them, as Moira finds when she helps the women to find their own places on stage.
These three stories of “Prima Ballerina” are beautifully written, refined and romantic, and quite different from the usual short story fare. I highly recommend them as tales that teach as well as entertain. --HL Montgomery
(review of free book)