Tag Archives: young adult fiction

5 Dancers–Turned–Authors to Love

Continuing with the theme of love in the month of February, I’m pleased to present more new things to love this week!. These 5 dancers–turned–authors to went from rocking it on the stage to rocking it on the page– Hope you enjoy learning about them and find new books to love in the process.


Zippora Karz. former soloist ballerina with the New York City Ballet (1983–1999), Zippora Karz performed numerous roles choreographed by George Balanchine and Peter Martins, among others. In her memoir, The Sugarless Plum, Zippora shares how she was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes just as she was being featured in solo roles, yet found a way to continue to live her dream despite her illness. Her children’s picture book Ballerina Dreams shows kids how to live with diabetes. She is now a diabetes spokesperson and educator who regularly addresses major diabetes conferences and organizations worldwide. She also serves as a teacher and repetiteur for the George Balanchine Trust, rehearsing and staging Balanchine’s choreography for a host of national and international dance companies. More about Zippora here from a recent interview.



C. Leigh Purtill. In her own words, Leigh choreographs books and writes dance. A dancer since she was a little girl, she’s the author of Jennifer Aniston is My Best Friend, and the Fat Girls in L.A. series. Dance is still a big part of her life–she’s a ballet instructor in the Los Angeles area and regularly blogs about ballet at FitBallet. She’s currently putting the finishing touches on a zombie ballet.


Misty Copeland. While most people may know her from her recent viral video for Under Armor, Misty Copeland has been making headlines while changing the course of ballet history. Copeland recently debuted as American Ballet Theater’s first black Swan Queen, performing Odette/Odile, Swan Lake’s quintessential role. She is the third African-American soloist and first in two decades with ABT and author of Firebird, a picture book for young girls promoting self-confidence, and Life in Motion, her memoir, a story of her rise from incredible poverty to stardom despite all odds.


Miriam Landis. By eighteen, Miriam Landis was dancing soloist roles with Miami City Ballet; by twenty-two she was ready for a change of direction. While traveling abroad for multiple study programs, Landis turned to writing. She’s since become the author of Girl in Motion, Breaking Pointe and Behind Barres (a collection from Landis and fellow authors Amanda Brice and Leslie DuBois).


Terez Rose. Terez is a former ballet dancer who returned to the studio as a student. Her debut novel, Off Balance will be coming out in May 2015…more on that closer to the actual date! In her own words, she’s a lover of all things classical, including ballet and classical music. She’s also an adult beginner on the violin. You can read her musings on all things classical on her blog, The Classical Girl. Her essays have appeared in Literary MamaEspresso Fiction, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

Hope you find some new books to love by these great authors!


Ballet Fiction must-haves

5 New Dance Films to Love

Interview with Stephen Manes, Author of Where Snowflakes Dance and Swear

Truth or Fiction in Writing: WISH countdown day #5

A lot of writers include details from their lives or use them as reference when they’re writing fiction. Haven’t you ever wondered where some ideas come from… or if some of the stuff was real? Here is a taste of some of the complex moments of WISH and the breakdown of whether or not I’m telling it like it really happened.


Indigo runs into a beautiful boy in the most embarrassing way. There were plenty of times I ran into a boy in an embarrassing way but never in this particular way. Like Indigo, I have had plenty of ridiculously clumsy encounters with boys, including the time a guy I liked turned around just in time to witness my dance partner knock my tiara off my head while simultaneously ruining my perfect hairdo. However, more often than not my clumsiness was the subtle, verbally tongue-tied variety.

Indigo fills in last minute for a performance due to another dancer’s freak injury. This did happen, much like the way it’s described in WISH. There were hours of learning the part while dodging the furniture in my friend’s living room. Sadly, unlike the book, there were no chocolate chip cookies involved. Many years later the situation was almost reversed when I became injured a couple of days before a performance. I was super upset because the performance was supposed to be my first ever professional appearance in New York and I had a solo. For several days it was touch and go and I was completely angst-ridden but I healed just in time.

Indigo intervenes when Mom lashes out in a life-threatening way. Sadly, yes, this did happen. Which is one of the biggest reasons I wrote the book. I know the difficulties of growing up in an alcoholic family firsthand: it isn’t easy and it isn’t pretty. This type of occurrence is very common and it’s easy to feel powerless when a parent is an addict or doing something dangerous. Some situations demand that we take action.

Bitchy rivalry with another dancer at the ballet studio. Luckily, this never happened, which doesn’t mean there wasn’t rivalry. It was just much more subtle and unspoken. Ballet is a competitive environment by nature because there are always so many people vying for the same thing, whether it’s a solo, a company contract, or a spot in the center of the floor. This subtle rivalry usually played out as palpable tension in the room during class or playful, snarky repartee in the dressing room. Although there once was this epic confrontation in the elevator one day…

The end-of-summer beach bbq flirtation. Indigo remembers this in flashback when she runs into the guy she was flirting with that night. This did happen… but not exactly like this. In my real-life case, this flirtation lead to more flirtations on numerous other occasions, which lead to deep and profound discussions afterwards with my friends about the meaning of the flirtations after which I was no closer to an answer, which lead to great confusion and angst, but never a date. But then again, it was junior high. Everyone’s confused.