A reckoning with one of our most beloved art forms, whose past and present are shaped by gender, racial, and class inequities - and a look inside the fight for its future
Every day, in dance studios all across America, legions of little children line up at the barre to take ballet class. This time in the studio shapes their lives, instilling lessons about gender, power, bodies, and their place in the world both in and outside of dance.
In Turning Pointe, journalist Chloe Angyal captures the intense love for ballet that so many dancers feel, while also grappling with its devastating shortcomings: the power imbalance of an art form performed mostly by women, but dominated by men; the impossible standards of beauty and thinness; and the racism that keeps so many people of color out of ballet. As the rigid traditions of ballet grow increasingly out of step with the modern world, a new generation of dancers is confronting these issues head on, in the studio and on stage. For ballet to survive the 21st century and forge a path into a more socially just future, this reckoning is essential.
“The best art is not an escape for the audience, but a journey. It uses beauty incisively, and that is what Chloe Angyal’s writing does. In her essential observations about her beloved ballet, she reminds us of the necessity of thinking critically, especially about that which we love the most.” (Jamil Smith, journalist and contributor to Believe Me)
“This is the book I desperately needed as a teenage ballerina, when I mistakenly thought there was something wrong with me rather than ballet’s culture. Having read it, I want to buy copies for every aspiring dancer, as well as the gatekeepers who most need to read it. Angyal reports with urgency and precision about what draws young dancers to ballet, and how it needs to change to keep them there. Turning Pointe is a long-overdue reckoning for an art form that excludes and injures its dancers as much as it dazzles them.” (Ellen O’Connell Whittet, author of What You Become in Flight)
“A vigorously reported critique of common policies and practices in the ballet world.” (Kirkus Reviews)
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- Mariana P
Mind-blowing and eye-opening
As a ballet dancer, I can say that this book needs to be heard by everybody. Dancers and non-dancers have helped to perpetuate injustices and racism in the ballet co8and it needs to be stopped altogether.