Author: Sophie Flack
Year Published: 2011
Price: USD 4.34 Book Depository
"My name is Hannah Ward. Don't call me a ballerina.
Ballerinas are the stars of the company. They dance center stage under the spotlight, and they get their own curtain calls. Their head shots are printed in the program, with their names in large print. Me, I'm a dancer in the corps de ballet, just one of the dozens of girls who dance in graceful unison each night. My mother think I'm a star, but she's biased."
Meet Hannah. She had spent her teenage years doing ballet. She joined Manhattan Ballet Academy when she was 14 and now she was 19. Hannah loved ballet from her heart, but life as a ballet dancer was not easy. Dancers had to maintain their body to be slim and stick to certain weight. They had to train all day. Their body were sore but they couldn't complain because those were all they had to do to be able to perform their dances effortlessly and gorgeously on the stage. And that's what Hannah exactly did. But when Hannah met Jacob, an NYU student and also a part time guitarist, at her cousin's restaurant, Hannah quickly fell in love with him, a pedestrian (what the dancers called the non-dancer).
Hannah loved spending time with Jacob but as she spent more time with him, the less time she cared about ballet and gradually she lost her focus on ballet. But Hannah still want to compete with other dancers to get the solo part, and she couldn't do it if she still had Jacob in her head.
Would Hannah choose ballet over Jacob? Would Hannah succeed to reach her dream as a ballerina?
Reading this book kinda reminds me a lot of a movie, Center Stage. This is a story about a young ballet dancer's daily life. No dramatized conflict like Black Swan in this book. Hannah, since she had already been in the company since she was very young, she had never knew what it was like to live outside the company. She went to the art school with her fellow dancers and after that, spent her days to dance, dance, dance... perform, perform, perform.. And that's all her definition of life. Of course she had friends: Bea, Daisy, Zoe, Leni, but they were also dancers and live the life similar to her. So when Hannah met Jacob, she was also introduced to life outside ballet. Jacob went to NYU. He played guitar as a partime job. He created songs. He spoke Spanish and also taught kids Spanish. He read lots of books (while Hannah had never been able to finish Frankenstein). And she fell in love with him. And that was when the conflict happened. After Hannah saw what life outside her box could offer, she felt shaky and started to question what actually she really wanted in her life.
The story line of Bunheads is actually very simple but the details makes it interesting to read. Since the author, Sophie Flack, was also a ballet dancer, I believe that she used her own experience to describe a lot of things in this book. The dances, the backstage activities, the competitions, and also the daily life of the dancers. And it makes me enjoyed reading this book a lot although I don't know much about ballet. I think Sophie Flack has talent in writing because I enjoy her writing so much.
Overall, Bunheads is such a good read. If you like to know more about ballet dancer as a profession, you can try to read this one. It really makes me appreciate ballet dancers more because of the determination and discipline they have to be able to produce such a beautiful art like ballet.