Raising the Barre: Big Dreams, False Starts, and My Midlife Quest to Dance the Nutcracker
As a girl, Lauren Kessler danced ballet, but lacked the body for a professional career. Now, some decades and three children later, she’s struck by a half-baked, semi-crazy, and all-consuming plan: dance The Nutcracker with a professional company of ballerinas. This dance will test her every fiber, physical and mental, break through her self-imposed limits, and overcome a lifetime of insecurities.
As memoirs go, Raising the Barre: Big Dreams, False Starts, & My Midlife Quest to Dance the Nutcracker is especially fabulous. Kessler vividly describes dance, sharing her passion to such success that it will leave readers pas de bourree-ing their way through the pages. It’s an entirely girly, strangely empowering read. The juxtaposition of the ballerina—appearing fragile while actually being incredibly strong—is rendered with particular loveliness. But more than that, the lifestyle of the ballerina is revealed as something unromantic, a dogged calling that requires those few possessing the rare combination of self-discipline and body type, mixed with a formidable amount of drive, to give up normal life to pursue their passion. It’s a powerful experience told by a skilled narrator and will leave readers feeling ready to dance their own Nutcracker.
Da Capo Press