Booktalking "Bunheads" by Sophie Flack
- August 6, 2012, 11:09 am
19-year-old Hannah is a dancer with the Manhattan Ballet company. Jacob is her musician boyfriend who goes to NYU, and Otto is the one who hands out promotions and demotions to the dancers in the company. He's the one to impress. Like all of the other dancers, Hannah jockeys for a prominent position in the dances. Glimpse in this world the injuries of the uninitiated, the stress fractures and the illness-producing dieting.
Interestingly enough, Hannah finds ways to accomplish such feats as carrying on a conversation with Zoe, the rich smoker and dancer, during a dance. They talk like ventriloquists with their lips still so as not to be chastised by Otto. The dancers are not quite so keen on The Nutcracker, since they dance it every year and the audience never gets tired of it. Hannah struggles with the work that she puts into the ballet, her relationships with Jacob and rich Matt, who also emerges as a prospect, and whether she can put even more work into the ballet and struggle to get promoted. In the process of all of this, Hannah finds a love of teaching dance to little girls at the Delancey Dance Academy.
Bunheads by Sophie Flack
I really liked this book. This book is unrelated to the TV show Bunheads. I thought it was really neat to see what the life of a dancer is like: the all-encompassing practice, with no time for relationships, the physical maladies such as sprains and injuries and emotional hardships like eating disorders.
In this semi-autobiographical novel, Flack presents Hannah, which is her real life younger sister. The author was also in a ballet company before she became a writer. (Flack lets Hannah attend NYU with Jacob while studying creative writing. As Hannah is pursuing a more balanced life, including college, which formerly was reserved for "pedestrians" or the non-dancing public, she makes the provocative statement, "My name is Hannah. Don't call me a ballerina.")