Rupert Christiansen

Pointes of View

A Dancer in Wartime: One Girl’s Journey from the Blitz to Sadler’s Wells

By

Chatto & Windus 292pp £14.99 order from our bookshop

The Everyday Dancer

By

Faber & Faber 212pp £14.99 order from our bookshop

After watching any of the great ballet movies – Waterloo Bridge, The Red Shoes, The Turning Point, Black Swan – one might reasonably assume that a masochistic complex underlies the psychopathology of the female ballet dancer. Why else would any adolescent choose a life framed by a grinding daily routine and ruled by brutal sergeant-major ballet mistresses, which offers only a brief career, almost inevitably dogged by muscular injury – to say nothing of the attendant eating disorders and modest material rewards? Margot Fonteyn is reported to have held the view that if audiences knew how much pain ballet causes its performers, only people who liked bullfights could bear to watch it.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Start your week with a dose of Russian Revolutionary zeal. Donald Rayfield reviews Tobie Mathew's 'Greetings From t… ,
    • A treat from the LR Archive: exactly 20 years ago, Malcolm Bradbury reviewed John Updike's 'Bech at Bay' ,
    • ‘When bullets come close, the noise they make as they go past changes from a zing to a crack’ John Lanchester's dy… ,
    • Man with a Bloody Paintbrush: Robin Simon on Lucian Freud ,
    • Jane Ridley reviews The Diaries of Kenneth Rose (ed. D R Thorpe) ,
    • ‘Look,’ says Trump. ‘The fact is I’m only human.’ On the evidence of this book that point is debatable. From the A… ,
    • From our December/January issue - here's John Banville's review of Colm Tóibín on the fathers of Wilde, Yeats and J… ,