Rupert Christiansen

Pointes of View

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


Chatto & Windus 292pp £14.99 order from our bookshop

The Everyday Dancer


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.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • RT : Founded in 1979, is a trusted independent source for reviews of new books across a variety of genres. A… ,
    • RT : Here we are - "Shelf Indulgence" by Ed Potten, a wonderful read, well worth your time: @Lit_Review,
    • 'Like going to a party hoping to get away as quickly as politeness allowed and at 4am finding myself still engrosse… ,
    • 'Neville never shed his sense of being the junior, and perhaps least-deserving Chamberlain.' From the archive, Mic… ,
    • 'The erecting and immediate destruction of a series of straw men rather detracts from what is for the most part an… ,
    • RT : A magnificent demolition job on this "acid laced tirade...unpleasantly self-obsessed...self pitying… ,
    • 'Seventy years on, the time we have left to gather such first-hand testimony is running out.' John Keay on the sig… ,