Tuesday, August 28, 2007

When she danced she was just this happy ballerina.

I was, for many years, a ballerina. My co-workers would attest to this by the simple fact that I can not just walk across the library from the reference desk to the circ desk to answer a patron's question (or a co-worker's question), but instead I must, well, you fill in the blank, to get there. Glide, leap, prance, hop, skip. They probably all fit. If only I can be so peppy in 50 years time when I'm wacking around the pages with my cane and muttering about the "good old days".

Therefore, I was shocked to read BiblioFile's blog to find out that there was a series of ballerina books that I had never read. I admit, I wasn't a girly girl. Give me something pink, and I scorned it. Frankly, the only reason I ever got a doll was because I turned up for pictures as a "Party Girl" in The Nutcracker and discovered to my horror that everyone else there had brought a doll and I had none. I had to borrow another girl's doll for my picture. Needless to say, that although I was given many ballet-themed items (and scorned most of them), ballet books pretty much weren't among them. At a library book sale, I found an old copy of Noel Streatfeild's book Dancing Shoes, and it was a tradition for me to read it over summer break. Perhaps it was my own way of getting my mind into the game for Nutcracker auditions.

Back to the new series. The Drina books by Jean Estoril. Unfortunately, this books rate the same as Sally Watson books. Which are near impossible to get. No, I have to take that back. Sally Watson books have been republished in softcover by Image Cascade Publishers. They specialize in republishing vintage books. So, maybe there is hope for Jean Estoril books! But finding original Sally Watson books is like the Holy Grail in book sales. I will fight you for it!

Happily, I was able to ILL two of Jean Estoril's books. Drina Dances in Italy and We Danced in Bloomsbury. I just love the title of the last one. Some titles I just find so attractive and I'm drawn to them. Yeah, maybe I'm weird. In the Drina book, she's just come back from a year dancing in the country to return to her former dance school. They like to point out throughout the entire book that she dance the name role in The Changeling (I guess it's an important fact that we shouldn't forget). But, her Italian grandmother finally gets her way, and Drina is off to Italy for a visit for the second part of the book (the first half is her getting back into the rhythm of London/worried about Italy). Of course, dreams are realized in Italy and new friendships are formed. I only wish I could get ahold of the other books in the series!

After reading this book on Saturday, I sniffed back a tear and went to find my ballet bag which I was finally reunited with after several years earlier this month. I preceded to walk around my apartment with my pointe shoes on, thinking that I should really get back to ballet. I can't be too old and funless for it yet. I just need to find a place to attend! Though doubtful anyone would want me seeing how out of practice I've been since college.

We Danced in Bloomsbury Square follows the fortunes of the Darke twins, Dorrie and Debbie. It's told from the point of view of Dorrie, who feels the lesser of the twins, being "Darke in name and dark in nature" as her teacher called her. They both audition for a scholarship spot at a dance school in London. While both are accepted, only Debbie is given the scholarship, and they can't afford to pay to send Dorrie. Of course, doors are open, but before then, Debbie says some very hurtful things about Dorrie to her face, and causes a major rift between the twins. The book follows Dorrie as she begins to believe in herself, as an individual and as a dancer.

They were both very satisfying little reads that reminded me of how much I loved being a dancer. Though, perhaps, my feet are thinking of something different!

Picture time! Here's me as a snowflake from the "Snow Scene" in The Nutcracker.

I would say, "pretty hot, eh?". But, it should rather be ice cold, I should think. I was, I think, in 10th grade when that one was taken.


Charlotte said...

I too am a fan of the Drina books! You might not know that Jean Estoril's real name was Mabel Esther Allan, and some of her ballet books are published under that name. I've had luck finding Drina books at library book sales and the like, so maybe you will get lucky! Drina Ballerina, the last book in the series, is, however, utterly impossible to get a hold of.

Kristin said...

Why are author so tricky sometimes with their names?! I think that these books are going to be added to my list of "holy grails" of library book sales. Maybe one day I'll come across one.

Thanks for letting me know her real name.

Elise said...

beautiful !