An English girl embraces an unlikely but lifelong passion—dancing ballet.
Lily Marks, born in London in 1910, did not walk properly as a child. Her parents took her to a doctor who prescribed leg braces. Lily’s unhappy face led him to suggest a very different therapy, “dancing lessons,” and her parents agreed. Lily became a star pupil, singled out as very talented. She loved the classes and staged shows with her sisters. Private lessons followed. The turning point, however, came when her father took her to a performance by the legendary Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova. And Lily and Anna shared another similarity; both were Jewish. (Pavlova’s father, according to some sources, was Jewish.) Lily got to meet her heroine after the ballet performance and even danced for her. Pavlova encouraged her, and Lily knew at that moment that “she would devote her life to the ballet she loved.” She danced with the Ballets Russes and other companies, and audiences responded with enthusiasm and love. An afterword explains that her professional name change to Alicia Markova came about because balletomanes loved Russian dancers. Goddu’s brief biography is filled with admiration for a ballet icon. Kawa’s stylized, jewel-toned illustrations are elegant and filled with scenes of old-world theaters, estates, and dress.
Lovers of ballet will be enthralled by this coming-of-age of a 20th-century superstar. (afterword, photographs) (Picture book/biography. 4-7)