A young student in the Boston Ballet School lands the plum role of Clara in The Nutcracker through her hard work, determination and talent.
Fiona’s story, told in the first person, unfolds in the months before Boston Ballet’s Nutcracker season, a Christmas holiday fixture. Daily hours of practice and weeks of rehearsal result in a splendid opening-night performance. Fiona lives in Boston with her mother and two sisters, one older and one younger, who also take classes and perform in The Nutcracker. Fortunately, their mother willingly and lovingly supports them. Fiona’s activities with friends at school are of necessity curtailed, but she relishes the camaraderie with the other ballet students and with members of the company. The narration provides an illuminating and detailed picture of the hard work and single-minded dedication that is required. The many full-color photographs help readers see both the beauty of the performance and the strength of mind and body required for ballet. There are some humorous moments, along with a running description of Fiona’s difficulties in hitting the Mouse King with her ballet slipper. The Boston Ballet production is beautifully costumed, providing a feast for the eye for all readers. A glossary of ballet terms would have been helpful.
Ballet lovers will relish the behind-the-scenes look at this land of enchantment. (Nonfiction. 9-14)