The author's background (degrees in music and law; a Cambridge degree in English studies), coupled with a gift for storytelling, is put to good use in this book ased on situations she witnessed while working as a pianist at the Ballet School in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. As American teenagers breathe the words ""Movie Star,"" or more currently sigh ""Beatles,"" so do many Yugoslavian youngsters react to their artistic ideal ""The Ballerina."" In this story of students in the highly selective professional High School- The State Ballet School, the problems of young adulthood are doubly intensified by the school's very nature. The protagonist--Lana-enters the school in the sixth form and must adjust to strange surroundings and professional antagonism, particularly since she has an outstanding talent. The adjustment, however, is worth it; while Lana delights in the training and new-found friends, the readers enjoy the excitement and acknowledge the familiar/strange until they are unwittingly enrolled in class; become involved with the distinct personalities of the other students; tremble under the discipline of ""The Dragon""- Miss Nina; spend an exciting summer on a quiet island with other members of the school; and race to read on when Lana (by now the Prima Ballerina of the class) meets with an accident that may prove fatal to her career. An intelligent, perceptive book. Teenage girls are sure to feel ""The Dance is the thing.