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A DANCE OF SISTERS by Tracey Porter


by Tracey Porter

Age Range: 12 - 14

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-06-028182-0
Publisher: HarperCollins

In this story of family dysfunction, two sisters attempt in very different fashions to cope with the death of their mother. Pearl, who is older, practices white magic, paints her face white, and wears cut-up black dresses. Delia devotes her body and soul to ballet after enrolling in a Washington school run by a Russian émigré teacher. Their father sends Pearl to a private school where she is assigned the task of training a difficult horse. By the end of the story, she has found happiness and a career—horse trainer. Delia follows a more difficult path. She loves to dance but finds herself in the back row of the corps when a famous former dancer stages a ballet choreographed by a famous Mr. P. (Balletos will perhaps find hints of George Balanchine and his seminal American masterpiece, Serenade.) Madame, who runs the ballet school, tells Delia that she is too fat and too ordinary to attain the status of prima ballerina. At the same time, fortunately, Delia finds meaning and purpose in studying the ghost dances of the late-19th-century Plains Indians and Brazilian dance. The issues of teen rebellion, anorexia, and family communication are treated too glibly while the constant stream of ballet terminology could confuse even an aspiring dancer. The references to New York companies and schools are out of date and too esoteric for most readers, though budding Delias will probably not mind. (Fiction. 12-14)