Raising the Barre: Big Dreams, False Starts, & My Midlife Quest to Dance The Nutcracker

Raising the Barre: Big Dreams, False Starts, & My Midlife Quest to Dance The Nutcracker
Goodreads Rating: 3.44
Author: Lauren Kessler
Category: Nonfiction
Published: November 24th 2015 by Da Capo Press
Pages: 272 pages
Language English

Like generations of little girls, Lauren Kessler fell in love with ballet the first time she saw The Nutcracker, and from that day, at age five, she dreamed of becoming a ballerina.

But when she was twelve, her very famous ballet instructor crushed those dreams—along with her youthful self-assurance—and she stepped away from the barre. Fast forward four decades. Lauren—suddenly, powerfully, itchingly restless at midlife—embarks on a “Transcontinental Nutcracker Binge Tour,” where attending a string of performances in Chicago, New York, Boston, and San Francisco reignites her love affair with the ballet—and fuels her girlhood dream. What ensues is not only a story about The Nutcracker itself, but also an inside look at the seemingly romantic—but oh-so-gritty—world of ballet, about all that happens away from the audience's eye that precedes the magic on stage. It is a tale told from the perspective of someone who not only loves it, but is also seeking to live it. Lauren's quest to dance The Nutcracker with the Eugene Ballet Company tackles the big issues: fear, angst, risk, resilience, the refusal to “settle in” to midlife, the refusal to become yet another Invisible Woman. It is also a very funny, very real look at what it's like to push yourself further than you ever thought you could go—and what happens when you get there.

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