White Swan, Black Swan by Adrienne Sharp

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The world's most famous choreographer becomes infatuated with a coltish young dancer who proves both siren and muse. A rising star plunges into an affair with a principal but finds that ecstasy on the stage can't be surpassed in the bed. A dying legend reflects on the evanescent beauty of a life of gesture, lost to everything but memory.

Each bittersweet story plants the reader amid a cast of dancers and choreographers who struggle—valiantly, playfully, fiercely—to find in the rigorous discipline and animating beauty of ballet a counterbalance to the chaos of unscripted life. Many of the tales dare to imagine the inner lives of the century's titans—Balanchine, Fonteyn and Nureyev—which rival in emotional complexity and pathos the classic dramas they enacted onstage: La Bayadere, Don Quixote, Swan Lake.

White Swan, Black Swan translates the pure and essential gestures of ballet into starkly elegant prose while showing the sweat and sex beneath the serene surface. Adrienne Sharp's debut is a bravura performance.

From the Hardcover edition.

About Adrienne Sharp

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Adrienne Sharp entered the world of ballet at age seven and trained at the prestigious Harkness Ballet in New York. She received her M.A. with honors from the Writing Seminars at the Johns Hopkins University and was awarded a Henry Hoyns Fellowship at the University of Virginia. She has been a fiction fellow at MacDowell, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the Squaw Valley Writer's Conference. She is the author of White Swan, Black Swan and The Sleeping Beauty.
Published December 18, 2008 by Ballantine Books. 256 pages
Genres: Erotica, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Jun 26 2001 | Read Full Review of White Swan, Black Swan: Stories

Kirkus Reviews

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The title story uses the plot of Swan Lake to illuminate the dance and love triangle that develops when Lexa, who left Robbie—her dancer-lover and a drug addict—after he beat her up, only to return to find him having an affair with Sandra, the Queen of the Swans.

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Publishers Weekly

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The dance world becomes palpably real in this accomplished debut collection by Sharp, a former member of the Harkness Ballet of New York, as she explores both the exultation and the physical and emotional stresses of professional ballet.

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