Much like the mesmerizing figures that inhabit the world of ballet, the beauty of the art form attracts us but the unknown allure what goes on backstage forever holds our intrigue. It’s this vast and often dark history that Canadian arts writer Deirdre Kelly delves into and brings to the surface in her latest book,
Ballerina: Sex, Scandal and Suffering Behind the Symbol of Perfection. The dance critic and ELLE Canada contributor signed copies at the book launch this weekend at Yorkville’s Teatro Verde, while her nine-year-old daughter Isadora – the image of a tiny dancer complete with
pink tutu – snapped pictures the whole time we were there Sunday afternoon. Here, Kelly chats about the salacious underbelly of this world, dispels common misconceptions about the ballerina, and affirms why
Hollywood, much like the rest of us, is fascinated by this dark and beautiful world.
What’s the energy here been like this weekend? "My first customer was a former soloist with the National Ballet of Canada. And she came from far afield and bought two copies, one for herself and the other former principal dancer, Gizella Witkowsky. And this was hugely gratifying for me because I wrote this book for and because of the dancers. So I’m really gratified to be getting the support of the dancers."
What are some common misconceptions about this world that you hope the book brings to light? "I think very few people know that behind the scenes this delicate being that we usually associate with the ballet actually has a very troubled and troubling life and lifestyle and has had many obstacles to leap over throughout her history, going all the way back to the 17th century. So I think people are really intrigued by the fact that I’ve ripped the veil from the myth of the ballerina so to speak."
Read on to find out what shocked this dance critic most about the world of ballet!