Dancing Through It: My Journey in the Ballet

Dancing Through It: My Journey in the Ballet

4.3 6
by Jenifer Ringer
     
 

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“A glimpse into the fragile psyche of a dancer.” —The Washington Post

Jenifer Ringer, a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet, was thrust into the headlines after her weight was commented on by a New York Times critic, and her response ignited a public dialogue about dance and weight.

Ballet aficionados and…  See more details below

Overview

“A glimpse into the fragile psyche of a dancer.” —The Washington Post

Jenifer Ringer, a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet, was thrust into the headlines after her weight was commented on by a New York Times critic, and her response ignited a public dialogue about dance and weight.

Ballet aficionados and aspiring performers of all ages will want to join Ringer behind the scenes as she shares her journey from student to star and candidly discusses both her struggle with an eating disorder and the media storm that erupted after the Times review. An unusually upbeat account of life on the stage, Dancing Through It is also a coming-of-age story and an inspiring memoir of faith and of triumph over the body issues that torment all too many women and men.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times - Apollinaire Scherr
…[Ringer's] memoir…does not skimp on what she calls "the crazy side of ballet." With quiet eloquence and self-deprecating humor, Ms. Ringer suggests how a profession as idealistic as it is hierarchical and competitive might drive a talented young woman to self-destruct…The joy she communicates about dancing balances the account of suffering. It also illuminates the essential freedom that only performance affords in such a strict idiom as ballet…Ms. Ringer is that rare double threat: a ballerina who can write.
Publishers Weekly
01/06/2014
“The ballet world is a narcissistic world made up of circles of interlocking insecurities,” says New York City Ballet principal Ringer as she looks back on more than two decades in the company. With disarming candor, she relates devastating low points she experienced as a young dancer, invited to join City Ballet at age 16, as well as years of ascension through the hypercritical ballet world. Her story is turbulent, littered with trials and failures, but also with miraculous comebacks, like after she was fired from City Ballet, criticized for her atypical body size in the New York Times, her problems then dissected in the national media. Ringer infuses her narrative with a deep appreciation for the magic of the theater and a moving sense of gratitude toward her success in such an arduous profession. She is candid about her struggle with eating disorders, her rediscovery of the Christian faith, and her realization, with motherhood, that performances need not be the only measure of success and happiness. Fans of the ballet will revel in her intricately detailed, gently humorous descriptions of rehearsals, hair and make-up preparations, and onstage mishaps. When writing about her religion, occasionally Ringer’s words seem rehearsed, but her memoir is an eloquent reminder that moving forward often involves a few falls, missteps, and leaps of faith.(Feb.)
From the Publisher
“Jenifer Ringer’s book is an honest and exhilarating look into the life of a young dancer, with both the excitement of achievement and the desperate anxiety given proper treatment. This is a must-read for anyone entering the dance community, but even more broadly, for any young person passionately following their dream. Jenifer was fortunate to have help in conquering her eating disorder and other demons, and this book may be a help to those wrestling with their own issues. Besides, for those of us who wish we could dance, knowing about it from the inside is a rare privilege.” —Kathy Keller, coauthor of THE MEANING OF MARRIAGE

“As a dancer, Jenifer Ringer offers quintessential musicality, brilliant technique, infectious humor, and a good old dash of gorgeous. As a writer, she offers all of this and more, providing us with a rare opportunity to look behind the curtain and understand the pressures, challenges, and rewards faced by this remarkable individual. Dancing Through It is one of the most candid and insightful books about classical ballet I have ever read. An honest portrait of the rarefied world of the New York City Ballet, Jenny’s writing will make you tear up, roar with laughter, and reflect on the myriad pressures and rewards of being a dancer and an artist. Long before you’ve put this book down, you will want to shout ‘Brava’ once again for this treasured ballerina and gifted author.” —Peter Boal, artistic director, Pacific Northwest Ballet

“One of New York’s most beautiful dancers, Jenifer Ringer brings idealism, humor, and a raw, searing honesty to this poignant memoir. I had a hard time putting the book down, and I teared up several times.”

—Wendy Perron, author of THROUGH THE EYES OF A DANCER, and editor at large, DANCE MAGAZINE

 

Kirkus Reviews
2013-11-11
Faith buoys one dancer's life. At the age of 14, studying dance in Washington, D.C., Ringer was chosen to fill in at the Washington Ballet. The piece was George Balanchine's lyrical, elegant Serenade, and performing, Ringer recalls, felt "like a light taking up residence in my chest." She decided then that she must become a professional ballerina. When her family moved to New York, she was accepted into the prestigious School of American Ballet, the feeder for the New York City Ballet. There, she undertook a grueling schedule of classes, as well as finishing high school. She was also faced with Balanchine's ideal of the perfect ballerina: "small head, long neck and limbs, slim hips, arched feet, tall and very thin." When Ringer reached puberty, however, her new curves generated anxiety that her body was out of her control. At the same time, she was accepted into the New York City Ballet as an apprentice, which intensified her training and also her feelings of vulnerability about her body and her talent. Dancers, she realized, never admit pain, exhaustion or weakness but instead sacrifice their bodies "for the approval of whoever happened to be watching, whether it be a ballet master or the audience." Desperate to exert control over her life, Ringer became obsessed with her body image and spent the next few years alternating between anorexia and bingeing. Finally, she gained so much weight that ballet master Peter Martins fired her. The author reclaimed her life and her career through a renewal of her religious faith: prayer and a belief in God's watchful care. Married now, with two children, she is a principal ballerina with the NYCB. Told with modesty and humility, Ringer's memoir exposes the unrelenting rigor of a dancer's life and the passion and exhilaration of dance itself.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780698151505
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
02/20/2014
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
207,180
File size:
15 MB
Note:
This product may take a few minutes to download.
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
“Jenifer Ringer’s book is an honest and exhilarating look into the life of a young dancer, with both the excitement of achievement and the desperate anxiety given proper treatment. This is a must-read for anyone entering the dance community, but even more broadly, for any young person passionately following their dream. Jenifer was fortunate to have help in conquering her eating disorder and other demons, and this book may be a help to those wrestling with their own issues. Besides, for those of us who wish we could dance, knowing about it from the inside is a rare privilege.” —Kathy Keller, coauthor of THE MEANING OF MARRIAGE
 
“As a dancer, Jenifer Ringer offers quintessential musicality, brilliant technique, infectious humor, and a good old dash of gorgeous. As a writer, she offers all of this and more, providing us with a rare opportunity to look behind the curtain and understand the pressures, challenges, and rewards faced by this remarkable individual. Dancing Through It is one of the most candid and insightful books about classical ballet I have ever read. An honest portrait of the rarefied world of the New York City Ballet, Jenny’s writing will make you tear up, roar with laughter, and reflect on the myriad pressures and rewards of being a dancer and an artist. Long before you’ve put this book down, you will want to shout ‘Brava’ once again for this treasured ballerina and gifted author.” —Peter Boal, artistic director, Pacific Northwest Ballet

“One of New York’s most beautiful dancers, Jenifer Ringer brings idealism, humor, and a raw, searing honesty to this poignant memoir. I had a hard time putting the book down, and I teared up several times.”
—Wendy Perron, author of THROUGH THE EYES OF A DANCER, and editor at large, DANCE MAGAZINE

 

Meet the Author

Jenifer Ringer was a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet, retiring in 2014. Before joining NYCB as an apprentice in 1989, she studied at the School of American Ballet. Ringer has a BA in English from Fordham University and is a recipient of the Dance Magazine Award and the Jerome Robbins Award. She is married to former NYCB principal dancer James Fayette. They live in Los Angeles, California, with their two children.

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