Author and photographer focus on the aspirations of Anton Pankevich, who left Russia with his family when he was 12. The Pankeviches eventually settled in New York City where Anton could study at Balanchine's School of American Ballet. Ms. Morris describes the young artist's life in Russia, his work, and the dedication it requires of the whole family to realize Anton's ambition. All have had to adapt to a new country's attitudes and customs to support themselves and Anton's studies. Ms. Morris told me that Anton, now in his last year at the School, is doing quite a bit of freelance dancing. Look for his name when the ballet is in town.
- Judy Silverman
Anton Pankevich is sixteen and a ballet dancer. He began training in Leningrad where he was born, but at twelve he came with his family to America. He is now a student at the School of American Ballet in New York City, and is Dancing to America. Morris's text does not minimize the difficulties that Anton has had in the US, but she emphasizes that he can do here exactly what he wants to do-dance. Kolnik's pictures are fantastic. It's definitely refreshing to see a young man in ballet training. Girls aren't the only ones who can dance!
School Library Journal
Gr 2-5-This beautifully photographed, informative book tells the story of Anton Pankevich, a Russian ballet dancer, and his immigration to the U.S. at the age of 12. Morris chronicles the boy's life in Leningrad, his study at the Vaganova Academy, and his decision to seek freedom of expression in America. An interesting author's note tells of the political and social climate in Anton's homeland before and after his departure. Also described are his travels around this country and his acceptance into the School of American Ballet in New York. Kolnik's lovely full-color photographs show the young dancer not only at ballet class, but also in school at the Professional Children's School, at home, seeing the sights, and even at play in the park. The culminating pictures of him performing in The Nutcracker at the State University of New York convey the excitement and emotion of a young person fully dedicated to his art. An excellent companion to Morris's On Their Toes (Atheneum, 1991).-Robin Works Davis, Hurst Public Library, TX
This photo-essay introduces 16-year-old Anton Pankevich, a Russian immigrant studying at the School of American Ballet in New York City. The text tells of his Russian ballet school, his parents' decision to move to the U.S., his family's experiences living here, his love of dancing, and his American ballet training. While part of Anton's story reflects that of other immigrants, the ballet theme is the strongest part of the book, and young dancers will probably be its audience. Clear, full-color photographs show Anton at home, at school, at play, in dance classes, and (once) in performance. The photos taken of Anton and his family outside the studio often have a staged, self-conscious quality reminiscent of family snapshots, though the many shots of Anton in class give a powerful sense of the personalities, activities, and dynamics of the dance studio. Recommended for larger collections.