The fact that our house is home to three giggly girls should leave little room for guessing about one of their favorite sports. In case the title didn’t hint at it, the girls love to dance. They dance for fun. They dance for exercise. They take dance classes to improve their technique, style, and understanding while having fun. They dance for joy. They just dance. More than one of them has expressed a desire to dance well into her adult years.
The fact that they have the desire to be professional ballerinas, at least sometimes, made this book very appealing to me. Dancing Through It is written by Jenifer Ringer, a professional ballerina with the New York City Ballet. She is very talented and added to that tons of hard, dedicated work. She did what so many little ballerinas dream of: she danced professionally around the world with one of the premier dance companies as a principal dancer. And she started with the company at just 16 years of age. Young. Easily influenced. Naïve. Yet, grounded.
Jenifer wrote a compelling autobiography, sharing her life with her readers and creating new fans along the way. She writes about a love story between her and her art but she is kind enough to speak truthfully about the world of ballet. It is not all roses and beautiful music and gorgeous costumes. She also talks about the grueling hours of work, the pain and insecurity that goes along with working in a world of performance. She takes us along with her as she learns the ropes, struggles to find and regain her true self, and then as she finds the balance for maintaining the truth of who she is and who she belongs to.
This is a story of love. Not just the love of Jenifer for ballet and all that goes along with that world. It is a story of the love of God. How He searches for his children and keeps his arms open for them to return to him at any time. How Jenifer found the love of God through her parents and the firm grounding in faith they gave her. How she faded away from that faith. How God never stopped waiting for her to turn back to Him. How He opened his arms when she returned and gave her the love of a child of God. How she used the love of God to strengthen her life and to be the woman God created her to be.
This is a fantastic book that was next to impossible to put down. It doesn’t shy away from the truth of the harsh world that ballet is and it shows us what dancers truly go through. Dancing Through It is a book that I would recommend to anyone who has a passion that they are going to pursue. The reason: passion can only carry you so far and if you aren’t careful, you can unmoor yourself from the Truth and God, ending up far away. Jenifer shows us that we can all drift away from our faith if we are not intentional about maintaining it. She also shows us that we can come back to Him if we choose to repent and lead the life He has called us to.
There are a couple of things I want my readers to be aware of. The faith community mentioned here is described as biblical but I do not know what is intended by that. Based on the description of the worship services, I do not believe that it is truly a biblical congregation. Additionally, Jenifer had to work through eating disorders and depression during some of her darkest times. She doesn’t shy away from those moments, weeks, and months, but she does an honest job of describing how she ended up in that place. She also does a beautiful job of describing how she got out of it and how she works to maintain a lifestyle that helps her fight back against those things. She gives much of the credit to God and talks about living her life for His glory.
Dancing Through It is an amazing book and her bravery to share all that she has gone through is tremendous. I just wanted to make readers aware so that they can be prepared and make an informed decision about the age at which a young person might read this. I do highly recommend this and I think our oldest will be allowed to read it if she asks again. (She asked while I was still reading, so I couldn’t let her yet since I didn’t know all it held. Plus, I was reading it!) At Home.
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Tagged: books, Family Christian, giveaway, reviews
I DO love ballet, still! I haven’t taken a class since college, but I still seek out ballet movies when I can. I don’t think I have a specific favorite ballet…I am captivated by them all. 🙂
Great review, Lori. You’re a wonderful writer!
Oh, thank you Melanie! I appreciate your kind words. And I agree – the movement of dance is just so amazing to watch. I do still kind of wish I had the guts and opportunity to learn to tap. Maybe one day…
I wanted to do ballet when I was a child, but the opportunity was never available. I think it’s awesome that you are making that a possibility for your daughters! The first ballet I ever saw (which is also the only one I’ve seen) was fairly recently – we watched a recorded presentation of The Nutcracker during Christmastime. It was lovely.
I love the Nutcracker! I think it is probably my favorite. I don’t know if it is because the music is so lovely or it is that I am so familiar with that particular ballet.
I haven’t seen too many ballets, but The Ntcracker is a favorite. This book looks great!
The Nutcracker is one of my favorites, too. It comes up a lot in this book. I really enjoyed reading it.
Nutcracker is the only ballet that I have seen