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'Swan Dive is to ballet what Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential was to restaurants, a chance to go behind the serene front of house to the sweaty, foul-mouthed, psychofrenzy backstage.' Daisy Goodwin, Sunday TimesAward-winning New York City Ballet soloist Georgina Pazcoguin, aka the Rogue Ballerina, gives readers a backstage tour of the real world of elite ballet - the gritty, hilarious, sometimes shocking truth you don't see from the orchestra circle. In this love letter to the art of dance and the sport that has been her livelihood, NYCB's first Asian American female soloist Georgina Pazcoguin lays bare her unfiltered story of leaving small-town Pennsylvania for New York City and training amid the unique demands of being a hybrid professional athlete/artist, all before finishing high school.
She pitches us into the fascinating, whirling shoes of dancers in one of the most revered ballet companies in the world with an unapologetic sense of humour about the cutthroat, survival-of-the-fittest mentality at NYCB.
Some swan dives are literal: even in the ballet, there are plenty of face-plants, backstage fights, late-night parties, and raucous company bonding sessions. Rocked by scandal in the wake of the #MeToo movement, NYCB sits at an inflection point, inching toward progress in a strictly traditional culture, and Pazcoguin doesn't shy away from ballet's dark side.
She continues to be one of the few dancers openly speaking up against the sexual harassment, mental abuse, and racism that in the past went unrecognized or was tacitly accepted as par for the course - all of which she has painfully experienced firsthand. Tying together Pazcoguin's fight for equality in the ballet with her infectious and deeply moving passion for her craft, Swan Dive is a page-turning, one-of-a-kind account that guarantees you'll never view a ballerina or a ballet the same way again.
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