Posted in: Book commentary, book talk
The blogger, Zosia, starts:
There should be a law forbidding people from writing books or making movies about ballet unless they are or were ballet dancers, because it’s always so badly screwed up. I should have liked this book – it featured ballet and Paris, two of my favourite things – but I very nearly went completely insane instead.
Apparently Zosia worked backstage at the Sidney Dance Company for some of their productions, hence her annoyance at the inaccuracies in the book.
“She has her career to get back to as a prima ballerina of the Sydney Dance Company.”
That sentence sums up why this book got one star. I was practically tearing my hair out at how inaccurate it was.
This one just solidified that one star rating:
“She’d learned all the ballet technique phrases in French because she’d been passionate about her craft.”
Uh, no. Actually, ballet technique IS in French! Every ballet student – from France to Australia to America to Korea – uses French terminology for ballet steps.
The blogger then posts the two photographs below, one featuring an actual prima ballerina in full regalia, and the other featuring a dancer from the Sydney Dance Company (SDC). The two photographs are very different, the SDC shot showing what seems to be a contemporary routine.
Dancer from SDC
The Sydney Dance Company performs brand spanking new contemporary dance, and for most of its history was run by a man who went out his way NOT to include ballet in the repertoire. There is no corps de ballet, because it is not a ballet company. They don’t train in pretty ballet skirts and wear pointe shoes all day, because it is not a ballet company. They don’t dance Giselle or Romeo and Juliet or The Nutcracker, because it is not a ballet company!! The two companies are as similar as the Metropolitan Opera and Guns N Roses are in music!
Zosia then posts lots of photographs to illustrate her point. Lots and lots of photographs. All very pretty too.
Now, pray tell, how can one be a ballerina in that company? Apart from anything else, the title of ‘prima ballerina’ is reserved for only the best, the most famous international ballet stars. The term ‘ballerina’ can only be given to the stars of a company. Everyone else is a stock standard ‘ballet dancer’. There certainly isn’t a dancer alive who would be arrogant enough to call themselves a ‘prima ballerina’!
We keep hearing about how Maddy toured the world with SDC, dancing the leading roles in the classic ballets. WRONG.
Anyway, as you can tell, this broad aint happy about the inaccuracies in Mayberry’s book, but I have to say, as a reader, the fact that The Sydney Dance Company isn’t primarily a ballet dance company doesn’t bother me in the slightest. The fact that prima ballerinas are a rarity even in ballet, doesn’t stop me enjoying Maddy’s story. The fact that SDC dancers don’t train in pretty ballet skirts and wear pointe shoes all day, because it’s not a ballet company, doesn’t make me want to eat my own face. The fact that it would be impossible for a ballet dancer to stand en pointe for more than ten minutes doesn’t take away from my overall enjoyment of the book. In other words, I really don’t give a flying fuck about any of the above points. You know why? Because it’s a fucking Blaze book, not War and Peace.
Of course these less-than-accurate details might bother me if I was a ballet dancer, or if I worked for a ballet company, but honestly, as an average romance reader, I really couldn’t give a monkeys. What was important to me, was the actual romance between the heroine and hero, and Mayberry got that bob-on, as far as I was concerned.
Having said all of that, you guys should go and read the review, it did make me chuckle no end.
So, would these inaccuracies bother you guys too, or not?