Swan Dive : The Making of a Rogue Ballerina
by Pazcoguin, Georgina

"Award-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"-

<b>Georgina Pazcoguin, "The Rogue Ballerina,"</b> has danced with the New York City Ballet since 2002 and was promoted to soloist in 2013. A steadily rising star, she is an ambassador of her art on many platforms, crossing over to Broadway, TV, and film. In addition to her many appearances at NYCB, including a celebrated portrayal of Anita in Jerome Robbins's <i>West Side Story Suite</i>, her credits include the award-winning film <i>N.Y. Export: Opus Jazz</i>, Ivy in the Broadway revival of <i>On the Town</i>, and Victoria in the Broadway revival of <i>Cats</i>. Georgina is a passionate activist for the Orphaned Starfish Foundation, and she is cofounder of the globally recognized diversity initiative Final Bow for Yellowface. She lives in New York City, and a half hour with her will shake your stereotype of uptight ballerinas to bits.

Pazcoguin made history as the first female Asian American soloist at the New York City Ballet. Her absolute joy in dancing shines through in this memoir of rising through the ranks. But success came with psychological costs in a discipline where "there is no separation between our bodies and our art form." Her talent acknowledged, she felt pressure to "dim her light" and to fit in to the point of changing her body. Stereotyping limited her choice of roles. Looking back, the dancer recognizes the "shame and brokenness" imposed on her through intimidation and bias. Swan Dive recounts its author's emotional tug-of-war between professional growth and staying true to herself. Pazcoguin's irreverent, conversational writing is appealing: funny, poignant, and sometimes understandably angry. Word pictures, such as anxiety "whir[ring] inside of me constantly, not unlike a high-powered blender," evoke her personality. Although this story takes place within an elite ballet company, it speaks to a broad audience. Who doesn't yearn for the "complete and utter magic" she feels "when all the bullshit is swept aside"? Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.

Behind the scenes with an acclaimed ballerina. At 14, Pazcoguin, who had been dancing since she was 4, won a scholarship to the summer program at the School of American Ballet, launching her on a path to join the New York City Ballet. In her brisk, spirited debut memoir, the author recounts her experiences in the competitive, hierarchical ballet world, from the "elitist cult" of the corp de ballet to her promotion as the "first Asian American woman soloist in the history of the company." Despite talent, ambition, and hard work, Pazcoguin became frustrated that racial stereotypes barred her from roles she coveted. "Need an ambiguously ethnic, badass female?" she recalled. "It's Paz to the rescue!" Even in The Nutcracker, she found that she was assigned to the B cast, composed of people of color, while the A cast featured lighter-skinned dancers. She directs unmitigated anger at former NYCB director Peter Martins, who "wanted me in a cage, to be okay with his idea of what a dancer who looks like me should be." After he criticized the size of her thighs, she went to a doctor who prescribed that she eat 720 calories per day for the next four months. Trained to find everything wrong with her body, she came to see herself as a "monster," eventually spending $10,000 on liposuction. "As I've grown older and wiser," she reflects, "I can see that the younger me twisted sacrifice into something darker. Especially when it came to Peter's subjective view of what my body should look like." Despite the abusive culture that Martins fomented, Pazcoguin never lost her passion for ballet. Besides performing throughout the world with other companies, she danced on Broadway in Cats: a challenging role and a window on a more nurturing culture than she had known on the ballet stage. A lively chronicle of dedication and joy. Copyright Kirkus 2021 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

Terms of Use   ©Copyright 2021 Follett School Solutions