“A Dance of Love and Jealousy”–life at the barre

Graeme, Roland. “A Dance of Love and Jealousy”, Dreamspinner Press, 2011.

Life at the Barre

Amos Lassen

To many of us the world of ballet is secret and mysterious and for me this is one of the reasons I was anxious to read this book. This is a year foe ballet with “The Black Swan” on movie screens and now this book.

Nate Deventer has worked hard at studying to be a dancer having danced in the corps and now he is about to be a solo dancer. He also has a new mentor but he is at odds with another dancer, Dane Stockton, a man with a girlfriend in the company but with an eye for something new. Nate has a chance to meet the man who he has idolized when Romuald Ghent joins the company as resident choreographer. For the new ballet they are planning, Nate is slated as the understudy for one of the leads and this of course brings him close to Ghent. Ghent however is somewhat involved with a visiting guest star, Henri Keller.

As you see above, there is plenty of intrigue here but what I especially like about it is that it is not just a look at dancers, it is also a look into the world of ballet. Nate represents what so many go through as they make the journey from obscurity to fame and from loneliness to love. Nate is the vessel that allows us to see the lives of other dancers and we become well aware of how much dance means to those involved. Graeme gives us wonderful characterizations and we see them as real people. They share a love for each other and for their craft and while there are sexual conquests here, they are not the main emphasis.

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