Daily Archives: May 29, 2008

To dance: a ballerina’s graphic novel

I read the Graphic Novel memoir To dance, by Siena Cherson Siegel and Mark Siegel, for the first time quite some time ago. Then a week ago I read Miss Erin’s SBBT Interview with Siena Cherson Siegel and it inspired me to read it again. Now that I’ve reread it, I realize, I need my own copy. This is a book filled with heart, warmth and passion. There are some books I know I will want to be able to read again at different points in my life, and I think this is one of them.

One of the aspects of this Graphic Novel that impresses me the most is the fact that the story is told in a way that is completely natural. It’s not dressed up or fanicified or overdone in any way. Siena Cherson Siegel tells the simple story of her journey into dance, her family life, her growing up. It’s like a true sliver of someone’s life, not glamorized. This sort of story gets into me more than any overly dramatic plot line ever can.  Of course, the other reason this slim text is remarkable is Mark Siegel’s art. Every page is a rich visual experience. The palette is bright, with many petal-hued colours, and the images are full of energy and movement (no surprise!). There are so many images that will just stop you in your tracks. I slowed down especially at the section when Siena is experiencing the wonderful busy intensity of backstage life for the first time, and then you draw in close and everything darkens as she watches the dancers all alone from the wings. Wow. You are right there.

If you haven’t read To dance: a ballerina’s graphic novel, you really ought to. It belongs in every library, and in the hands of all young (and not so young anymore) dancers, artists and dreamers. Enchanting.

More information can be found here: To dance. And here’s a brief interview with Siena at School Library Journal.