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Dancing Through It: My Journey in the Ballet

Jenifer Ringer

A behind-the-curtains look at the rarefied world of classical ballet from a principal dancer at the New York City Ballet In her charming and self-effacing voice, Jenifer Ringer covers the highs and lows of what it s like to make it to the top in the exclusive, competitive ba... Read More

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Hardcover
Item # 1495380



A behind-the-curtains look at the rarefied world of classical ballet from a principal dancer at the New York City Ballet
In her charming and self-effacing voice, Jenifer Ringer covers the highs and lows of what it s like to make it to the top in the exclusive, competitive ballet world. From the heart-pounding moments waiting in the wings before a performance to appearing on "Oprah "to discuss weight and body image among dancers, "Dancing Through It "is moving and revelatory.
Raised in South Carolina, Ringer led a typical kid s life until she sat in on a friend s ballet class, an experience that would change her life forever. By the age of twelve she was enrolled at the elite Washington School of Ballet and soon moved to the School of American Ballet. At sixteen she was a professional dancer at the New York City Ballet in Manhattan, home of the legendary George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins.
Ringer takes us inside the dancer s world, detailing a typical day, performance preparation, and the extraordinary pressures that these athletes face. Ringer shares exhilarating stories of starring in Balanchine productions, working with the famous Peter Martins, and of meeting her husband and falling in love at the New York City Ballet. Ringer also talks candidly of Alistair Macauley s stinging critique of her weight in his 2010 "New York Times "review of "The Nutcracker "that ignited a public dialogue about ballet and weight. She unflinchingly describes her personal struggles with eating disorders and body image, and shares how her faith helped her to heal and triumph over these challenges."
  • Product type: Book
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Release Date: Mar 20, 2014
  • UPC: 9780670026494
  • Height: 0
  • Volumes/Discs: 0
  • Pages: 0
  • Language: English
  • BISAC: "BIO022000"

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Faith based look at Jenifer Ringer's professional life as a ballet dancer by Heart of a Philanthropist Blogger on 3/18/2015
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Heart of a Philanthropist would like to thank Family Christian bookstores for gifting us a copy of Dancing Through It in exchange for an honest review. This review was first seen on Heart of a Philanthropist blog.

Jenifer was a ten year old ballet dancer. Her sister was a pianist. The family didn't demand excellence, but they did take pride in their daughters' talent. Mrs. Ringer drove Jenifer to NYC to try out for ballet school. She was accepted full scholarship. There was still the expense of living quarters. Jenifer's grandma paid for five weeks of hotels so that Jenifer could have this prestigious opportunity. Ironically, Jenifer's family had a job transfer to NY. So, they sold their cars, and moved into an apartment with a doorman. Most everything was within walking distance and what was a bit farther was a taxi cab call away.

Jenifer worked hard in school and graduated early so she could further her ballet studies. She went to a highschool for professional children to accomplish her goals. At sixteen she was accepted to the New York City Ballet as an apprentice. Within a year she was promoted to a full time dancer.

There was little time for other activities besides school and dance. She soon stopped going to church, and her prayer life slowly began to dwindle. Along with her prayer life, her bodyweight shrunk. People called her too thin (ironic for a ballet dancer). She struggled between not eating to binge eating on a regular basis. For a ballerina, she was too large, and it began to affect her job. One of her employers went so far as to request she come to a separate half hour meeting to see if he was okay with her weight before giving her a job. Eventually Jenifer was fired from the ballet.

That was her first year not dancing. Back in school, Jenifer had made some friends. One of them was a boy named James. They weren't super close, but they'd danced together in the past. James was somewhat of a bad boy. Jenifer had a bit of a crush on him. During the off season, James contacted Jenifer and asked her to dance with him on a tour. She would go with a few of the other dancers. Jenifer was hesitant but chose to go. They had a great time, and Jenifer's childhood crush came back.

Because Jenifer lost 15 of the 20 pounds she needed to lose, and because she'd danced during her time off, the New York City Ballet hired her once again with the caveat she must lose the rest of the weight and keep it off. Taking that year off happened to be the best thing that happened for Jenifer. She came back with a vengeance and ended up being promoted to a full time dancer.

Jenifer opened one of the Nutcracker shows and there was a critic in the audience known to belittle the dancers. He wrote about Jenifer, "It looks like she had one too many sugar plums." How rude! Apparently I was not the only one who thought so. He received hate mail from many people. Instead of relenting, he stood by his critique stating she was a fat ballerina. What the devil means for harm, God uses for good. Jenifer was able to go live on the Today show, and eventually an episode of Oprah. Her story will inspire girls who feel all too often the in the spotlight for the wrong reason.

IN the middle of the story, James starts to notice Jenifer as a lady he was interested in. They began dating even though he knew she would not have sex with anyone but her husband. They began going to church together. They became exclusive, and soon they were engaged to be married. Jenifer and James danced as a married couple for five years.

I did not realize that ballet dancers retire young. It is because of all the battery their bodies go through to give us a spectacular show. James retired at 35 from dance and Jenifer retired at 41. They have two beautiful children- a boy and a girl. The daughter's name? Grace! God showed Jenifer much grace throughout her life.

In case you are not a ballet enthusiast, you will still enjoy this book. There are ballet terms throughout the book, however, there is also a glossary explaining all the terms. You'll love the crazy wedding dress story, and the miracle God allowed for that. You'll sympathize with Jenifer's weight loss and gain. You'll love the romance between Jenifer and James, and you'll be angry with the insensitive fat bashers. I love that Jenifer shared her weight struggles because so many people have issues with their weight. I love Jenifer's honesty throughout the book. She points out the first time she noticed that food brought her happiness, and realizes now that was the beginning of her battle with food. I like how Jenifer brings her family into the story. Her relationship with her children is of utmost importance to her. There is a cute picture of Jenifer waving joyously to her little girl who was sitting in the front row of one of her shows. I enjoyed the fifteen color photo pages that are in the middle of the book. The way the book was broken down (special topics for each chapter) made it easy to follow. A reader could pick it up at any new chapter and be able to enjoy that chapter. I felt like I was reading a friend's diary as I read Jenifer Ringer's book. This is a must read for any aspiring ballet performer, and for the parents of that performer. It will open their eyes to the issues that come with the glamour so that those issues can be addressed before they even come to pass.

HoaP received this book in exchange for an honest review. If you would like HoaP to review a book/product for you, please contact us at philanthropicHR@yahoo.com. Thank you for reading our review and God Bless!


Activate Your Faith - Phillipians 4:13
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