Dancer Interrupted: A Memoir

Tampico. 2019. 194p. photos. ISBN 9780989919425. pap. $16. MUSIC
By junior high, Priver knew ballet was “what she was meant to do,” and despite countless blisters and bloody toenails and a bacterial infection that sidelined her for a year, she earned student scholarships to Balanchine’s School of American Ballet, enjoyed audiences with “Mr. B” and chats with Lincoln Kirstein, and shared elevators with Rudolph Nureyev and classes with prima ballerina Alexandra Danilova. “My plan was to dance until I died,” Priver writes in this forthright memoir. She powered through her first depressive episode at 16 and maintained her “bone thin” weight with unhealthy habits. Priver’s early chapters name-drop and dance lightly over her fragile mental state, but later she writes about being let go from the Cleveland Ballet and moving back in with her dysfunctional parents. As they ping-ponged from supportive to insulting, Priver spent months almost immobile on their couch, coping with weight gain, making attempts at therapy, and eventually working toward recovery and independence. She recounts awkward trysts and a relationship with an emotionally abusive man but concludes on a hopeful note—yoga and acting helped satisfy her desire to move, perform, find community, and express something bigger than herself.
VERDICT Both a cautionary tale for aspiring dancers and a stirring story of grappling with mental illness, this offering will find an audience in many public libraries.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


Get connected. Join our global community of more than 200,000 librarians and educators.

Get access to 8000+ annual reviews of books, ebooks, and more

As low as $13.50/month