It’s still winter, which to us here at WOD Magazine means it’s the perfect time to stay indoors and curl up with a good book. So we’ve taken the liberty of rounding up some of the best dance memoirs out there for you to enjoy. Fuzzy socks and tea not required, but highly encouraged. 

Read Part I here. 

Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina by Michaela DePrince

You might want to keep a box of tissues next to you while you read this awe-inspiring memoir. She was abandoned as a child and orphaned in Sierra Leone, was eventually adopted by an American family at four years old, went on to study ballet in New York, and then became the youngest principal dancer with the Dance Theatre of Harlem. Powerful, heartbreaking, challenging, and uplifting, DO NOT miss this one.

I Was A Dancer by Jacques d’Amboise

Growing up in New York City, Jacques d’Amboise joined his sister’s dance class on a dare. He went on to become one of the most accomplished and respected dancers in his field. Fans will enjoy this intimate portrait of an incredible talent and marvel at Jacques beautiful style of writing. 

 

Dancing with Cuba: A Memoir of the Revolution by Alma Guillermoprieto

An eye-opening look at 1970’s Cuba during a time of massive change and revolution. Alma Guillermoprieto left New York to take a position as a dance teacher at Cuba’s National School of Dance. Using a mirrorless studio, Guillermoprieto found a strength and determination in her students that will leave you feeling ready to change the world. 

 

Tallchief: America’s Prima Ballerina by Maria Tallchief

This picture book a wonderful introduction for children into the world of dance. Maria Tallchief grew up on the Osage Indian reservation in Oklahoma where dancing was forbidden. After recognizing her talents at a young age, her parents decided to let her break the tribes rule. This set her on a path to change the face of classical ballet as we know it and challenge the public’s perception of what a prima ballerina is. For the adults, check out this autobiography of this legendary dancer.   

 

Every Step You Take: A Memoir by Jock Soto

Jock Soto, who is Puerto Rican and Navajo, is arguably one of the greatest dancers of all time. As a non-white gay male, Soto struggled to find his place in the predominantly straight white world of arts at that time. This memoir is one of the most charming and endearing ones on our list and remains one of the most popular among dance fans (with good reason).  

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