Dancing Through Fire
Welcome to 19th century Paris, and the world of Degas's dancers. Against the fiery backdrop of war, the beauty of the ballet sustains and strengthens 13-year-old Sylvie, a pupil at the Paris Opera Ballet.
This historical novel takes place in the 1870s in Paris, where Sylvie is a "little rat," or young pupil of the Paris Opera Ballet. She strives to dance well and to grow three-quarters of an inch so that she can join the ballet, while her widowed mother takes in laundry to make ends meet. When war comes to Paris, it brings hardship, hunger, death, and occasionally the closing of the opera house. To Sylvie, this period of upheaval brings challenges and loss but also growth in understanding and independence, as well as in inches. The artist Degas makes cameo appearances, and one of his paintings is used on the cover. Though readers may be unfamiliar with this historical period, they will be swept along by the strong story line. Young dancers will particularly enjoy the evocative passages when Sylvie is on stage or in class.
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