Review: Bunheads

November 27, 2017

Bunheads Review

BunheadsBunheads by Sophie Flack
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"The company is a collection of one hundred very different people, from all over the world, but we all believe in the power and importance of art. That's what binds us, keeps us together, through the effort and the intensity of the competition."

 If there’s something you should know about me, it’s that I love ballet. I love it more than cereal or Netflix, or sleeping on a bed. And it’s not often that you come across a realistic portrayal of it, most TV or film incarnations are overly dramatized (I’m looking at you Black Swan) and focus on unimportant things, probably because they’re written by people who are not part of that world, have never taken a class or experienced it as anything more than entertainment. Bunheads on the other side, is honest and raw for a change.

 Nineteen-year-old Hannah is a corp de ballet member in one of the most prestigious companies in the world. She has dedicated her life to her trade, training everyday and neglecting both her familiar and social life for the chance of a lifetime at dancing surrounded by the best dancers and choreographers in her country. She loves what she does, the rush of entering the stage is like stepping into a different world, and those fleeting moments when every step is precise, when her body forgets exhaustion and pain, and just glides over the stage make all the hard work worth it. But then Hannah meets Jacob, whose life as a musician couldn’t be more different than hers if he tried. Him entering her life challenges everything she believed is important and makes her wonder if her love of dancing is enough to make up for what she’s been missing on the outside world.

"My body arches over his. I see the rows of lights spinning overhead, and I feel like I'm flying.
Suddenly I forget that I'm not wearing stage makeup and that I wasn't even warmed up. I lose myself in the music."

 As I said, I don’t think I’ve encountered a more honest portrayal of what it takes to succeed in the ballet world, where you can’t sleep with the artistic director to get a part, you need to have actual talent. Flack describes life as a professional ballerina in a very detailed way, and she doesn’t shy away from the uneasy parts, but she doesn’t neglect the good either, the opportunity of being part of something amazing, to know all the hard work, sweat, blood and tears will eventually mean something more, to transcend, like some like to say.

 In the end the question isn’t about whether ballet is worth it, but if the protagonist loves it enough to give up everything else in order to become a great dancer.

 It made me nostalgic in the best way possible, I truly loved it.

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  1. Kelly | Creme de la Chic4 December 2017 at 00:06

    I must admit I'm kind of curious about this one, like you said, it's kind of rare to find a realistic protrayal of ballet on media, if I may ask, why did you give it four stars and not five?

  2. To be honest, I've never seen this book before, how did you come across it? I understand what you mean about there beign very little honest ballet protrayals, I don't know the first thing about it myself, I wonder if I would enjoy it the same having that in mind, I guess we'll see.