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Dancing Through It: My Journey in the Ballet (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 20. Februar 2014

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“Jenifer Ringer’s book is an honest and exhilarating look into the life of a young dancer, with both the excitement of achievement and the desperate anxiety given proper treatment. This is a must-read for anyone entering the dance community, but even more broadly, for any young person passionately following their dream. Jenifer was fortunate to have help in conquering her eating disorder and other demons, and this book may be a help to those wrestling with their own issues. Besides, for those of us who wish we could dance, knowing about it from the inside is a rare privilege.” —Kathy Keller, coauthor of THE MEANING OF MARRIAGE

“As a dancer, Jenifer Ringer offers quintessential musicality, brilliant technique, infectious humor, and a good old dash of gorgeous. As a writer, she offers all of this and more, providing us with a rare opportunity to look behind the curtain and understand the pressures, challenges, and rewards faced by this remarkable individual. Dancing Through It is one of the most candid and insightful books about classical ballet I have ever read. An honest portrait of the rarefied world of the New York City Ballet, Jenny’s writing will make you tear up, roar with laughter, and reflect on the myriad pressures and rewards of being a dancer and an artist. Long before you’ve put this book down, you will want to shout ‘Brava’ once again for this treasured ballerina and gifted author.” —Peter Boal, artistic director, Pacific Northwest Ballet

“One of New York’s most beautiful dancers, Jenifer Ringer brings idealism, humor, and a raw, searing honesty to this poignant memoir. I had a hard time putting the book down, and I teared up several times.”

—Wendy Perron, author of THROUGH THE EYES OF A DANCER, and editor at large, DANCE MAGAZINE


Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Jenifer Ringer was a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet, retiring in 2014. Before joining NYCB as an apprentice in 1989, she studied at the School of American Ballet. Ringer has a BA in English from Fordham University and is a recipient of the Dance Magazine Award and the Jerome Robbins Award. She is married to former NYCB principal dancer James Fayette. They live in Los Angeles, California, with their two children.

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HASH(0x984b25c4) von 5 Sternen From Apprentice to Principal Dancer 21. Februar 2014
Von Eileen Pollock - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Jenifer Ringer has been my favorite principal at New York City Ballet for years. I first saw her as an apprentice 25 years ago, and have since followed her career avidly. She is not a pyrotechnic dancer, but she has it all - she has refinement, delicacy, beauty - she is joyous. This book is the appropriate culmination of her life as a dancer, and I hurried to read it and report on it. She has written it herself with editorial assistance, the perfect combination. (There has been at least one prominent biography by a dance legend that was overwritten and lacking editorial guidance.)

Jenny describes her early days as a student at School of American Ballet, being taught - and corrected - by the finest ballet teachers - Suki Schorer, Susan Pilarre, Stanley Williams, Alexandra Danilova. Jenny is from the post-Balanchine generation, so she coached with Balanchine stars like Karin von Aroldingen.

Poignantly she writes of her first experience dancing in the corps of Serenade - "It almost seemed that with every new step I learned, my heart had to grow bigger."

She writes of being chosen as Waltz Girl for the SAB Workshop, then suffering a broken bone in her foot and having to be sidelined for six weeks. She describes the training at SAB: "Even a moment of stillness couldn't be just a pretty, static pose; we needed to look and feel ready to move at all times, and there were supposed to be invisible lines of energy radiating from our extremities."

She vividly describes Serenade, a challenging writing assignment as it is so other-worldly. She clearly sets forth the roles she has danced in such great ballets as Dancing at a Gathering. She describes the backstage of hair and makeup and a tutu that fits - a maternity tutu?

There is a great detail here, but the narrative never flags. It is perfect for girls who love ballet, and their mothers, too, for it exposes the reader to the difficulties one must overcome to reach the top, the absolute desire combined with athleticism, musicality, poise - and is it destiny?

My only cavil is seeing Avery Fisher Hall misspelled - adding a "c" in Fisher. Oh, standards!

I hope this book inspires young dancers and gives insight into what it takes to go from apprentice to principal dancer at New York City Ballet.
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HASH(0xa4135b7c) von 5 Sternen "Washington Independent Review of Books" by dance expert and author, Nancy Reynolds 20. März 2014
Von James Fayette - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Through the high and lows of professional ballet, a woman comes of age and discovers her true worth and focus.

Jenifer Ringer, recently retired from her long-time profession as principal with the New York City Ballet, was lovely and distinctive dancer, with an unusual warmth and graciousness. She had a strong classical ballet technique and an unshowy, unmannered presentational style. And her face was worthy of a beauty pageant. Now, having left the stage, she is faced with a major life transition. On the basis of this memoir, her first book, she just might have a second career as a writer.

What she has produced is both a coming of age story and a love story. Her book also deals with warm family relationships, with the dedication to an ideal that artistic pursuits require, and with failure and redemption. The common threads running through it all are dance and religious faith. In terms of dramatic narrative, the heart of the book is the emotional and spiritual crisis that overtook her as she emerged from late adolescence into womanhood. It nearly ruined her dance career and could well have left lasting scars. But she managed to pull out of it and to continue to perform. Indeed, she had a 25-year dance career.

Because dancers must start training so young and must make important life decisions when they are little more than children, they face a unique paradox: as performers they carry responsibility that makes them worldly wise beyond their years, while at the same time they embark on a sheltered and single-minded existence, living in something of a cocoon. Thus they are both young and mature at the same time. Many years later, Ringer told an interviewer: “I was sixteen when I became a professional. I wasn’t prepared to cope with being in an adult performing world so my coping mechanisms turned into eating disorders and body image issues.” (While many young women bemoan their imperfect body parts, dancers have a very special, sometimes fraught relationship with their bodies, as day after day they scrutinize every inch of themselves in the ever-present, unforgiving mirror.) At the time of the interview Ringer had long since come to terms with what she refers to as her “dark years,” but when she was living them she was filled with self-loathing, depression, and shame. And she did what for a dancer was unpardonable — due to compulsive overeating she gained so much weight she couldn’t fit into her costumes. After a very promising early career, during which she was given new roles year after year, she was fired from NYCB at the age of 24. She contemplated suicide.

Religion had always had an important place in her family life and indeed it is the lynchpin of this book. But by the time of her breakdown she had drifted from the church, and had also lost her trust in God. At her darkest, “I told Him I was worthless and repulsive. It didn’t occur to me to ask for help or forgiveness — I was too repellent even for God. . . . I didn’t think I could ever crawl out of the deep abyss in which I was trapped.” Throughout the book she expresses her feelings about her faith so openly that it may make some readers squeamish. She writes of “lean[ing] on God and invit[ing] Him ever deeper into my life” and refers to herself as a Daughter of the Lord.

Instead of killing herself, she managed to address her situation: “God was taking me on some kind of journey, not revealing the whole path but showing His love for me in tiny steps along the way.” She had already attended college part time and now obtained her degree. She got jobs as a church receptionist and a workout instructor and by chance bumped into a teacher who teased her back to dance class, which she had given up while hiding from the world. She began to accept herself for who she was, not how she looked. (“It was not my thought. It must have come from God.”) Her problems with food diminished, she lost the lethal extra weight, and within a year she had returned to the stage and was soon promoted to principal dancer: “I was dancing for God and I know He was pleased.”

Her dramatic story takes up less than a quarter of the book. The rest is devoted to clear-eyed, graceful descriptions of her initial attraction to the ballet, the life of a professional dancer, performance tips such as the preparation of toe shoes, touring, competition with other dancers, technical aspects of partnering, and all manner of “insider” details. This will be fascinating to balletomanes, but of even greater interest to aspiring ballet students. Her analyses of ballets she danced will provide food for thought to those who follow the ballet scene closely, especially the New York City Ballet. Of Balanchine’s eternal Serenade she writes, “There is a ballet that is like an ocean: it seems to stretch beyond the horizons of the stage. No matter how many times I see or dance this ballet . . . I always find something new to discover, something so beautiful that I wonder if the audience should laugh or cry.”

Last but hardly least she writes of falling in love and marrying a fellow dancer, James Fayette (“my hero”), who had offered a helping hand when it mattered most, by asking her to perform with him when she was overweight and had renounced all thoughts of the stage. Clearly he has been a figure of strength in her life ever since. Once she had regained her equilibrium she had sufficient confidence in her career to interrupt it to have two children, which meant undertaking the arduous process of getting back in shape — not once but twice. At the time of writing, life seems to have been worthwhile after all.

Nancy Reynolds, a former dancer with New York City Ballet, is presently director of the George Balanchine Foundation Video Archives. Her books include Repertory in Review: 40 Years of the New York City Ballet and No Fixed Points: Dance in the Twentieth Century.
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HASH(0xa4135144) von 5 Sternen Faith based look at Jenifer Ringer's life as a professional ballerina 18. März 2015
Von Heart of a Philanthropist - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
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. [...]
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HASH(0xa4135b4c) von 5 Sternen wonderful book 3. März 2014
Von Beverly Britton - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
This book about Jenifer Ringer's struggles with an eating disorder was wonderfully written. I couldn't wait to finish it. I love books where people triumph over problems and especially liked the Christian influence on the author's life. It also gave me a great look into the daily life of a ballerina, so I learned a lot in the process. The next professional ballet I will get to see will help me fully appreciate the hard work and day to day struggles of those in the ballet world. I appreciate the honestly that went into writing this. It would be hard to reveal yourself so fully, but Jenifer did that much to the enhancement of the book. I highly recommend this book.
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HASH(0x9c856edc) von 5 Sternen More of a Christian Inspirational story than a book about Ballet 21. Februar 2015
Von Shay VanZwoll - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Jenifer Ringer is a Principal Dancer at the New York City Ballet, and DANCING THROUGH IT is her memoir. It is not, however, strictly a memoir or autobiography of a dancer, it is also a Christian inspirational story. Unfortunately, there are times throughout the story that dancing plays second fiddle to her constant mentions of God and Faith. Religion is not bad in and of itself... but using a book about ballet to preach is a little frustrating to the reader, especially since this book is not labeled as Christian or under Spirituality. There amount of religious references in this book are overwhelming at times, especially in the first half of the book where you can barely read a page without a mention of God.

The blurb for this book also leads you to believe that it will go through Jenifer's struggles through the competitive world of ballet... And yet the book lacks any competition, instead glossing over the stories of her relationship with the other dancers, making it seem as if everyone is one happy family. In fact, Jenifer's rise as a ballerina almost seems too easy: She quickly becomes a top student at her ballet class growing up, is accepted at more than one ballet school in the Washington area, later joins another school in NYC, and then quickly becomes at an apprentice at the New York City Ballet. She becomes a soloist early in her career, and then - after a year's absence from the ballet due to weight issues - she is accepted back with open arms and shortly after becomes a Principal Dancer. It's almost too easy to be believable, and part of that is because Jenifer rarely if ever mentions the actual physical and emotional hardships of being a ballerina.

In the end, I was disappointed with this book. While it has some good sections and the author has some great points regarding the dance world and eating disorders, the overall thread of the book skips over what would actually be interesting to most readers and instead sugar-coats any difficulties the author had during her career.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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