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Happy Birthday, Audrey Hepburn—A Tribute to Ballerinas Everywhere

Happy birthday (tomorrow), Audrey Hepburn!   Born on May 4, 1929, she would have been 83 years old.  Although Hepburn died in 1993, she has left an incredible legacy both as an actress and as a humanitarian.

While researching her fascinating life as inspiration for this post, I learned that Hepburn trained to become a ballerina, but due to the hardship she experienced in the Netherlands during WWII, was physically incapable of becoming a professional ballerina.  Nonetheless, Hepburn used those skills to succeed first as a model, then chorus line dancer, then Hollywood star.

In celebration of Audrey Hepburn’s birthday and her perseverance, here is a list of books about young women who pursued their dreams to become a ballerina.  Discover how they achieved their dreams (or not)…  Cheers!

Audition by S. Ward

When sixteen-year-old Sara, from a small Vermont town, wins a scholarship to study ballet in New Jersey, her ambivalence about her future increases even as her dancing improves.

Bunheads by Sophie Flack

Hannah Ward revels in the competition, intense rehearsals, and dazzling performances that come with being a member of Manhattan Ballet Company, but after meeting a handsome musician, she begins to realize there could be more to her life.

A Dance of Sisters by Tracey Porter

Although almost totally consumed by her ballet training and her obsession with controlling her weight, thirteen-year-old Delia finds time to worry about her strange and rebellious older sister Pearl, who has been sent away to a private school.

4 Responses

  1. Love Audrey so much! Great post, Amy. Google “Audry Hepburn pet deer” for the best photos of all time!

  2. I just finished Bunheads yesterday! I loved all the detail the author put into it; she was a dancer with NY City Ballet! Reminded me of the movie Center Stage, which I LOVE!

  3. @Corey–that’s the cutest thing I’ve seen in awhile. My question is…. what happened to the deer when it grew up?
    @Molly–I really enjoyed Bunheads too! It also reminded me of Center Stage, which I also loved when I was younger. It’s so interesting to see part of the world behind the exterior glamor of ballet.

    • I’m pretty sure that Audrey kept the deer for the duration, but I can’t find anything about its death! She was too loving to abandon it, I’d like to think. : )

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