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Swan Dive: The Making of a Rogue Ballerina

Written by Georgina Pazcoguin

From Henry Holt and Co. :

“Don’t expect just tulle and toe shoes. In this fascinating insider’s tale, NYCB dancer Pazcoguin reveals her world. . . . A striking debut.” ―People

Award-winning New York City Ballet soloist Georgina Pazcoguin, aka the Rogue Ballerina, gives readers a backstage tour of the real world of elite ballet―the gritty, hilarious, sometimes shocking truth you don’t see from the orchestra circle.

In this love letter to the art of dance and the sport that has been her livelihood, NYCB’s first Asian American female soloist Georgina Pazcoguin lays bare her unfiltered story of leaving small-town Pennsylvania for New York City and training amid the unique demands of being a hybrid professional athlete/artist, all before finishing high school. She pitches us into the fascinating, whirling shoes of dancers in one of the most revered ballet companies in the world with an unapologetic sense of humor about the cutthroat, survival-of-the-fittest mentality at NYCB. Some swan dives are literal: even in the ballet, there are plenty of face-plants, backstage fights, late-night parties, and raucous company bonding sessions.

Rocked by scandal in the wake of the #MeToo movement, NYCB sits at an inflection point, inching toward progress in a strictly traditional culture, and Pazcoguin doesn’t shy away from ballet’s dark side. She continues to be one of the few dancers openly speaking up against the sexual harassment, mental abuse, and racism that in the past went unrecognized or was tacitly accepted as par for the course―all of which she has painfully experienced firsthand.

Tying together Pazcoguin’s fight for equality in the ballet with her infectious and deeply moving passion for her craft, Swan Dive is a page-turning, one-of-a-kind account that guarantees you’ll never view a ballerina or a ballet the same way again.

“While the juicy details of beautiful people behaving badly are beguiling, it’s Pazcoguin’s unsparing criticism of the industry that begs an encore. This is potent stuff.”
―Publishers Weekly

“Pazcoguin writes with astounding passion about her achievements, and her prose is enchanting as she describes finally being comfortable in her own skin. Vulnerable, raw, and full of grit, this is the story of a woman who has been broken yet clawed her way to victory. . . . A personal tale of darkness, passion, and euphoric triumph.”
―Library Journal (starred review)

“In her brisk, spirited debut memoir, [Pazcoguin] recounts her experiences in the competitive, hierarchal ballet world. . . . A lively chronicle of dedication and joy.”
―Kirkus Reviews