Book Review: Swan Dive: The Making of a Rogue Ballerina by Georgina Pazcoguins.
Reviewed by Lady Verity

Book Review: Swan Dive: The Making of a Rogue Ballerina by Georgina Pazcoguins. Reviewed by Lady Verity

. 3 min read

Not your pink tutu ballerina in a pink musical jewelry box, Pazcoguin’s memoir provokes with some serious titillation. Readers might raise their eyebrows (whether with interest or dismay) when she describes her stint dancing naked on stage in a revival of Oh! Calcutta!’s nude pas de deux. Rehearsing with her straight male partner, she says, “boners happen.” She gets turned on while dancing and admits, “I got aroused at times, too, but it’s not like I was dripping on the floor.” Indeed, male ballet dancers are hot, embodiments of prowess that resemble the
physical ideal -- like classical Greek statues come to life. Pazcoquin describes the sexuality sans sensuality (most often) of some of the dancers’ relationships: one-night stands, drugging and drinking, partying and blackouts. Lest readers miss the point, she recalls smoking weed in Christiania, Denmark’s hippie enclave, and dining on potentially lethal blowfish in Japan.

Swan Dive doesn’t view the world of New York City Ballet dancers through ballet-pink colored glasses. It’s more like a minefield planted with constant fat-shaming and snarkiness, world class jealousies and cutthroat competitiveness. Dancers wait in the wings for their compatriots to slip up or sustain injury so they can pounce on a coveted role.

Walt Whitman famously observed that people contain multitudes. This might explain the telluric undercurrent of malcontent in the memoir. Georgina climbs the professional ballerina ladder of success, then turns around and complains about the ladder. She’s irked that star roles go to blondes because that’s Peter Martins’s “type.” She reveals that Martins is her abuser and clarifies in an asterisked footnote that the abuse is not physical but psychological. She accepts parts he choreographs for her, for example, the role of nurse in Romeo and Juliet, and later objects to what she notes are humiliating moments like having a dancer reach into her bodice to retrieve Juliet’s note -- why not speak up during rehearsal? She says, “I knew voicing my displeasure about being harassed onstage would be viewed as ungrateful.” She arrives at the conclusion: “the nurse is finally like Fuck this shit, when she takes the note out of her dress dead center stage so he won’t touch my boobs.” If she weren’t a dancer, she could double as a rapper. Every expletive known and then some are wodged onto every page.

Ballet lovers should read this memoir. It’s a look behind the red velvet curtain and a primer on what it takes to get ahead. It’s also a primo example of how hard it is to write a memoir in an authentic voice if you’re not writing it yourself. Pazcoquin acknowledges her assistant, the writer Paula Balzer, who has a “brilliant mind” and “absorbed her voice.” No matter the writer, a new ballerina memoir is always reason to rejoice. It’s a welcome read for ballet enthusiasts and those little girls of long ago who once dreamed of becoming ballerinas.

The Crush Letter
The Crush Letter is a weekly newsletter curated by Dish Stanley on everything love & connection - friendship, romance, self-love, sex. If you’d like to take a look at some of our best stories go to Read Us. Want the Dish?

If you love me as much as I love you (and I really do love you!), then please help me grow by forwarding this {love} Letter to a friend!  And I'd love to have you join us on instagram, facebook & twitter.


"Don't Touch My Hat.*" Midlife Men & Loneliness "This is a Tale of Modern Love ..." 5 Things That Turn Me On: Ali Waks Adams 5 Things That Turn Me On: Bob Guccione, Jr 5 Things That Turn Me On: Craig J 5 Things That Turn Me On: Dish Stanley 5 Things That Turn Me On: Jane Boon 5 Things That Turn Me On: Lady Verity 5 Things That Turn Me On: Liza Lentini 5 Things That Turn Me On: Lynn Eaton A Turntable and a Candle: F-ing Classics About Face: Skincare Essentials for Men An Upbeat Playlist for the Divorce-curious And I Wondered ... Do We Really Need A SATC Reboot? Bisexually Anxious Among the Noodges. Review: shiva Baby BITE. Go Date Yourself! BITE. What to Cook When You Want to F*ck. By Ali Waks Adams Book Review: A Certain Hunger by Chelsea G. Summers Book Review: Norma Kamali: I Am Invincible Book Review: Swan Dive: The Making of a Rogue Ballerina by Georgina Pazcoguins. Reviewed By Lady Varity Book Review: The Lover. By Marguerite Duras. Book Review: The Story of O CRUSH Summer Reading List! From CRUSH Reader Sharon Weinberg, Owner of The Chatham Bookstore Dear Dish Dear Dish. About those summer orgies ... DEVOUR {things to do, have & know about} Dish Gets A Kink Assessment. Doing Nothing With Friends Extended Encounters. By Lisa Ellex F*ck Songs. Three Best Jazz Albums for a Sexy Night In. By Lisa Ellex French Kiss: French Girls Do It Better, Right? Grief. By Lauren D. Weinstein Hefner. By Bob Guccione, Jr Hide A Love Note In Their Pocket. Hook Ups: Hilary Harley, Astrologer Hook Ups: Meet Barrie Rosencrans, Spa Director & Dharma Yoga Teacher Hook Ups: Meet Heather Fink, Founder & CEO of the Sexiest Beauty Hook Ups: Theola Wong, Moon Babe Blankets Hot Thots I'm Dish, the Master of Ceremonies Lamentations on the Lost Art of Kissing. By Elisabeth C. Lamotte Let's Reconsider, with Adam Grant Love & Mike's "Bad Girl Pasta" Love / Sex / Moon Magick. Mercury Retrograde fucks sex. Not in a good way. Love/Sex/Magick. Hey There, Lover! By Lynn Eaton Love/Sex/Magick. Lammastide! Love/Sex/Moon Magick: Endings, Happy and Otherwise. By Lynn Eaton Love/Sex/Moon Magick: Full Moons I Have Known and Loved. Love/Sex/Moon Magick: The Power of Sex By Lynn Eaton Nice to Meet You. How Are You Crazy? Oasis in the Desert. One woman's honest journey through vaginal rejuvenation. OMG Yes. Pillow Tawk (or NOT)? Playing Games: A Review of Esther Perel's New Sold Out Card Game. Podcast Review: Dying for Sex. Why You Need to Listen to Molly's Journey. PrimeCrush & Chill: Movies Worth a Re-Watch PrimeCrush & Chill: The Hottest Thing to Watch Right Now Is A 1968. French Psychodrama "La Piscine" PrimeCrush Cocktail Coaster Giveaway! QUIVER. Sexual Debut Stories. Quiver. Sexual Debut Stories. By Lisa Ellex. Reports from the Edge: Kinky TV By jane Boon Reports from the Edge: Latex Stretches Reports from the Edge: Skirt Club. By Jane Boon. Reports from the Edge: Solo at the Sex Party SIP. Best Lines from the Double Dates Podcast Hosted by Marlo Thomas & Phil Donahue Six Ways to Get the Friends Who Count Snapshot Rec: Get Yourself Sexify-ed on Netflix. Snapshot Rec: Read Liza Lentini on the Indigo Girls in SPIN Songs That Make You Wanna F*ck Songs That Make You Wanna F*ck. By Christian Pan Songs That Make You Wanna F*ck. By Sarah Vespermann Stanley Tucci Is Paradise Stories & Conversations Stories to Read Aloud to a Lover. By A.K.A. Darla The 3 Things You're Really Fighting About The 4 Most Common Skincare Issues for Men (But Were Afraid to Ask). By Lauren D. Weinstein The Dynamics of Friendhip By Lauren D. Weinstein The Friendship Files: Like A Tattoo To get all of us, subscribe. Willin'. Divorce the Feng Shui Way. Willin'. Size Really Does Matter. You're My Medicine You're Wearing A Turtleneck, Again? Your Love Is King & Queen, GQ