Thursday, May 12, 2016

Virtual Tour & #Giveaway for Hope by Grier Cooper

Welcome to my stop on the Virtual Tour, presented by Goddess Fish Promotions, for Hope by Grier Cooper.  Please leave a comment or question for Grier to let her know you stopped by.  You may enter her tour wide giveaway, where Grier will award a $20 Amazon/BN GC to one (1) randomly chosen commenter, by filling out the Rafflecopter form below.  You may follow all of the stops on the tour by clicking on the banner above, the more stops you visit, the better your odds of winning.  Good Luck!

Ballet - Every Little Girl's Dream by Grier Cooper


Every year during the holiday season, millions of little girls go to sleep with visions of Sugarplums dancing in their heads. Why? They've just seen the most well-attended ballet in existence–you guessed it, the Nutcracker. This ballet features a young girl, Clara, who travels with the Nutcracker prince to the Land of Sweets and meets dancing snowflakes and fairies. Who wouldn't want to get in on that action? However, even though ballet is a sparkly dream for countless young girls, those dreams may not come true for everyone.

There are plenty of great reasons to pursue ballet, such as strength, grace, and flexibility (let's not forget incredible posture) as well as other, less obvious reasons, such as learning the benefits of rigorous discipline and a strong work ethic. But choosing a career in ballet–which is, in fact, choosing a life in ballet (because you have one day off per week, leaving no time for anything else)–is not for everyone... and it's definitely not for the faint of heart. Here's why.

It's hard being perfect. Just ask any dancer. But perfection (or the closest thing to it) is the ultimate goal in ballet. That's why you'll find dancers in ballet class all day, every day, practicing the same moves until those steps become engrained in their muscles and brains, down to the cellular level. It has to be that way, because once you get onstage, there's no time to think; the choreography lives and breathes in your body, one measure of music at a time.

Ballet is also one of the most competitive careers on the planet. Just how competitive are we talking? Check out this recent statistic: the website for the School of American Ballet (one of the top professional ballet schools in the world) states that the school conducts an annual 20-city tour where over 2,000 dancers compete for 200 spots for the Summer Intensive. Only a small percentage of these Summer Course students are invited to become permanent students. Out of the 200 permanent students who attend the school, approximately 20 students each year sign contracts with companies across the U.S. and around the world. That's ten percent of the original ten percent. When you do the math it's immediately apparent just how few dancers ever “make it.”

Finally, ballet requires incredible strength–incredible strength. Ballet dancers may look like wispy sylphs but they perform choreography so physically demanding it would bring most football players to their knees. Dancers rehearse all day long (and sometimes in their sleep). But here's what's not immediately apparent: emotional strength is far more important than physical strength for ballet. Why? The ballet studio or company is not the kind of place where you'll ever hear, “Good job,” or get a pat on the back. Just the opposite. Dancers must be comfortable having every move scrutinized... and be able to take constructive criticism without melting. This isn't easy for most adults; but most dancers get serious about ballet in their teens. They have to find a way to dig deep, keep up their resolve, and maintain a positive, professional attitude in the face of sometimes scathing criticism from teachers (or even worse, complete indifference). That's a pretty tall order.

Is ballet the right dream for little girls everywhere? Yes and no. Learning ballet is a worthwhile pursuit for anyone at any age (more about why here) but dreaming of a career in ballet may not be realistic. The fact that so many young girls fall in love with ballet is no great surprise, and studying ballet will only work to serve them in the long run. Time in the ballet studio is never time wasted–it pays off with huge benefits. Ballet is an incredibly beautiful and refined art form; it also lays the foundation for many other physical pursuits (there's a reason why those previously-mentioned football players are heading to ballet class), and lifelong benefits such as body awareness, musicality, and enhanced listening and memory skills. Also, leaping across the floor in grand jetés and doing multiple pirouettes is incredibly fun!

If ballet is your dream, then jeté over to your nearest ballet studio, step up to the barre, live that dream and enjoy.

Grier Cooper left home at fourteen to study at the School of American Ballet and has performed on three out of seven continents with companies such as San Francisco Ballet, and Miami City Ballet, totaling more than thirty years of experience as a dancer, teacher and performer. She blogs about dance and has interviewed and photographed a diverse collection dancers and performers including Clive Owen, Nicole Kidman, Glen Allen Sims and Jessica Sutta. She is the author of the Indigo Ballet Series ballet novels for young adults. Visit Grier at http://www.griercooper.com

Hope
By Grier Cooper
Indigo Ballet Series, Book 2

Publisher: Dancing Poodle Press
Release Date: April 26, 2016
Genre: Young Adult/Dance
Format: eBook/Print
Length: 306 Pages
ISBN: 978-0990773535
ASIN:  B01BEAA16M

Buy Links:  Amazon | B&N | Kobo



About the book:

Indigo is living the life she’s always imagined at the famed New York School of Ballet. Or is she? Although she hopes she’ll be chosen for the company, her ballet teachers aren’t talking and their silence is confusing.

When Indigo is singled out for a coveted solo she feels her dreams are finally within reach, until she finds out she’s dancing with Felipe Gonzalez, the school’s smolderingly hot rising star. In the days that follow, Indigo questions everything she thought was true and finds herself making surprising choices.

After a fateful piece of paper reveals the truth, Indigo must ask herself the hardest question of all: can she take control of her own future to create the life she wants?

EXCERPT

Someone grabs my elbow firmly and I turn to find the new guy leading me to get a spot in line. I scowl at him and then at my elbow. “Um...hi? That's my elbow.”

“You do not wish to dance?” he says, eyes wide. His accent is silvery, melodic. Also hot.

“Um, no–I mean yes–I mean, you're grabbing my elbow a little too tightly.”

He drops it like he's been scalded, holding up both palms in defense. A stray lock of brown hair curls along his temple. “My apologies. Sometimes I forget myself.”

I look at him as I try to appraise whether or not he's making fun of me, but his face is unreadable. Also I can't look at it for long or I might get hypnotized. “Riiight,” I say.

We wait in silence, watching the other dancers ahead of us. When we reach the front of the line I see our two reflections–dark and light–in the mirrors that run along the entire front wall of the studio and decide they are complementary. At least it's nice to have a tall partner for a change; my opportunity to dance with someone my size is limited because I dwarf several of the other boys in the room.

I start to move and feel his hands firmly on my hips. His breath warms the back of my neck and I feel myself flush. Normally I'd take a glimpse in the mirror to make sure my alignment is perfect, but I don't dare. For reasons I don't want to admit to myself, I feel nervous and jittery. We face each other and he offers his hand as I come into arabesque. He starts the slow promenade and I chance a quick glimpse at his face. He smiles and I catch my breath. I switch my gaze over to his shoulder and notice that my palm is slick with sweat. I'm so embarrassed I feel heat in the tips of my ears. I pray my face isn't bright red.

He slides a hand around my waist for the dip and I close my eyes. “Relax,” he says into my ear. “I've got you.”

 AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Grier Cooper began ballet lessons at age five and left home at fourteen to study at the School of American Ballet in New York. She has performed on three out of seven continents with companies such as San Francisco Ballet, Miami City Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet, totaling more than thirty years of experience as a dancer, teacher and performer.

She writes and blogs about dance in the San Francisco Bay Area and has interviewed and photographed a diverse collection dancers and performers including Clive Owen, Nicole Kidman, Glen Allen Sims and Jessica Sutta. She is the author of the Indigo Dreams ballet fiction series for young adults and The Daily Book of Photography.

Links:



Born with two left feet and no sense of coordination, I’ve always secretly dreamed of being a dancer so I jumped at the chance to read and review Hope by Grier Cooper, the second book in her Indigo Ballet series.  A coming of age and dance tale, Ms. Cooper’s story captured my attention from the very first page.  A likeable main character, colorful secondary characters, a light touch of romance and plenty of emotional angst kept me turning the pages to discover what would happen next.  If you enjoy young adult fiction or want to find out more about ballet, then this is the book for you.

Ms. Cooper does a good job introducing her primary character, Indigo, right from the start.  A young sixteen to seventeen year old girl, Indigo is on her way to fulfilling her dream of becoming a professional ballet dancer with her acceptance at the New York School of Ballet.  Leaving her home, her family and her friends behind, Indigo finds herself losing hope as she’s faced with hostile instructors, jealous dancers and loneliness making her question her level of talent.  Even though I’ve never danced, I easily connected with Indigo and her struggles to fit into a world where sacrifice, extreme discipline and insecurity reigned.  Perfection is not just a goal in ballet, it’s a requirement and many crack under the pressure but Indigo kept working and never gave up – something I really admired. Plus I liked how she was determined to remain positive throughout most of the book.

The secondary characters were also well developed and contributed a lot to the story; I especially liked Eliza, a fellow classmate she doesn’t know very well at first but who she becomes friends with throughout the story.  We also get to know quite a few of the other female dancers, like Maggie and Vivian, who play an important part in Indigo’s life.  I enjoyed getting to know some of the male dancers, who face just as much challenge and rivalry amongst themselves.  While there really aren’t any villains like you would find in a mystery story, I did think the instructors were almost villainous in their approach to teaching and selection.  I certainly wouldn’t want any child of mine to have to deal with them.

Will a coveted dance solo prove to be the realization of Indigo’s dream or will it push her in another direction?  And will Indigo learn to recognize who is a real friend?  You’ll have to read Hope to find out, I enjoyed it and look forward to reading the next book in this series.

My Rating:  4 out of 5 Crowns
   
  

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12 comments:

  1. thank you for the chance to win :)

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  2. How has your environment & upbringing colored your writing?

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  3. Thank so much for hosting HOPE!

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  4. Great review, I'm looking forward to reading this one myself. Thanks for sharing :)

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  5. Thank you for taking the time to offer us this giveaway

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  6. I just wanted to let you know that every week I click on the link you provide on Book Beginnings on Friday and it is a bad link. I am not sure if you know this. I've noticed it for about a month or more.

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    1. This is what the message says:
      Sorry, the page you were looking for in this blog does not exist.

      Delete
  7. I enjoyed reading the excerpt and the guest post. Can't wait to check out this book!

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  8. Thanks for the opportunity to win, you're awesome! Happy Friday!

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