This boundary-crossing book views ballet through the eyes of 24 Appalachian women who began their ballet lessons in childhood. Combining research in dance with analysis of interviews with the women, the work highlights what ballet meant to girls who sought a more magical world than the one they occupied. Keen in insight and colorful in detail, the narrative includes experiences of renowned dancers, past and present—Maria Tallchief, Misty Copeland, and Wendy Whelan among others. Surprising notables, world heavyweight champion, Muhammad Ali, born in Louisville, Kentucky, and Olympic gold medalist in gymnastics, Mary Lou Retton, from Fairmont, West Virginia, make cameo appearances in the narrative too. An engaging story of why ballet was meaningful to girls from the hills and hollows of central Appalachia, Another World: Ballet Lessons from Appalachia recognizes vital intersections—children and their families, students and their teachers, local and global communities—in the development of talent.
By Edwina Pendarvis