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Publisher's Summary

This program is read by the author.

Award-winning New York City Ballet soloist Georgina Pazcoguin, aka the Rogue Ballerina, gives listeners 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 one-of-a-kind account that guarantees you'll never view a ballerina or a ballet the same way again.

A Macmillan Audio production from Henry Holt and Company

©2021 Georgina Pazcoguin (P)2021 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

"Don't expect just tulle and toe shoes. In this fascinating insider's tale, NYCB dancer Pazcoguin reveals her world. . . . A striking debut." —People

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What listeners say about Swan Dive

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Pure joy!

I never leave book reviews, but I loved this book. It lifted my spirits while working while also providing a tale of a wild life filled with memories, beauty, art, heartache, struggle, and resilience. I’ve never been to a professional ballet, but after this book I will have to make it a priority. Georgina’s voice is a dream I would listen to her read any book ever. Seriously this woman needs her own podcast. Receiving the inside story about such a guarded treasure as the New York City Ballet made this Wyoming gal feel both fancy and realize that anyone can become as graceful as a ballerina if she puts her mind to it. This audiobook was amazing and I will definitely be listening (living vicariously through it) to it again.

5 people found this helpful

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It’s a hoot!

She’s smart, confident and sassy with great behind the scene tales of the upper echelon of the ballet world.

2 people found this helpful

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amazing life, drive & integrity

The behind the stage look at the world of ballet is intricate and embracing. the challenges and rewards seem to be boundless you have to comparison to the other Arts is overwhelmingly interesting. very good read.

2 people found this helpful

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Loved it!

You don’t need to know anything about ballet to enjoy this book. The author reads the story delightfully! It’s a fun, suspenseful, life in the ballet, a journey very unique. As a former ballerina I can attest to the patriarchal and lily white world. I love her imitation of Peter Martins!!! Golden. This is a darkly funny book and glimpse into The elite ballet company of the world. Thank you Georgina for telling your story, you are making the world a better place.

1 person found this helpful

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Horrible narration

Intriguing inside view of behind the scenes at New York City ballet and what it takes to be a member of this company. Although I enjoyed the story very much I couldn’t stand the author’s narration finding her to be completely annoying. Also profane language throughout which was just not necessary and seemed contrived.

1 person found this helpful

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Distracting narrator

The author tried too hard when reading this. it might be better if you read the book and don't have the distracted voices. It almost seemed as if the author tried to force the stories to be dramatic.

1 person found this helpful

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A beautiful swan

I loved listening to Gina tell her story. Her bravery and shining personality come to life in this book.

1 person found this helpful

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Whinny ballerina

A note to the author:
YES, the art and sport of ballet is punishing. But there are hundreds of people who would have loved to take your place.
So, you had liposuction. Poor girl. Many others with deformed bodies have lipo so they can fit into a pair of pants like regular folk. Some people have it so they can look NORMAL! The ballet was demanding, because it demands perfection. Was the culture at the American Ballet cruel at times? Maybe... in your eyes. You got to travel the world. People applauded at your talent, and you got to see and hear it all the time. A lot of white people in ballet? Yes. It's changing. Ballet world is a microcosm. Not once did I feel sorry for you or felt you REALLY suffered emotional abuse. You have a chip on your shoulder, it was obvious.

To the potential reader:
Though this book is not a bad listen, Georgina comes across as the suffering ballerina who blames her race for her problems with the ballet company. She started as a very young girl with the ballet and maybe with a little adult guidance, would have fared better. If you have been a ballet goer, it does shed light on the endless grueling work a ballerina goes through. Most of what you hear about is how ballerinas starve themselves to maintain weight. (Most normal young woman, ages 15 to 40, do the same thing on a daily basis!). The real message of this book is for future girls to know what the real "JOB" of a ballerina entails and how hard this dance form is on the body.
It is an interesting story, but I never once felt sorry for the tortured swan. It's hard to feel sorry for overly privileged/talented individuals who never really act grateful for their position. It might have been better if she had not narrated her own book. Do not, not listen to this. It does have entertainment value. But, I was glad when it was over.

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Whining Bunhead

Such a vulgar person. She is the opposite of what most people would expect of a mature, serious dancer. 15year olds are more mature. The “F” word used gratuitously. Her personalizing grudges does nothing for the art.

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A delight from start to finish!

Candid, hilarious, observant, delicious! What a wonderful journey narrated by the wry self effacing ballerina herself. A must listen. Enjoyed every minute of this.