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Dances by Nicole Cuffy
Hardcover $27.00
May 16, 2023 | ISBN 9780593498156

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“Leap into the world of professional ballet in this fictitious and yet so-real tale of a young Black ballerina.”—Ebony, 11 Books by Black Authors in Bloom this Month


“You don’t have to know anything about ballet to start reading Nicole Cuffy’s lyrical debut about a Black principal ballerina with the New York City Ballet, but you’ll have a deep appreciation of it by the time you finish . . . a profound and captivating examination of family, ambition, power, and sacrifice.”—Bustle

“This debut novel by the author of a decorated work of short fiction, 2018’s Atlas of the Body, is an examination of the physical and spiritual costs all artists must pay in the pursuit of their art.”—The Millions

“A striking debut that centers on Cece Cordell, a Black rising star of the New York City Ballet, as she questions whether she will ever find fulfillment within the stern, ultra-white fortress of classical dance. Cuffy’s prose pours into Cece—head, heart, and body—and creates a moving portrait of an artist seeking to know herself and stretch the boundaries of her craft.”—Oprah Daily

“Nicole Cuffy sweeps us into the insider world of ballet with a voice that is beautiful and authentic. This is a singular debut, and a vivid portrait of the heartbreak of growing up and confronting the tension between family and career.”—Imbolo Mbue, author of How Beautiful We Were

Dances is a striking ode to the world of ballet, full of Cuffy’s lush descriptions of its glittery highs and its excruciating lows. Cece’s struggles with self-acceptance are achingly resonant, and this beautifully intertwined family saga and artist’s journey keeps readers en pointes, propelled through the steps of a ballerina’s whirlwind year.”—Leila Mottley, author of Nightcrawling

“Nicole Cuffy’s debut is a mesmerizing behind-the-scenes look at the world of ballet, as well as an achingly human search for belonging, in both family and art. Dances is a graceful and propulsive ode to those who fed our dreams, and how our dreams feed us.”—Kyle Lucia Wu, author of Win Me Something

Dances is a compelling novel about the spiritual and bodily costs of the dogged pursuit of art.”—Raven Leilani, author of Luster

“The closest thing most of us will ever experience to actually dancing the ballet and to life in a dancer’s body.”—Kirkus Review (starred review)

“Brilliant . . . A ballet dancer herself, Cuffy brings grace, control, and vigor to her prose. Through Cece’s trials, the story movingly explores the secrets and inner demons of a performer who struggles with artistic competition, betrayal, guilt, family, and ‘the ever-present weight’ of her race. . . . Readers will be enchanted.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

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