After a terrifying audition, Sara wins a scholarship to the Jersey Ballet for a year. Though it’s not the most prestigious of the ballet schools, it’s certainly a step up for a dancer from a tiny school in Vermont. Sara moves away from her family and friends to live with one of the school’s teachers, attend a private high school, and then attend grueling hours of dance classes, tours, and performances.
The dance world is extremely competitive. Sara is filled with self doubt, unsure whether her small-town training will ever be enough, whether her body will ever be perfect, whether dance is what she wants to give herself over to completely. Her doubts are both calmed and amplified by the gorgeous Remington. Rem is an older choreographer who at times makes her feel like the most desirable woman in the world, creating dances inspired by their sexual liaisons, and at others makes her feel like just a little girl, horribly out of place in his world. Even when she serves as Rem’s muse, Sara is still not chosen to dance the big parts. Can she find fulfillment in the dances she does perform, or will she be stuck giving away her body and soul day after day without ever feeling quite good enough to achieve her dreams?
Stasia Keho’s Audition is told in sparing verse, which beautifully captures the movement and rhythm of the dance. Audition covers the usual range of dance topics, asking once again if the beauty of ballet is enough to warrant the eating disorders, painful hours of practice, endless sacrifices, and fierce competition for roles. Sara’s difficult decision about whether to continue dancing or pursue other interests is heart wrenching, particularly because of the number of bad decisions she makes along the way. Those who enjoy dance books and movies may not find anything overly unique here, but will appreciate the author’s clear expertise in dancers’ movements and lifestyles, as well as her ability to capture it in such concise and accessible verse.