In The Company of Others


Marion Boyars Publishers Inc. 

About the Book


As a company of young ballet dancers are put through their paces during morning class they consider the shifting emotional intrigues, alliances and shared experiences that bind them together. A very close-knit but highly competitive group — many have graduated from the same dance school — they are held in suspension by the closed environment of the company. It is a 'company of others' in the sense that all are interdependent yet remain potentially threatening, locked in the inner world of private ambitions and the hierarchy of the corps de ballet.

Some reflect on the nature of dance, attempting to relate their physical activity to a wider sense of the art they are practising, others study themselves in the multiple mirrors of the studio, straining to marry their inner concentration to an appearance of poised fluidity that remains true from all angles. As we are taken through each exercise from the dancers' perspective, the atmosphere of the seedy rehearsal studio with its sour smells and air of decay becomes all pervasive, and a pecking order based on expertise and physical attributes becomes apparent. At the end of the day one of the dancers collapses from nervous exhaustion, while another has mysteriously disappeared...

At the core of this beautifully and precisely written novel are its stunning descriptions of dance, not as spectacle but from the inside, as we experience what it is to push mind and body to their limits and the emotional price of such discipline. Set in the 1960s, this is a perceptive and accurate account of its milieu, its sense of the inner worlds of its characters intersecting sure and fine. In The Company of Others will fascinate all lovers of dance who are prepared to look behind the apparent effortlessness of performance.



Available second hand from Amazon 6 copies from £4.29