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Monday 2 May 2016

☀ Hope: Indigo Ballet [2] - Grier Cooper

Thank you for joining us on the Virtual Book Tour for Hope, a Young Adult Contemporary Novel by (, Dancing Poodle Press, 182 pages).

This is the second book in the Indigo Ballet series; details of the first book, Wish, are found below - sign up to Grier Cooper's Newsletter to get your copy of Wish FREE!!  Hurry as this is a limited time offer only!

Don't miss our interview with author Grier Cooper.

PREVIEW: Check out the book's synopsis and excerpt below. Read various excerpts with Amazon Look Inside.

Author Grier Cooper will be awarding a copy of "WISH", book #1 of the Indigo Ballet Series + a $10 Amazon Gift Card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.  

Please do take part: comment on our post and follow the tour where you will be able to read other excerpts (☀), interviews (ℚ), reviews (✍) and guest blog posts (✉).

Synopsis | Teaser | The Series | Author Q&A | About the Author | Giveaway & Tour Stops


Indigo Stevens is living the life she’s always imagined. Or is she?

Perfection. Beauty. Pain. This is life for Indigo at the famed New York School of Ballet, where there’s no such thing as weakness or privacy and every movement is scrutinized and judged. Although she hopes she’ll be chosen for the company, her ballet teachers aren’t talking and their silence is confusing.

When Indigo is singled out for a coveted solo she feels her dreams are finally within reach, until she discovers she’s dancing with Felipe Gonzalez, the school’s smolderingly hot rising star. In the days that follow, Indigo questions everything she thought was true and finds herself making surprising choices. Will she create the life she wants or lose everything?

Teaser: Excerpt


     Here’s what I’ve realized in the one hundred and fifty-one days since I first arrived at the New York School of Ballet: Every second counts. It isn’t enough to work hard and sweat; there has to be something more. Each moment is a new chance to reach just a little further, move one step closer to perfection. Like now. The piano music crescendos and my body responds, every movement precise and on tempo, even though the joints in my big toes feel like they might explode. My bunions are acting up today. The pain so intense I want to stop what I’m doing for one sweet moment–but I can’t–not until class is over and especially not with Madame Z standing three feet away. Not that I'm looking at her or anything, although she's a palpable presence just beyond my right shoulder. Instead I count the music inside my head and look straight ahead, keeping my eyes on my friend Vivianna's perfect French twist.
     I move with each beat of music and remind myself to breathe. This is my life; it unfolds second by second, packaged in tidy little patterns of eight-count measures of music, each bringing me one step closer to living my dream: To dance with Manhattan Ballet Theater, the best ballet company in the world. Not long ago dancing here in New York City was a wish I never thought would come true. It almost didn't–I'd only just kept my family from imploding when Mom's drinking got out of control. It's still hard, sometimes, to believe I'm here.
     But I am, and that means keeping going. There is no stopping. Not if I want to be a dancer for the company. This means each time I move in unison with the twenty others in the room, I must push myself ever harder to stand out.
     I .relevé., rising on my toes, and mask a sob as pain shoots through my feet. My bunions (with me practically since I began dancing on .pointe.) are getting worse. Each throb in my foot forces a question: How badly do you want this, Indigo? I dig deep inside for the will to rise above the pain.
     “It’s just a sensation.” That’s how Anya, my yoga teacher used to put it (on the rare occasions when I made it to a class). I don't think think she meant it to apply with pain like this.
     The pianist bangs out the ending notes. I peek at my feet in the mirror for a split second as Madame Z ambles past, her sharp green eyes coolly appraising our every move. She's wearing her black crepe ensemble today, with pearls. She may be dressed like she's going to a cocktail party but she’s not here to kick back and socialize.
     She speaks in a voice hoarse with decades of teaching up-and-coming dancers. “Eendigo. Vhat you make me, dahlink? Make tighter!” It's not always easy to translate everything she says. I make my steps smaller and tighter by bringing my feet closer together. The pain in my feet skyrockets and I clench my teeth in agony. But I will myself to rise above it. I have to up my game. Madame Z demands it.
     Madame Z fled the Iron Curtain; she’s one of the old-school, hardcore Russians that Yuri Kraminsky brought to America with him to train the dancers for his company. Madame Z may not say a lot, but she expects the greatest effort from every student.
     Basically, the woman works us like dogs.
     “Five, six, seven, eight… and feeneesh!” The music stops abruptly. Madame Z pivots around, checking final positions. It’s so quiet I can hear the blood rushing through my veins. Sweat drips off the tip of my nose and I smile, keeping my back ramrod straight, feet in a perfect .sous-sous., arms extended to the ceiling like birds’ wings.
     Madame Z mutters something Russian to Ludmilla, the pianist.Each time she speaks in Russian in this way it's like having to decipher a secret code. I never know if she's talking about one of us or just making a casual comment. It's a familiar and perplexing feeling this -- not knowing what's going on. It's the problem I've had ever since I got accepted here. It's no fun spending most of my waking moments trying to figure out where I stand. None of the teachers says much. Every time one utters a word we search for hidden meaning. Each word must be taken as a clue. I'm never sure if I’ve unraveled the intended meaning. Like now, as Madame Z corrects my foot placement–is it criticism, meaning, get your act together, your footwork is sloppy, or is it a hidden form of praise because she thinks I'm worth correcting?
     I’m never one hundred percent sure.
     .Barre. is now over so we move into the center of the floor and wait for Madame Z to arrange us in groups. I glance at Lila, a skeletal blonde, but she's busy staring at Madame Z. Lila's eyes are huge compared to the rest of her tiny bird-like frame. How she survives even one of Madame Z's classes is anyone’s guess.
     Madame Z cranes her head, looking for someone. “Brianna, dahlink, come to me.” Brianna is always first to be placed. She's the star of our class and the best dancer I've ever seen. It's not enough that she's gorgeous, with long auburn hair, perfect skin and legs that go up to her chin. She's also incredibly nice, which makes it impossible to hate her.
     Five more dancers are placed, including Nikki, who slinks past me with a knowing smirk. My heart sinks further each time I'm not chosen. I stare at my feet for comfort. Madame Z's selection process always makes me feel bad. It's like waiting to be chosen for grade school team sports all over again, misfits and losers last. Only it's much worse here because my future depends on it.
     “Eendigo.” I snap to attention when I hear my name. “Come to me here.” Madame Z gestures for me to stand in the middle. Of the fourth row.
     I take my spot while she finishes assigning groups and questions erupt in my mind like a flock of irate, clucking hens. Why am I only in the fourth row? And more importantly: What do I have to do to get in the front row?
     I'm still trying to figure out the answers when I realize Madame Z has begun demonstrating the next combination. I shake my head and my brain goes quiet. Luckily I'm a quick learner so I know what I'm doing when it's time for my row to go. All the other bodies in the room fade into the background as mine becomes precise machinery, dialed into the tempo. I will my leg higher, push my body to go further. Give more. Give all.
     Madame Z starts jumps at exactly 11:18. Maggie and I lock eyes. She points at the clock and cocks a knowing look at me. We have an ongoing bet about what time Madame Z will start jumps–it’s always somewhere around 45 minutes before class ends, which is about double the time any other teacher makes us jump. I roll my eyes. I’ve lost the bet again today.
     Twenty minutes later we’re on to the best part of class for me. I love big jumps most of all–those huge leaps where we defy gravity and fly across the room. But it's the moments in between these exercises–when the other group is dancing and my group has to stand and watch–that my resolve waivers. I watch Brianna and wonder if I'll ever be anywhere near the dancer she is. I wonder why we're even in the same class. .Her cabrioles are insanely perfect, delicate yet powerful. She flies across the room when she grand jetés.
     How can I compare myself to her? I can't.
     This is why I'm pretty sure that even though I'm putting every fiber of my being into this class, it's not enough.

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The Series: Indigo Ballet

Click on the book cover to Look Inside the book on Amazon and read an excerpt.

Wish [1]

**FREE for limited time when you sign up to Grier Cooper's Newsletter**

I have to escape. My mother is driving me crazy.

For Indigo Stevens, ballet classes at Miss Roberta’s ballet studio offer the stability and structure that are missing from her crazy home life. At almost 16, she hopes this is the year she will be accepted into the New York School of Ballet so she can begin her ballet dance career. First she must prove she’s ready, and that means ignoring Jesse Sanders, the cute boy with dimples who is definitely at the top of Miss Roberta’s List of Forbidden Things for Dancers.

But Jesse is the least of Indigo’s concerns. When she discovers her mom is an alcoholic, it simultaneously explains everything and heaps more worry on Indigo’s shoulders. As her mom’s behavior becomes increasingly erratic, Indigo fights to maintain balance, protect her younger brothers from abuse, and keep her mother from going over the edge. But life with an alcoholic parent is unpredictable. When the violence at home escalates, Indigo realizes she can no longer dance around the issue. At the risk of losing everything, she must take matters into her own hands before it’s too late.

[Published 2 December 2014, 303 pages]

About the Author

Grier began ballet lessons at age five and left home at fourteen to study at the School of American Ballet in New York. She has performed on three out of seven continents with companies such as San Francisco Ballet, Miami City Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet, totaling more than thirty years of experience as a dancer, teacher and performer.

Her work has been praised as “poignant and honest” with “emotional hooks that penetrate deeply.” She writes and blogs about dance in the San Francisco Bay Area and has interviewed and photographed a diverse collection dancers and performers including Clive Owen, Nicole Kidman, Glen Allen Sims and Jessica Sutta. She is the author of Build a Ballerina Body and The Daily Book of Photography.

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Giveaway and Tour Stops

Enter to win a copy of "WISH", book #1 of the Indigo Ballet Series + a $10 Amazon Gift Card
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Giselle said...

Thanks for hosting today! :)

Grier Cooper said...

Thank so much for hosting HOPE today!