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Are you looking for the must-have dancer gift (or self-gift!) this year? Look no further! Hot off the presses, “Where Snowflakes Dance and Swear: Inside the Land of Ballet” is possibly the most readable and informative non-fiction book on ballet company life available today – making it an absolute Must Read . . . Manes deftly captures the dance-world drama and ballet bustle that make it the fascinating industry that we love . . . This book is nothing short of everything a non-fiction ballet book should be.  –BalletScoop

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Four years in the making, “Where Snowflakes Dance and Swear” isn’t just another textbook-ish tome; it instead reveals just how ballets are produced, marketed, and funded. In short, this beefy book – with all of its juicy gossip and first-hand dancer accounts – boldly goes where no balletomane has gone before! . . . I cannot say enough great things about this book. Its exciting and insanely in-depth coverage of “life on the inside” is exactly what tired, musty-dusty dance library shelves have been craving for years! Stephen Manes has done an excellent job at conveying all the intricacies of a ballet company’s success, without sacrificing a single note from the chorus of countless artistic voices behind it. (Bravo!)  –Class Act Tutu/Vala Dancewear Blog

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For those who secretly wish for carte blanche access to shadow and observe all of the inner and outer workings of a major ballet company, then Stephen Manes’ new volume, “Where Snowflakes Dance and Swear: Inside the Land of Ballet” is for you. . . . like being given a special gift – to be a fly on the wall of a company . . . to be able to read in detail of its day-to-day operations is more than a little fun, and truly interesting. Like a great Russian novel . . . You’ll enjoy reading about the pushes and pulls that come with a large organization that employs about 200 people, all of whom must get behind the enterprise to produce an artistic product. This product includes performances, the costumes, lighting, sets and music to go with them; the scheduling nightmares as stagers and choreographers generate multiple and often conflicting demands for space, personnel and resources; budgets, fundraising and marketing. How precious time is. . . . this work is a unique contribution to the dance world–one that Manes himself put a lot of thought and hard work into, committing himself to a year of ballet recording and reporting that shows that ballet and the arts are only achieved through very hard work and artistic triumphs are and can be truly one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration . . . “Where Snowflakes Dance and Swear: Inside the Land of Ballet” is not to be missed and will appeal to the general reader and certainly to those in tights and their supporting casts. –Dean Speer, Ballet-Dance Magazine

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“Where Snowflakes Dance and Swear” is an engrossing read . . . lively prose and an almost indecent amount of information about how the cogs in a ballet company all turn . . . What is maybe unparalleled in dance discourse is the attention Manes gives all departments. . . . The dancers usually get the lion’s share of the limelight but here, everyone’s triumphs and frustrations are given equal billing. Who knew (certainly not I) all the financial factors to be taken into account when staging any ballet? I did actually know how hard the technical staff and crew work to get a show on, but I bet many people don’t. . . . Manes delves so deeply into the people that populate this world he is painting for us that I found it hard to tear myself away from the characters after the book had ended. –Rym Kechacha, Balletco

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Many people have asked over and over again, “How are works transmitted?” “How do the dancers learn them?” “How do dancers work?” This book describes all of these in great detail . . . Manes takes an in-depth look at the school, classes, coaching, backstage, PR, the front of the house, administration, touring, auditions, fundraising, the orchestra, the Board: all of the aspects that come together to make the organization run and the performances happen. . . . It’s a fascinating story, regardless of whether the reader has ever seen Pacific Northwest Ballet. –Helene Kaplan, Ballet Alert!

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This is a must-read book for anyone vaguely interested in or passionately engaged with ballet or dance in general–a delightfully engaging insider story by an outsider wanting to know, “How does ballet happen?” . . . What makes this book about PNB hard to put down is the rapid-pace pursuit of operating both a school of dance and a dance company in a constantly changing economy. –Rita Kohn, ExploreDance.com and Broadside: A Newsletter of the Theatre Library Association

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Ever dreamed of being a fly on the wall (or the mirror) while a ballet company goes about its daily business? Stephen Manes did it. “Where Snowflakes Dance and Swear,” his behind-the-scenes account of Pacific Northwest Ballet’s 2007-2008 season, is a very impressive volume, a guide to the industry that goes beyond the stage to include students, orchestra and crew in the discussion. . . . “Snowflakes” lets us in on aspects of the art form few audience members even know of, no matter how seasoned the balletomane: technical issues and talks of tennis or card games over the crew’s headsets during the performances, board meetings and their jargon, casting negotiations, the constant money worries and the petty cost-cutting measures that go with them. . . . It is a colossal undertaking, unbelievably thorough and thought-provoking, a wealth of quotes and details offered without prejudice or judgement. –Laura Cappelle, Bellafigura.fr

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Unlike much of the romantic drivel written about the tulle-and-pointe-shoe crowd, Manes’ tome offers a fascinating look at the minutiae of how ballet makes it to the stage. . . . Overall, this book is a nice reality check for aspiring dancers and a fine antidote to the melodramatic nonsense peddled by films like “The Red Shoes” and “Black Swan.” –Thetyee.ca

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“Snowflakes” reveals all. . . . I can’t imagine any other dance company allowing a writer the same access as Manes was granted – to rehearsals, class, backstage areas, and staff meetings. . . . there is no other book that covers the same territory . . . I do recommend it for anyone with a passion about dance, the way it really is on the other side of the curtain. –Valerie Lawson, Dancelines.com.au

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In print

Ballet is about as transparent as the federal government, which means that a very small percentage of its backstage business makes it into the public eye. Author Stephen Manes is about to change all of that with his new book, “Where Snowflakes Dance and Swear: Inside the Land of Ballet.” . . . colorfully entertaining . . . Surely there is something for everyone to learn in a book that covers so much territory. “Snowflakes” should appeal to both ballet fans and professionals who have the same level of passion Mr. Manes exhibits. –Jane Vranish, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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. . . discoveries about the Land of Ballet were commonplace as Manes researched his book, which provides a fascinating look behind the scenes at one of America’s premiere ballet companies. He was given total access, sitting in on budget talks, casting decisions and long, grueling rehearsals. His book is filled with details, including Pacific Northwest Ballet’s $200,000 annual budget for shoes, and the “superhuman” stretches that dancers go through before each rehearsal or performance. –David Dunkle, Patriot-News

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Ballet may seem esoteric to a lot of non-balletomanes . . . But it may be less so if they delve into “Where Snowflakes Dance and Swear.” Author Stephen Manes spent a year in rehearsals, classes, meeting, auditions and performances and reveals what he learned in what he calls the Land of Ballet. Based on an in-depth portrait of Pacific Northwest, one of the country’s prestigious ballet companies, and on interviews with dancers, administrators, musicians, costumers, stagehands and donors, the book reveals what happens behind the scenes and how ballet really happens. –Barbara Trainin Blank, Carlisle Sentinel

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Interviews

. . . my new literary obsession . . . the newest and most exciting book on ballet . . . If you do not yet have your hands on a copy of this innovative look into the behind the scenes world of ballet, I highly suggest it.–Rebecca King, Tendus Under a Palm Tree

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“How much do pointe shoes cost? What’s it take to mount a season? What’s it like to be an artistic director, a dancer, a dance student, a stager, a costumer or a member of the orchestra? [Manes] chronicles all of it in his new book, “Where Snowflakes Dance and Swear: Inside the Land of Ballet” –Florangela Davila, KPLU

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“Where Snowflakes Swear And Dance: Inside The Land of Ballet” takes its readers into a world of dance that is largely unseen from the audience’s perspective. . . . as detailed an account of a ballet company as any I’ve seen, with many verbatim accounts of company meetings, in-depth interviews with dancers, and detailed accounts of productions. –Rosemary Jones, Seattle Examiner

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Wonderful! –Kim Alexander, SiriusXM Book Radio

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Fab! . . . a very thorough account of how a ballet company operates.–The Ballet Bag

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. . . a refreshing look at the nuts and bolts of putting together a season of dance.–Josephine Reed, Art Works, the official blog of the National Endowment for the Arts

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Insiders

Stephen Manes has given us a thorough and accurate look at the day-to-day workings of a classical ballet company and its school. He has also thoughtfully incorporated the individual stories of the artists and employees involved in the process of bringing work to the stage. This is a rare look behind the curtain of the performing arts. –Peter Boal, artistic director, Pacific Northwest Ballet

 

Stephen Manes has written a remarkable account of a year in the life of a professional ballet company and school. . . . His love of dance with an outsider’s amazement are constantly displayed on every page. I encourage everyone with a real-life under-the-microscope curiosity about the world of professional ballet to take the time to read this marvelous edition. –Bruce Wells, choreographer and teacher

 

“Where Snowflakes Dance and Swear” is the most accurate depiction of company life in professional ballet that I have ever read. . . . A truly in-depth exploration that should be recommended to anyone who craves insight into the very private world of professional ballet and the dancer subculture. –James Fayette, former Principal Dancer, New York City Ballet, now New York Area Dance Executive, American Guild of Musical Artists