The Littlest Ballerina
I am looking for a book I read years ago, probably in the mid-nineties. It was about a teenager who went to a dance school and I think her name was Sal. Her family was quite poor so they often worried about money. I think she stayed at home with her parents for a while but they lived quite a long way from the school so she had to move closer, and they had an argument about that. Her parents weren’t keen on her going to the school anyway: maybe they wanted her to get a 'sensible job'.
The dance style was contemporary or ballet. I don't know about the location except that it was the UK or USA. It was set in the present day when it was written, but that would have been in the 80s or 90s.
I remember very little of the story. At one point she realised she wasn't as supple as some of the other students so she stayed behind to do extra training. At the very end there is a show by the students and she was doing a solo. She got on stage and decided to abandon the dance she'd planned and just improvise with how the music make her feel. At the end she felt it hadn't gone very well but then got loads of applause.
I think there was a romance element as well with another music student, although it wasn't just a romance tale. I've searched through heaps of lists of young adult dance books and on Google Books but I can't seem to find it.
‘Say Goodnight, Gracie’ by Julie Reece Deaver was suggested on another forum, but it’s not that. The dance aspect is central to the story I’m looking for, whereas it’s just a supporting story in ‘Say Goodnight, Gracie’.
Jean Ure as an author was suggested as well, but most of her books seem to be for slightly younger readers.
I don't think this was amazing literary writing or anything, but for some reason I remember this book and would love to find it again.
The book is juvenile fiction about a young girl, age 9, who dances ballet. She wants to start using toe shoes but everyone tells her she is too young. She goes on a summer vacation to the beach and meets a famous ballerina and her choreographer husband who decide to stage a shortened version of The Nutcracker at the grand hotel where they are staying. The girl is invited to participate even though she is not staying there. The owner’s spoiled daughter makes a fuss and is cast as Clara. She had started dancing with toe shoes but it is causing to much stress on her developing feet and she can’t dance very well. I think her name is April.