When the music stops, the dance begins.
Seventeen-year-old Penny is a lead dancer at the Grande Teatro, a finishing school where she and eleven other young women are training to become the finest ballerinas in Italy. Tucked deep into the woods, the school is overseen by the mysterious and handsome young Master who keeps the girls ensconced in the estate – and in the only life Penny has never known.
But when flashes of memories, memories of a life very different from the one she thinks she’s been leading, start to appear, Penny begins to question the Grand Teatro and the motivations of the Master. With a kind and attractive kitchen boy, Cricket, at her side, Penny vows to escape the confines of her school and the strict rules that dictate every step she takes. But at every turn, the Master finds a way to stop her, and Penny must find a way to escape the school and uncover the secrets of her past before it’s too late.
After assisting with a dance recital at a local performing arts high school, I have a new found appreciation for the amount of work and dedication it takes to be a ballerina. Often times we just think of the fluffy tutus and pointe shoes, forgetting that there are hours spent practicing holds and routines, mangled toes, and physical (and sometimes emotional) fatigue.
The Midnight Dance did a fair job of showing those elements of the art form while maintaining the mystery behind the fairytale retelling.
The setting was especially great. Grande Teatro was just the right combination of eerie and elegant. The descriptions of life inside of the finishing school maintained the mysterious nature of Master and lives of the girls. There were plenty of beautiful descriptions mixed in as well that really helped my active imagination set the stage for this story.
It took a bit to work through some of the plot elements, though. For me, some parts seemed rushed and not really fleshed out. I did like the twists that were thrown in, even if they were a bit predictable.
Overall, it was an original take on one of my favorite fairytales, and I think it's worth a read.