Starting Points: Ellen Schwartz discussing Avalanche Dance

An ongoing series wherein CWILL BC writers and illustrators connect a picture or an item to one of their books.

Ballet slippers copy - Ellen

These toe slippers were my prized possession in grade 9. I had been taking ballet lessons in New York City, and my teacher, the beautiful, regal, and fiery Romana Krasanovska, said I was finally ready to go en pointe. Straight to the Capezio Store I leapt – well, walked, but fast – and was fitted for my toe shoes. I remember taking them out of my dance bag on the bus going home and pretending to have to retie the ribbons, just to show them off.

I have always loved to dance, and that love affair was the starting point for my teen novel, Avalanche Dance. I asked myself: What if a young dancer was injured – or thought she was injured – and couldn’t dance? How could she overcome the disappointment and misery of not being able to do the thing she loved? This became a story of friendship, with lots of dance woven in. The teacher in the book is a combination of several of my beloved dance teachers.

A sad note: I wasn’t talented enough to become a professional dancer. A happy note: I still take dance classes every week.


Avalanche Dance was published by Tundra Books in 2010.

About Dan Bar-el

I am a children's writer. I write picture books, middle grade novels and graphic novels. Also angry tweets, once in a while.
This entry was posted in books/writing, novels, Starting Points, writing process and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Starting Points: Ellen Schwartz discussing Avalanche Dance

  1. Shelley Hrdlitschka says:

    I look forward to reading this!!

  2. Very interesting! I can only begin to imagine the excitement when you bought those slippers!

  3. Anonymous says:

    I can just see you on the bus, thanks for sharing this very human moment!

  4. Darlene says:

    The good news is that you are a talented writer who can write a wonderful story about dancing. I can just feel the happiness buying those shoe brought you. Glad you are stilll dancing.

Leave a Reply to Darlene Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s