Dances by Nicole Cuffy

Dances by Nicole Cuffy is heavy on ballet’s technical terms but is still a captivating debut.


Cece Cordell has worked extremely hard to reach the New York City Ballet. After stepping in for an injured dancer and performing flawlessly, Cece gets promoted to principal, the first Black ballerina in the company. Overnight, she becomes a celebrity with all the perks. Meanwhile, Cece begins working even harder to prove to herself that she belongs at this prestigious dance company.

Internally, she also fiercely misses her older brother, who was her first supporter but disappeared years ago.

Review of Dances by Nicole Cuffy

This literary fiction novel is a quick and interesting read.

Dances by Nicole Cuffy

Usually, when I read a book that focuses on a particular skill, I enjoy it when the author describes it in a way that does not assume any prior knowledge. Here, Nicole Cuffy does not do that. There are oodles of technical ballet terminology and next to no explanation. Fortunately, it did not negatively impact my reading experience. I just visualized the dancers leaping and twirling. But it may be an issue for some readers.

It discusses the restrictive lifestyle many ballet dancers take up. It also touches on Cece’s experience as a Black woman in a historically white industry.

Overall, this was a compelling debut, and I will keep a lookout for future releases by the author.

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Expected Publication: 16 May 2023

Thank you to One World for providing an arc via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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