Grace & Grit

A History of Ballet in Minnesota

2022
Author:

Georgia Finnegan
Foreword by Rochelle Zide-Booth

A complete history of ballet in Minnesota by a professional dancer and creative force in the Twin Cities artistic community

Grace & Grit is a comprehensive and long overdue history of ballet in Minnesota. In a lively writing style, dance insider Georgia Finnegan has created a remarkable resource, featuring both entertaining and moving personal stories as well as factual accounts, on this particular art form in a state renowned for its commitment to art and culture.

The names are iconic and familiar to anyone in Minnesota with an interest in dance: the Andaházy School of Classical Ballet, Minnesota Dance Theatre, James Sewell Ballet, Saint Paul City Ballet, and many more. Minnesota dance insider Georgia Finnegan, with a decades-long career as a professional ballet dancer and administrator of several dance companies in the Twin Cities, has compiled for the first time a comprehensive and long overdue history of ballet in Minnesota. In a lively writing style that features entertaining and moving personal stories as well as factual accounts about ballet companies, dance schools, artistic visionaries, and the supporters who helped to make it possible, Finnegan has created a remarkable resource on this particular art form in a state renowned for its commitment to art and culture.

From the international love story of Lorand and Anna Andaházy, to the Houltons and their beloved Nutcracker tradition, to the innovative Ballet of the Dolls, which brought new audiences to the dance performances, Grace & Grit introduces the major figures during more than eighty years of ballet in Minnesota, including companies and schools in Duluth, Rochester, Grand Rapids, and throughout the state as well as significant academic dance programs at several Minnesota colleges. Through numerous interviews and enhanced by her own experience and extensive connections, Finnegan presents her substantial in-depth research in a dynamic text that finally captures the successes, challenges, accomplishments, transitions, memorable performances, and fascinating people involved with the establishment and flourishing of ballet in Minnesota.

Georgia Finnegan has been a leader in the Minnesota dance community for more than thirty years. She was a founder and former director of Saint Paul City Ballet and Rivers Ballet and has performed with five Minnesota ballet companies.

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