That was their instruction.
But fate tripped them up, and they fell in love.
Under the fluorescent sun of ‘80s Hollywood, aging ballerina Peridot “Peri” Jones and her new partner, young Mark Maroulis, Jr., ignite a chemistry onstage that brings a dying ballet company back to life.
Although wary of their age difference, they begin a highly charged love affair offstage. They keep the romance a secret because artistic director Mr. D considers Peri to be his. When Mr. D discovers their relationship, he wrenches Mark and Peri far apart. Will they be able to dance themselves back together?
Lyrical and poignant, the story unfolds through the structure of a classical ballet grand pas de deux. It delves into themes of toxic masculinity, the sacrifices that art exacts from its practitioners, and the challenges of an inverse May/December relationship.
The Pas de Deux combines the classical ballet setting of Billy Elliot and Astonish Me (Maggie Shipstead) with the upside-down romance of On the Island (Tracey Garvis-Graves). It draws parallels among three genocides of the 20th century—Armenia, AIDS, and the Holocaust—and a suggestion rooted in dance practices to address intolerance.
What draws you to this genre?
Romance embodies the Hegelian dialectic, which is a super fancy way of saying the genre presents two contradictory worldviews (the hero and heroine’s) and then unifies them. This is why some of my favorite novels (from Pride and Prejudice to A Knight in Shining Armor) are romances.
What was the hardest part of writing this book?
Accurately portraying the ‘80s. While the decade isn’t that far away, it took a lot of research to ensure everything from clothing to a Guns N’ Roses show that occurs at climactic moment was period appropriate.
Why do you write?
Fiction offers access to another person’s headspace, which can broaden our understanding of what makes somebody tick. I consider dance to be my genre, and that allows me enormous leeway in tone, content, and style in all my books.