Dancing On Air Book cover

Short Story Review: Dancing on Air by Nancy Kress

Dancing On Air Book cover
“Dancing On Air” book cover

Dancing on Air by Nancy Kress

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Bio-enhanced ballerinas and dogs. Mothers and daughters. The price of passion. This powerful short story is a must-read.

In “Dancing on Air”, Nancy Kress explores the consequences of bio-enhancement but does not provide easy answers as the reader is drawn into the tumultuous lives of several characters within and orbiting the New York City Ballet. The story reminds me a little of the movie Black Swan and the lengths people will go for their art. This story, though, takes place slightly in the future, in a world of rapid, unfettered progress in genetics and biotech reshaping the very notions of what it means to be human, and to follow art. It also frequently provides the point of view of the bio-enhanced talking Doberman named Angel, commissioned to protect the company’s top star after the murder of ballerinas. A reporter whose teenage daughter is obsessed with being asked to join the Company begins to uncover and untangle the various motivations and machinations of the ballerinas, their mothers, the Artistic Director, and the bio-enhancement industry itself.

Kress’s prose is sharp, concise, and devastating. Obviously I’m a huge fan of her work; Kress’s stories never fail to blow my mind.

Highly recommended.

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Richard Leis

Richard Leis is a writer and poet living in Tucson, Arizona. His poetry has been published in Impossible Archetype. His essays about fairy tales and technology have been published on Tiny Donkey and Fairy Tale Review’s “Fairy-Tale Files“.