Boston Ballerina

A Dancer, a Company, an Era

Laura Young and Janine Parker

As a charter member of Boston Ballet and its predecessor, New England Civic Ballet, Laura Young has been affiliated with the company longer than any other dancer in its history. This book is both a memoir of her personal journey and a fascinating account of Boston Ballet’s rise from a regional troupe to the internationally recognized company that it is today. It is interspersed with ruminations on the history of ballet, stories from the company’s Balanchine-influenced early years under founder E. Virginia Williams, and recollections from noteworthy tours, including those featuring the legendary Rudolf Nureyev, with whom Young was frequently paired. After retiring from the stage, Young has continued her affiliation with Boston Ballet, both as an administrator and a teacher. Working in collaboration with Janine Parker, Young has written a lively, informed, and entertaining memoir.

Cloth: $35 | E-book: $24.99
ISBN-13: 9781512600797
Pages: 256 | Size: 6 in. x 9 in.
Date Published: November 7, 2017

“In this book, with candor and grace, Young allows us to enter the real-life world behind the one on stage.”

Boston Globe


  • At once a self-portrait, a character study of Boston, and an intimate, inside look at the art of ballet. . . . In this book, with candor and grace, Young allows us to enter the real-life world behind the one on stage.

    Boston Globe
  • [An] Absorbing, intimate. . . . [and] valuable memoir.

    Keene Sentinel
  • There is a compelling story here to tell, an informative story here to tell, and an astute and practical take on a dancer’s life that is a must read for those involved in the dance world.?

    NewsNotes Dance Blog
  • For a quarter century, Laura Young was the face of Boston Ballet. . . . Just as she did on stage, Young communicates with laser-like precision, delivering a tour de force of high drama and low comedy that follows the fortunes of the company and her life at the center of that company. Boston Ballerina is an important addition to the lexicon of dance history and most decidedly a delicious read.

    Bruce Marks
    internationally acclaimed dancer, director, and choreographer
  • With generosity, loyalty to her mentors and peers, attention to detail, and a sense of humor, Laura Young has given us an up close and personal look at the raising of a gifted ballerina, coupled with-at last-a history of the founding and early decades of the Boston Ballet. Her book relates the improbable staying power of a dance company that planted itself on the inhospitable shores of Puritan New England to become one of the region’s indispensable treasures.

    Iris Fanger
    dance and theater historian and critic
  • Laura Young deftly and engagingly weaves together the story of her own career, the development of the Boston Ballet, and the accelerating importance of the art form in America. Today we are in a darker period for ballet, yet Boston’s troupe still thrives. . . . Young’s story is a heartening narrative of how much hard and creative work America has been able to muster in the name of beauty and inspiration.

    Joel Lobenthal
  • I can think of few other dance books that provide such a detailed and engaging account of the way dance companies develop. . . . Anyone interested in the history of dance in America should make sure to read this book.

    Michael Kaiser

About the Author

Laura Young

Laura Young was a company dancer in the Boston Ballet since its inception in 1965 and continues with the organization as a faculty member in its school.

Janine Parker, also a former dancer, is an artist-in-residence at Williams College. Parker has been teaching and writing about dance for many years.

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