Dance and Literature at Dance City
Letters from Yelena, a new novel by Guy Mankowski, inspired by his intensive research of the ballet community in both the UK and Russia, is to be launched at Newcastle’s Dance City. As well as exploring themes of art and how people use it in their lives, the novel draws on dark themes such as mental health, self-harm and abuse, portrayed authentically through his professional background as a psychologist.
Through an Arts Council grant, Mankowski visited St Petersburg to research the novel and is one of the few English people to ever be granted unmitigated access to the prestigious Vaganova Ballet Academy.
The novel will be officially launched on Monday 1st October at Dance with a unique artistic collaboration bringing literature and dance to one stage. As well as featuring readings from Letters from Yelena, the evening will feature choreography by NE-based choreographer Dora Frankel (Bitter, Sweet and Dark and One Small Step/One More Step), which will be performed by Argentinian ballet dancer Laila Sanz, set to an original soundtrack by Jeremy Bradfield.
Letters from Yelena is narrated through letters written by Ukranian ballet dancer Yelena to her lover and friend Noah. Mankowski’s debut novel The Intimates was chosen as a ‘Must Read’ for New Writing North’s Read Regional 2011 campaign.