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Modern Interpretations of Red Shoes

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Hans Christian Andersen
Father of the Modern Fairy Tale 
by Terri Windling


The story of Red Shoes and its themes have appeared in literature and other forms of art. This page provides a small discussion of some of the better known treatments by authors and other artists.

Literature   Poetry   Music   Film   Theatre

Literature: Novels

Dancing in Red Shoes Will Kill You by Dorian Cirrone

Cirrone, Dorian. Dancing in Red Shoes Will Kill You. New York: HarperCollins, 2005.
Amazon.com: Buy the book in hardcover or paperback.

NOVEL: "I hadn't really thought of my breasts as "problem breasts." It made them sound like children who wouldn't behave. No bra was going to keep these babies a secret. And those tips for the full-figured girl in the magazines? Please. Even NASA couldn't design a tank suit to camouflage my proportions.

Kayla Callaway has been studying ballet since she learned to walk, and her heart is set on a future in the dance world. She's sure she'll get a solo part in Cinderella, the spring ballet at her high school.

But when the parts are finally posted, Kayla is shocked that she's only landed a role as a stepsister –– and an ugly one, at that! The brutal truth: Ballet and big boobs don't mix. Suddenly Kayla's dream for the future has become a real-life fractured fairy tale.

To make matters worse, bloodred pointe shoes with threatening messages start popping up all over school. When Kayla learns that she'll be wearing red pointe shoes in the ballet, she wonders if the messages are meant for her. But who are they from? And more important -- what do they mean?"

The Red Shoe by Ursula Dubosarsky

Dubosarsky, Ursula. The Red Shoe. New York: Roaring Brook Press, 2007.
Amazon.com: Buy the book in hardcover.

NOVEL: "Funny, tough-minded and tender, this is the story of Matilda and her two sisters growing up in Sydney, Australia in the 1950s at the time of the Cold War Russian spy crisis known as the Petrov Affair. Punctuated by the headlines of the time, it shows with unsettling clarity how the large events of the world can impinge on ordinary lives." Winner of the Queensland Premier's Literary Award 2006 (Australia).

Visit the author's site at http://www.ursuladubosarsky.com/

The Red Shoes by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressberger

Powell, Michael and Emeric Pressburger. The Red Shoes. New York: Ungar, 1987.
Amazon.com: Buy the book in hardcover or paperback.

NOVEL: From Library Journal: "Starlets have often attributed their initial artistic inspiration to Powell and Pressburger's 1948 classic film, The Red Shoes. This new edition of the enduring tale is similar to the Romeo and Juliet story, except the scoundrel is the impresario of the Ballets Lermontov. Under the guidance of Boris Lermontov, the young artists blossom. Julian, a budding musician, composes a ballet for an aspiring ballerina, Vicky. The ballet is a tremendous success and becomes Vicky's signature piece. As the young artists achieve fame and recognition, they fall deeply in love and marry...against the wishes of their mentor. Subsequently driven from the company, they strive to balance devotion to their art with their personal relationship. The writing style is elegant and evocative of the artistic mindset and lifestyle, beautifully depicting the passion and commitment felt by artists."

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Literature: Short Stories

Black Heart, Ivory Bones edited by Datlow and Windling

Cutter, Leah. "The Red Boots." Black Heart, Ivory Bones. Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, eds. New York: Avon, 2000.
Amazon.com: Buy the book in paperback.


Rubly Slippers, Golden Tears

Wade, Susan. "Ruby Slippers." Ruby Slippers, Golden Tears. Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, eds. New York: Avon, 1996.
Amazon.com: Buy the book in hardcover or paperback.


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Transformations by Anne Sexton

Sexton, Anne. "The Red Shoes." The Complete Poems. New York: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1981.
Amazon.com: Buy the book in hardcover or paperback.

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I have listed primarily classical compositions of music using the themes of this fairy tale in either ballet, opera or some other musical style. I have also provided links to popular recordings of the music when available at Amazon.com. The advantage to these links is that you can listen to samples of the music at no charge.

The Red Shoes by Kate Bush

Song Title: The Red Shoes
Artist: Kate Bush
Genre: Pop/Rock Music
Label: Sony
Original Release Date: 2000 on The Red Shoes
Amazon.com: Buy the CD.
iTunes Store Button Download the song or the CD.

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To learn more about these films, please visit the
Internet Movie Database.

The Red Shoes

The Red Shoes

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None so far!

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©Heidi Anne Heiner, SurLaLune Fairy Tales
Page created 1/2006; Last updated 7/7/07