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Join us Thursday mornings at 8:20 for Minnesota Reads on Northland Morning, featuring Minnesota authors talking about their work. Funding provided in part by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund

MN Reads: "Grace & Grit: A History of Ballet in Minnesota" by Georgia Finnegan

Cover of "Grace & Grit: A History of Ballet in Minnesota" by Georgia Finnegan; text in swirling font, black and white image of a silhouetted dancer on one toe and twirling amidst sheer fabric
Erik Saulitis (photographer)/Gary Lindberg (design)

Movement has been a big part of Georgia Finnegan's life since early-childhood, but ballet didn't arrive until later. "I always wanted to dance," says Finnegan. A request to take ballet classes was denied by her parent, but at the age of eighteen she ventured off to college and began her dance education. "The fervor for ballet has never left... I still teach ballet once a week."

Now, Finnegan has encapsulated the history of the art of ballet as it pertains to the state of Minnesota. Though ballet and Minnesota are not necessarily synonymous, Finnegan's quest to discover the local history of the artform reveals more than might be initially assumed. "When you explore and research, there is so much of ballet that is here," says Finnegan. "When someone is passionate about ballet, no matter where they end up living, they bring that passion with them."

The structure of Grace & Grit leans on a thematic tool that goes beyond literature. Readers will find, not chapters, but scenes. The framework of the ballet Sleeping Beauty created a throughline for Finnegan as she gathered information and tracked the growth and changes of the artform in the state.

The book is available for purchase online through Amazon and the University of Minnesota Press. Finnegan has also offered a more personal touch for those interested in the book. "If anyone is in the Twin Cities, they can always call me or email me," says Finnegan. "They can meet us at the Afton Press office. I can take them out for coffee, talk about the book, and they can buy the book directly here." To connect with Georgia, send a request email to The North.

Minnesota Reads is produced at The North 103.3 with funding provided in part by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

Luke Moravec is the host for Northland Morning on The North 103.3. He’s also a local actor, musician and writer. He loves puzzles, riddles and fun mysteries.
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