At twenty-two years old, Cece Cordell reaches the pinnacle of her career as a ballet dancer when she's promoted to principal at the New York City Ballet. She's instantly catapulted into celebrity, heralded for her "inspirational" role as the first Black ballerina in the company's history. Soon after she celebrates the achievement of a lifelong dream, Cece is faced with a choice that has the potential to derail her career and shatter the life she's cultivated for herself.
Dances is especially immersive and visceral, thanks to the raw first-person narration and a muscular prose style ... Happily, Cuffy also injects moments of dry humor. These are welcome interruptions in a story more about mood than plot.
Cuffy’s novel transcends familiar narratives about the fraught journey toward artistic distinction by exploring the toll of reaching the end of such a journey ... Cuffy skillfully places readers within the dancer’s body ... Through longer passages about dance that may overwhelm the layperson, Cuffy effectively externalizes the inner disfigurement of a woman unable to receive genuine affection, least of all from herself.