From the vantage point of "real life" (as dancers say), Collusion tells the story of a young girl's initiation into the disciplined, exalting world of classical ballet and into a secret love relationship with F., the ballet master whom she adored.
"Do you want to be a great dancer?" F. had asked her when she was twelve. She did. And so Collusion tells of how she gave up ordinary life—family, boyfriends, hamburgers, homework, and pop music—for a life dedicated to the promise of artistry. At the center of that new life was always the figure of F.—ironic, moody, demanding, quixotically generous or withholding—who could control her with a sarcastic comment or the flash of his cane across her thigh, but also with the lyrical beauty of his classes and the vision of herself in a perfect arabesque. F. was the first man to partner her, and the first to teach her that love can come in strange forms: in the airborne lifts of Les Sylphides, in brilliant pirouettes, and in measured violence.
Collusion describes the secret life of ballet. It is a life in which "normal" values are reversed. Brutality is seen as a gift, fear as devotion, sadism (rightly, in this case) as love. Free of conventional moral judgments, Collusion tells of possession and surrender, of power and submission, of the bond between a young girl and an older man.
In spare, emotionally resonant prose, award-winning poet and novelist Evan Zimroth unfolds a mesmerizing story of artistic ambition, power, and love in an unforgettable memoir of adolescence. Collusion portrays a real relationship, one that society dares not speak of, and it does so with admirable honesty and sensitivity.