Toni Bentley

Toni Bentley (born 1958)[1] is an Australian-American dancer and writer. Bentley was born in Perth, Australia.

Toni Bentley
Born1958 (age 6061)
Perth, Australia
Notable awardsGuggenheim Fellowship

Family and early life

Bentley's father, P. J. Bentley, is an Australian biologist and endocrinologist. Her brother, Dr. David Bentley, is a molecular biologist at the University of Colorado Denver.[2] She took her first ballet class at age four in Bristol, England, and entered the School of American Ballet, the official school of New York City Ballet, at age ten. At age seventeen she joined George Balanchine's New York City Ballet where she performed for ten years under his tutelage. She retired from the stage at age 26 owing to a hip injury.[3]


Bentley has written five books. Winter Season, A Dancer's Journal, was published when she was 22 years old by Random House. It is a diary of her life as a corps-de-ballet dancer in the New York City Ballet. It was called "a mini-marvel" by Robert Craft in The New York Review of Books.[4] Her other books include Holding On to the Air: the Autobiography of Suzanne Farrell (co-authored with Farrell, Simon & Schuster, 1990); Costumes by Karinska (Harry N. Abrams, 1995) about Russian costumer designer Barbara Karinska; Sisters of Salome (Yale University Press, 2002), a cultural history of the femme fatale and origins of modern striptease; and The Surrender, An Erotic Memoir (ReganBooks/HarperCollins, 2004). All of her books have been named as Notable Books of the Year by The New York Times. She has written essays and reviews for The New York Times Book Review,[5][6][7] Vogue,[8] The New Republic,[9] Bookforum,[10][11] and CR Fashionbook.[12][13] Her essay "The Bad Lion", originally published in The New York Review of Books,[14] was selected for The Best American Essays (2010) by editor Christopher Hitchens.

She has given lectures at Harvard University,[15] the Oscar Wilde Society, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University, the University of North Florida, the Philoctetes Society, and at THiNK 2013. In 2008 she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship.[16]

The Surrender

Harper Collins published Bentley's book The Surrender (2004), a memoir of her experiences with heterosexual sodomy and a celebration of female sexual submission. At the time the book caused Bentley considerable notoriety given her perceived status as part of cultured society and the taboo nature of the subject matter.[17][18] The subject has since received considerable mainstream attention because of the worldwide profile gained by Fifty Shades of Grey. The book has been translated into eighteen languages. A one-woman play adaptation of The Surrender, La Rendición[19] directed by Spanish film director Sigfrid Monleón adapted by Swiss-German actress Isabelle Stoffel had its premiere in Spanish in Madrid at the Microteatro Por Dinero in January 2012. Stoffel starred in the production. It was subsequently produced by the Spanish National Theatre (Centro Dramático Nacional)[20] in January 2013 at the Teatro María Guerrero in Madrid. The play had its English-language world premiere at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August 2013, and had its American premiere at the Clurman Theatre in New York City in January 2014. It has also been performed in Buenos Aires, Barcelona, Valencia, and in a German-language version, Die Hingabe in Kiel, Germany, and Bern, Switzerland.

Selected works


  • Winter Season, A Dancer's Journal (Random House, 1982)
  • Holding On to the Air (Simon & Schuster, 1990)
  • Costumes by Karinska (Harry N. Abrams, 1995)
  • Sisters of Salome (Yale University Press, 2002)
  • The Surrender, An Erotic Memoir (Ecco/HarperCollins, 2004)


  • Remembering Lincoln (editor Nancy Reynolds, The Ballet Society, 2007)
  • Reading Dance (editor Robert Gottlieb, Pantheon Books, 2008)
  • Dirty Words, A Literary Encyclopedia of Sex (editor Ellen Sussman, Bloomsbury, 2008)
  • Best American Essays 2010 (editor Christopher Hitchens, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010)
  • New York Diaries 1609–2009 (editor Teresa Carpenter, Modern Library, 2012)




  1. Scot Peacock (2003). Contemporary Authors New Revision Series: A Bio-Bibliographical Guide to Current Writers in Fiction, General Nonfiction, Poetry, Journalism, Drama, Motion Pictures, Television, and Other Field. 116. Gale Group. p. 29. ISBN 9780787691295. OCLC 643558210.
  2. David Bentley, PhD – Professor, profile at University of Colorado School of Medicine
  3. Bentley, Toni (23 April 2010). "A Ballerina, Inside Out". The New York Review of Books. Retrieved 11 March 2017.
  4. Craft, Robert (12 August 1982). "Keeping Up with Mr. B". The New York Review of Books. Retrieved 11 March 2017.
  5. Bentley, Toni (23 January 2009). "Book Review – Ballet's Magic Kingdom: Selected Writings on Dance in Russia, 1911–1925, by Akim Volynsky". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 March 2017.
  6. "Up Front: Toni Bentley". The New York Times. 22 January 2009. Retrieved 11 March 2017.
  7. "Shutters and Shudders". 27 February 2006. Retrieved 11 March 2017.
  8. "Bookforum – Summer 2006". Retrieved 11 March 2017.
  9. "The girl can't help it". Retrieved 11 March 2017.
  10. Bentley, Toni (10 March 2005). "The Master". The New York Review of Books. Retrieved 11 March 2017.
  11. Bentley, Toni. "Boxers and Ballerinas". Retrieved 11 March 2017.
  12. Bentley, Toni (5 November 2009). "The Bad Lion". The New York Review of Books. Retrieved 11 March 2017.
  13. Siegel, Marcia B. "Dance – Ten to a hundred". Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 11 March 2017.
  15. Mcgrath, Charles (15 October 2004). "Once Forbidden, Now Championed". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 March 2017.
  16. "The Ballerina Who Bent". Observer. 4 October 2004. Retrieved 11 March 2017.
  17. "The Surrender – Oficial site". Retrieved 11 March 2017.
  18. "La rendición. Centro Dramático Nacional". Retrieved 11 March 2017.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.