Renee D’Aoust: From the stage to the page


Renee D’Aoust’ will visit Wilkes campus this week to read from and sign copies of her memoir “Body of a Dancer.”

Jake Cochran, Assistant A&E Editor

Taking to the written word with the same passion with which she danced at the Martha Graham Center in New York City, Renee D’Aoust revisits her youth with her book “Body of a Dancer.”


Whenever Renee D’Aoust would check her mailbox and find a letter from a publishing company with a long-winded, generic half-apology saying that her work wasn’t what the company was looking for, she would breathe a sigh of relief.

“You’re by yourself and you aren’t turning red in front of everyone, you aren’t being told ‘Number 99, you can leave now,’” she said, comparing the letters to the open auditions she experienced during her years as a modern dancer.

During that time, D’Aoust attended the prestigious Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance in New York City. And though D’Aoust still has a passion for a dance, she has long since found a new love: Writing.

Since turning her attentions more toward the written word, D’Aoust has penned a book, “Body of a Dancer,” published just last year by Etruscan Press, a publishing house located on-campus and founded by Wilkes University Creative Writing program faculty members Philip Brady and Robert Mooney.

On Sunday, Sept. 30, D’Aoust will visit Wilkes for book signing, reading and Q&A session, at 7 p.m. in the Kirby Hall salon.

“Body of a Dancer,” which was a finalist for ForeWord’s 2011 Book of the Year Award, is a memoir of her time as an up-and-coming pre-professional dancer and all the challenges and changes that she experienced in that time.

In it, she tells of how her time dancing ultimately taught her that “every second from the moment you walk through the door to the final judgment, you are making an impression.”

For full coverage of D’Aoust’s upcoming campus visit, as well as an extended interview with D’Aoust, be sure to pick up next week’s edition of The Beacon.