Toni Bentley: Australian writer (1958-)
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Toni Bentley
Australian writer

Toni Bentley

Toni Bentley
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Australian writer
Is Writer Dancer Ballet dancer
From Australia
Field Dancing Literature
Gender female
Birth 1958, Perth, Australia
Age 65 years
The details (from wikipedia)


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

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. 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.


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. 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, Vogue, The New Republic, Bookforum, and CR Fashionbook. Her essay "The Bad Lion", originally published in The New York Review of Books, was selected for The Best American Essays (2010) by editor Christopher Hitchens.

She has given lectures at Harvard University, 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.

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. 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 directed by Spanish film director Sigfrid Monleón [es] adapted by Swiss-German actress Isabelle Stoffel [de] 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) 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)



The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 18 Jun 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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