Traditionally for many, the beginning of a new year marks the moment to make resolutions and set new goals; they are often related to self-care, professional ambitions, and personal relationships.
Thus we’ve compiled a list of ballet books that – albeit indirectly – may contribute to an objective you (or in some cases, a young one in your life) have your heart and mind set on to accomplish in the next twelve months. Plus, reading in itself is an action that helps us grow in many different ways. As NBC campaigns: The More You Know.
This is a diverse nonexhaustive collection of ballet books in terms of target audience, topic, and genre so chances are you will find something that is a good fit.
And if you have any recommendations, please drop us a note in the comments below and we’ll consider adding it to the list!
BALLET BOOKS LIST
Apollo’s Angels: A History of Ballet
by Jennifer Homans
Homan’s background as a former professional ballerina, dance critic, and historian of modern Europe provides the ingredients to make for a thorough and insightful chronicle of ballet. She takes the reader on a journey of ballet’s origins, to its geographical expansion, and to its evolution when it finally reached the United States.
B Is for Ballet: A Dance Alphabet
by John Robert Allman
Created in partnership with American Ballet Theatre, Allman creates for readers young and older an educational, alphabetical exploration of some of the most significant words in the ballet vernacular. Rachael Dean’s illustrations add vibrant color to the experience.
Ballet: The Definitive Illustrated Story
by DK with forward by Viviana Durante
A Body of Work: Dancing to the Edge and Back
by David Hallberg
This autobiographical memoir of the current Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet was written while Hallberg was still a principal with American Ballet Theatre. He tells about the physical, emotional, and mental aspects of his artistic career and provides intimate insight into the life of an elite ballet dancer.
by John Robert Allman
by Misty Copeland
Dancers Among Us: A Celebration of Joy in the Everyday
by Jordan Matter
Final Bow for Yellowface: Dancing between Intention and Impact
by Phil Chan
Over the past several years, there has been more public awareness and acceptance about the fact that cultural stereotypes are often portrayed in many of our beloved classical ballets. Chan has been at the forefront of advocacy for the Asian community in particular in this ongoing global conversation.
Mao’s Last Dancer
by Li Cunxin
The current Queensland Ballet Artistic Director’s inspiring autobiographical story from peasant to ballet star has also been made into a film. Li Cunxin’s talent was spotted during his youth at which time he was taken from his small Chinese village to bustling Beijing before arriving in the United States – a journey that would take him to levels he never imagined.
by New York City Ballet
The Painted Girls
by Cathy Marie Buchanan
Buchanan’s book although categorized as a novel contains elements of historical fiction about the period of time when Edgar Degas sculpted one of his most (in)famous works, Little Dancer Aged Fourteen. As essayed in this CNN article, there exists a sordid side to the history of the beautiful art of ballet.
Rudolf Nureyev: The Life
by Julie Kavanagh
Kavanagh’s biography detailing the professional and personal escapades of one of classical ballet’s most iconic and dynamic figures is considered one of the most definitive by literary critics. Rudolf Nureyev’s story which was recently told in cinematographic form in The White Crow is based on this particular writing.
Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina
by Michaela DePrince and Elaine DePrince
Technical Manual and Dictionary of Classical Ballet
by Gail Grant
Tiny Pretty Things
by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton
Welcome to Ballet School
by Ashley Bouder
This debut book by Bouder, a New York City Ballet principal dancer, is an interactive read that encourages young ones to first learn some basic ballet lessons and then develop their interpretations of characters from The Sleeping Beauty. The illustrations by Julia Bereciartu exemplify the importance of diversity.
*book added after initial publication of this article
Featured Photo for Ballet Books for Your Reading List by The Ballet Herald
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