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Books: Parent's Book of Ballet

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Guest unsoccer-mom

Previous posters have mentioned this book as an excellent resource for parents of new students, but one which was out-of-print. I just received a postcard that a new re-printing just has been released. This book, by Whitehill and Noble, is available at www.dancehorizons.com. The site also has numerous other dance related books and videos available.

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Thanks unsoccer-mom, I'm one of the people that mentioned this book...and it appears that it may have been updated, as well... It was a great book before, so I guess I'll have to check this one out to see how much has changed.


Thanks for the website. :)

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Guest grace

someone just loaned me this book for parents. it looks to be quite good - although the copy i am looking at is the first edition, and i can certainly see things which MIGHT be changed. i wonder what HAS been...anyone know? :)

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Guest Vicarmac

From what I remember from the earlier one the biggest changes since then are the amount of programs offered for summer here in the U.S. and there are more residential year round places too. And the general growth of people looking for good training for their kids. So the chapters about that will most likely be updated.

And probably the chapters about college and getting careers will be updated since things have changed and grown there too.

But the advice even though from the eighties is very good basic advice. And though I believe she said kids didn't need more than two weeks when younger it is probably true. But we Americans are always thinking more more more these days. In fact since Burklyn still only offers 2 weeks for 10-12 year olds That is most likely still her advice.

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I read "The Parents Book of Ballet" several years ago and found it very to be very helpful. It made me appreciate my daughter's school and her wonderful teachers even more than I allready did! Her teacher even borrowed the book to read. I want to pick up some more books for my summer reading. Since we'll be spending many hours in the car driving to SI and back I think while my husband drives I'll read.

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Guest grace

i had a look at this book last night. 'whitehill' is a ballet-mom - who had to find out answers to all these questions, and then realised she had the makings of a book. at the end, she says she is writing another one, about actually having a professional dance career, and the issues that come up then (i.e. the questions her daughter asks her to find the answers to). there are pics of her daughter, too : very long and pale and willowy - almost unbelievably so. it's easy to see why one of her directors told her to put on 5 lbs!


i found the book to have lots of good advice, to be very comprehensive, easy to read, and i'm sure it would be helpful to parents. it also seems to me to be both dated and a little dramatic...(and a little innacurate in places, because the writers clearly don't 'know' ballet, but that doesn't matter too much at this level.)

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and a little innacurate in places, because the writers clearly don't 'know' ballet, but that doesn't matter too much at this level.)


The author is not just your average uninformed "ballet mom!"

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Angela Whitehill was actually trained as a dancer at both the National Ballet School and in England. She danced professionally, started several ballet schools and has run Burklyn Ballet School each summer for the last 20 or so years. After she stopped dancing, she was also a wardrobe mistress to several ballet companies, one of them being Atlanta Ballet. She knows many notable dance professionals, several of whom come to Burklyn each summer to teach. Her husband is a professional writer and helped her compile her years of ballet experience into a book.


In addition, she has helped numerous young dancers secure their first professional contracts through her extensive network of friends in companies around the country.


Her daughter was a beautiful dancer. She is now a busy young mom, with a daughter of her own. Her son is the production manager for ABT and is married to a former professional dancer.


She has written the Young Dancer's Guide to Ballet that someone mentioned above and I think it is currently in print.


I can assure you, she is much, much more than just a ballet mom! Ms. Whitehill is quite extraordinary :).

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Guest grace

i find it quite odd - if i am 'reading' the tone of above posts accurately - that it seems as though some people think the term 'ballet-mom' has something derogatory about it?


i thought i was making a link between the author and all of you ballet-moms, here. YOU know how much you have to find out, to support your dancing offspring - so i thought you would value the fact that this person began just the same way.


i had skimmed through her biography, so was aware of her work - but not that she had trained as a dancer. given that, i can't explain at least one of the things i read in the book, about pirouette technique. but - as i said above - that's neither here nor there, in the context of giving advice to parents. :)

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Guest grace

thanks for the link, BW. from there, i found the title of her follow-on book:


The Young Professional’s Book of Ballet (Princeton Books 1990)

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Hi Grace,

I certainly don't consider the term "Ballet Mom" to be derogatory, as that's certainly what I am! :D


I think that those who have posted about Ms. Whitehill just wanted to clarify that in addition to being the parent of a dancer, Ms. Whitehill is a professionally trained dancer and has been involved professionally in ballet, in one way or another throughout her entire adult life. Both of her children have been "gainfully employed" in the professional ballet world as well. Her role as a ballet mom actually came along rather late, in relation to the many other ways she was involved with ballet up until that point.


I'm certainly not here to defend any discrepancies or innaccuracies in her book(s), but I do think that it is important to realize that she has much more personal experience and professional training than most parents of ballet students. Being a ballet mom is great, but her credentials are far more extensive than that. The combination of being a parent of a dancer, a professionally trained dancer, the owner/director of ballet schools and summer programs, working in other areas within ballet besides dancing (costuming), having another child working within the ballet world (production manager), etc. gives her a much wider perspective than most ballet moms.


No slur was intended against ballet moms - just wanted to note that she would probably better be classified as a "Master" ballet mom!:cool:

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I also love being a ballet mom and did not find any of the posts in any way demeaning. My post was to just draw attention to the fact the author was really much more than just a ballet mom, especially since there was a refererence to inaccuracies due to her "lack of experience or first hand knowledge" or something to that effect.


To me, the term ballet-mom especially describes the moms who (like me) may have little knowledge of ballet personally, rather we know it and learn it vicariously, through the lives of our dancing chiildren!! I am not a balllet dancer or teacher or critic or administrator--but proudly I am a "ballet mom!!"

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