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Recommended "dry" reading?

Guest dragonfly7

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Guest dragonfly7

You can move this post if it is appropriate for another board, but do you recommend any ONE book as "dry reading" to a beggining adult ballet student? I've been dancing 8 mos now, and would like to do some additional reading, but as I scour the bookstores, amazon, the web, and dance catalogs there are just so many. Would appreciate you wisdom...

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Gretchen Ward Warren's "Classical Ballet Technique". Except it's more looking at pictures than reading, and it's not dry in my opinion. :)

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When I was first dancing, I would have liked to have the Joffrey Ballet's 'Ballet Fit'. It tells you most things you need to know, (not just steps, but what to wear, some stretches and strengthening exercises, starting pointe and so on) and the photographs are lovely.

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Something that has been giving me pleasure since I was twelve years old is The Classic Ballet with introductory essay by Lincoln Kirstein, perfect, if anatomically impossible illustrations by Carlus Dyer and technical explanation and direction by Muriel Stuart. Miss Stuart was one of my teachers and I can practically hear her giving corrections through the book.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest sissonne

I have all of the above except Ballet Fit , though one of my instructors at Houston Ballet highly recommends it to her adult students.


Love Gretchen Ward Warren's book. I think it should be a must in every dancer's collection.


Mel, I to have The Classic Ballet. It must be wonderful to have such a personal attachment to it as to have taken class from Miss Stuart. As for

perfect, if anatomically impossible illustrations
I couldn't agree more!!
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Hi DragonFly


I find any biographies or autobiographies of dancers and choreographers to be extremely eye opening reads. They don't have to be brand new books, second hand or from the library will do just fine,. But since reading a few of them I realise how many misconceptions I had of ballet dancers, even though I have been dancing since I was 5., and in a way it gives you a lot of inspiration to see how they have overcome certain obstacles and a lot of them contain great tips on certain exercise or ways to improve your attitude (not the position!) about classes and to get the most of out your classes, even if you aren't training to be a professional balletdancer they are very interesting reading, and good for the beginner to the advanced student.

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Actually found some biographies in the library :)


I have a technique book in Dutch with drawings by Toer van Schaijk, choreographer for the Dutch National Ballet, it has about every step and pose in it and drawings come with the basic steps...

Like it will explain temps leve saute in text and than have a series of drawings showing it and than describe the related jumps in text (soubresaut, temps leve saute battu, temps leve glisses etc..)..

It's quite nice, and it has an index in the back so you can actually find what you're looking for...


Not much use to most of you, but I think it's a good book :D


For any Dutchies whom might pop up: Klassieke Ballettechniek, de techniek en de terminologie van het akademisch ballet by Rene Vincent, illustrated by Toer van Schaijk

(for non-Dutchies: that's just the title of the book ;) )


Oh, and it also explains as much as possible where the name of the step came from...

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest Basilo

One book that I have found to be very enlightening (because of the unique analysis of placement and alignment) is:


Both Sides of the Mirror: The Science and Art of Ballet


by Anna Paskevska  

It starts from the center of the body and works outward with detailed descriptions of technique that I enjoy because of their scientific nature.

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grace, I thought it referred to reading done for education and/or technical reading, as opposed to "just for fun" and/or novels and such. But the "dry" is in quotes, I suppose, for the reason that most of us don't find such reading dry at all. :)

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I have all 3 books mentioned,


Gretchen Warren Ward

Joffrey's Ballet Fit

Classic Ballet Technique



I like all of them, especially Gretchen Ward's book, which is really indispensable.


I also recommend the small and inexpensive Vaganova paperback book, which I paid $2.00 for in college in 1975 (!)

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Guest sissonne

Also Inside Ballet Technique: Separating anatomical fact from fiction in the ballet class by Valerie Grieg is good. Basilo, probably along the same lines of your Both Sides of the Mirror: The Science and Art of Ballet, which I'd like to read as well.

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