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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Books: Ballet books for Adults & Almost Adults?

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Guest BattementCloche

There are many books in the 'Shoe' series by Noel Streatfield: Ballet Shoes, Theater Shoes, Skating Shoes, Family Shoes, New Shoes, Tennis Shoes, Traveling Shoes, Theater Shoes, Hollywood Shoes, and Dancing Shoes.


On Stage Please is a good fictional ballet book by Veronica Tennant (principal with the National Ballet of Canada), about a ten-year-old girl named Jennifer who longs to go to 'the Professional Ballet School' in Toronto.


Ballet Shoes for Anna is another good ballet book, about three siblings- Anna and her two brothers- who are orphaned in a large earthquake and go to live with their uncle in the U.S. Anna's brothers work together to raise enough money to pay for a pair of ballet shoes so Anna can continue her dream of becoming a professional dancer.


There are many, MANY collections of short ballet stories out there...nearly every large publisher has one. Random House publishers has a collection called Dance Stories, and Kingfisher Publishing has one called Ballet Stories(Kingfisher's is more geared towards 6-10 year-olds, however). I have an old book (It was my grandmother's when she was little) called To Dance, To Dream; it's all short stories about famous dancers from Maria Taglioni to Isadora Duncan (and two male dancers as well). They're well written, and I would recommend it very much, but I'm almost positive it's out of print.


If I find any more, I'll let you know :D


~*~Battement Cloche~*~

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It's nice to read about so many books I hadn't previously heard of. It would be helpful if people could also post the general age category for these novels. Are they young adult fiction? Children's fiction? Adult fiction?


Thank you :D

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Guest Firebird3000

Also by Noel Streatfeild is Dancing Shoes and Party Shoes. They both have ballet in them but its not totally focused on it.

In Dancing Shoes, there are 2 orphaned sisters who go to live with their Aunt who runs a dance school. But the younger sister has been told she has the potential to become a ballerina but she only wnats to dance in the troupes at the school. And the older sister tries to stop her. It's a really good book.

In Party Shoes, a girl in post WWII is sent a party frock and shoes from her aunt in United States. But there is no place to wear it! So her and her cousins decide to put on a pageant to showcase her frock. I've just finished reading it and it was wonderful!

I've heard that Theater Shoes is the sequel to Ballet Shoes. It follows 3 new orphans that are sent to a theater school by the 3 girls in ballet shoes but I could be wrong!

Alex :)

P.S these books are children fiction but my mom enjoyed them too so anyone would like them.

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Guest Firebird3000

I just did a search on Amazon and found that there are other books in the 'Shoes' series. They are:

Circus Shoes

Movie Shoes

Family Shoes

Skating Shoes

Just thought I would tell.

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Theatre shoes is not a real sequel to ballet shoes, but it's true that the three Fossils girls heroins of Ballet Shoes are mentionned in it ;

you have to be careful with noel Streitfield, because some of her books have been published under two differents titles ; for instance 'circus shoes' is also 'the circus is coming ' 'skating shoes' is 'white boots' , 'movie shoes' the painted garden and 'theatre shoes is 'stage curtain'(or something with stage' ; also by noel streatfiled, if you like this author : "A vicarage family' (her autobiography) , thursday's child, tennis shoes and ballet for Anna

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Yes, Minty is right about the different titles for Streatfeild novels. I have been looking for Skating Shoes AKA White Boots for my daughter, but it is out of print in North America, and apparentally rare, as it is very expensive on Amazon. I found I can order it from Amazon UK, as it is still in print there.

My daughter recently read On Stage, Please, and I think it gives a realistic idea of what life is like for a 10 year old attending ballet boarding school.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Renowned mystery writer Phyllis Whitney, who is now 100 years old and writing her autobiography, also trained in dance, and uses dance themes for many of her novels. My favorite is "The Singing Stones," which you should be able to check out of the library, although I have also bought her books at library sales.


I'm currently reading "The Ebony Swan" by Whitney which also has an elderly retired dancer as a lead character. But the one above remains a favorite for me.


One writer who penned a number of wonderful ballet theme books for young adults was Regina J. Woody, and I can find almost nothing on her works these days. Every so often I might see her name pop up on e-bay, but I can't believe those books have nearly disappeared from the face of the earth and haven't been resurrected somehow. One of them was "Ballet in the Barn." She also wrote short stories (ballet themes) that were published in "American Girl" magazine in the 1960s -- that magazine was the official publication of the Girl Scouts.


For children, as well as for adults who are fans of excellent children's literature, I would recommend Elizabeth Enright's books about the four Melendy children, one of whom aspires to be a dancer (one is a musician, one a radio actress, and the youngest hasn't made up his mind at the tender age of 6). Enright, who also illustrated her books, is one of a number of fine writers of literature who hailed from my home state of Wisconsin (along with the likes of Laura Ingalls Wilder and Maureen Daly). She was the niece of Frank Lloyd Wright.

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:ermm: Let me add my voice to Funny Face: the Melendy books are superb (as is anything by Enright, really). I think it's in And Then There Were Five that Randy finally gets her toe shoes. They've all just been reissued in gorgeous hard back editions.


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Thanks for that thrilling information! I do, however, happen to have a couple of the original editions from library sales, one of which has color illustrations that are worth framing. But I will definitely check out the newly released editions. We have a fantastic independent children's bookstore in my city which will bend over backwards for such requests.


BTW, I was also thrilled to learn several years ago (my mom had never told me this) that I am related, albeit distantly, to Laura Ingalls Wilder on her side of the family (although none of her characters to the best of my knowledge were dancers).


Also, all you other Streatfeild fans, please advise if and when you ever hear of more of her books being re-released.


I'm editing this post to reflect that I did go to Amazon.com and sure enough, my very favorite of the lot, "The Saturdays," is reprinted in hard cover. Do yourselves a favor and go to that website and read all the glowing reviews from parents who were so thrilled to find this book one way or another and to share it with their children in this generation. You will love their heartelt comments. A childhood is not complete, no matter what your present age, until you read 'The Saturdays." (I used to wish I had a "Cuffy" in my life -- maybe years and years from now, I can be "Cuffy" to some other children.)

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This is, at best, a tangential connection BUT: for those of you who haven't read it in years, Elenor Estes' The 100 Dresses has a cameo by a young ballet dancer, dressed all in orangey-red doing an "autumn" dance; very brief, but the illustration that goes with it is I think the first thing that made me want to be a dancer.


Plus it's a great book.

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There is a fictional ballet novel entitled "Ballerina". The author is Edward Stewart. It has the "behind the scenes" feel to it. It follows 2 aspiring ballerina's through their training on into the professional dance world. The "company" in the book seems as though it was made to parallel NYCB. It is about 500 pages long and a quick read. Definately a young adult/adult book.

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thank you everybody ; I found the Enright books on Amazon, and discovered that I had actually read the Saturdays when I was a child (in French, of course)

I ordered the others, though ; I 'll try Edward Stewart now (my collection is getting bigger and bigger , about 150 books....)

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One book I enjoyed was White Swan, Black Swan which has short stories about ballerinas trying to make it. There's also a vignette about Balanchine and Farrell. I don't remember who the author of the book was, but I couldn't put this book down.


Hope that helps.

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