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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Books for Boys


annawritedraw

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Hello:

I am new to Ballet talk and so glad to find such a supportive and honest group. I have two boys currently enrolled in ballet. I am also an author/illustrator of children's articles and books. After exploring bookstores and libraries and coming up empty handed, I am in the midst of writing a proposal for the book Ballet for Boys. I have a general outline from my initial research and experiences but I'm very interested in what this community (parents and sons) would like to see in such a book. Please understand that I have no publisher and all the work for the proposal I am doing is on speculation. Feel free to contact me off board if you prefer.

Thank you,

Anna

 

www.annajboll.com

www.annajboll.blogspot.com

www.cafepress.com/shopanna

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Welcome to the boards, Anna!

 

Thanks for taking the initial leap and attempting to write your book! :D

 

What age group would your target audience be? My reponses would vary depending on the age you are trying to reach.

 

Thanks!

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Anna, you are most welcome to partake of the information contained on the boards here at Ballet Talk for Dancers, but we really discourage authors and students from doing direct one-on-one research for projects and the like, unless, of course, the respondents initiate the contact. That said, there are years of materials here, all still available for reading and research "on deep background". And of course, you are always welcome to ask about the schooling of boys who dance. That's what this forum is here for. Sometimes, you can even head off problems before they happen!

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I searched high and low for books to inspire my protégé. I did come across a few texts, but many of them are quite old.

 

The best text I found was a disappointingly slim volume which I found through RG Dance, which is called "Think like a Champion, Dance like a Star". My protégé is 9, and while quite literate, was best pleased with good illustrations or photos (the Champion book is full of brilliant photography). Even his younger brother (5) got all excited at some of the pictures (especially a young pair in superhero costumes).

 

After going through quite a few titles, and assuming you're attempting to inspire the younger age groups, my recommendations would be the following:

 

• A factual reference book rather than a work of fiction

• A text that, like the video "Born to be Wild", follows more than one individual (perhaps even cases from different countries)

• An exploration of the different types of schools (RAD, Vaganova etc).

• A larger format book (i.e. not some pokey paperback)

• Photographic illustrations instead of drawn, and the whole book is pictorially driven rather than text driven (i.e. pictures dominate each page).

• The whole book should be in colour

• Clear text that can be understood by younger children but that can also be appreciated by older children

• Is celebratory

• Contains case histories of famous dancers, concentrating on their origins

• Has a section devoted to deconstructing stereotypes

• Has a section demonstrating where young dancers can make it 'big' while still being young (e.g. "Nutcracker" performances, etc)

• Has a section demonstrating the benefits and effects on life outside dance (e.g. where it has improved sporting pursuits, self esteem, etc), perhaps through interviews with paediatricians, sport coaches, parents, etc.

 

There.

 

Piece of cake! :-)

 

 

Cheers,

 

 

David

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My son really liked the book by Jill Krementz, "A Very Young Dancer". If you could take that book and exchange the girl for a boy, I think it would be successful. There is a book that is sort of like it, told from the perspective of an older boy who comes to NYC from Russia to dance at the SAB entitled, "Dancing to America". You might have a look at both books (if you haven't already) and see if they give you any ideas.

 

DaveS has given you a fabulous list of ideas as well!

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Thank you so much for your replies. Mel, point taken. Thank you for explaining that I can use past posts for research. I am especially interested in the dance belt thread. DaveS you and I are in the same frame of mind. My current outline contains many of these ideas. Thanks again.

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  • 1 year later...

I know it has been quite some time since the last post to this discussion, but I was interested in what became of plans to create a book to suit young dancers.

 

My protégé is now eleven, and was recently described by one of his teachers as being as ubiquitous around the dance studio as a piece of furniture (doubtless meant in the nicest possible way). Encouragement seems to be very low on the priority list with him now.

 

However, he has described a few of the boys who have joined the dance school, and there is clearly still a need for *something*.

 

I believe too that a book structured the right way would help deconstruct some of the stereotypical myths that prevale in the minds of some kids (placed there for the most part by their parents) when it comes to boys and dance, helping to further destabilise the platform that some bullies (male and female) cast their stones from.

 

 

David

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I know it has been quite some time since the last post to this discussion, but I was interested in what became of plans to create a book to suit young dancers.

 

My protégé is now eleven, and was recently described by one of his teachers as being as ubiquitous around the dance studio as a piece of furniture (doubtless meant in the nicest possible way). Encouragement seems to be very low on the priority list with him now.

 

However, he has described a few of the boys who have joined the dance school, and there is clearly still a need for *something*.

 

I believe too that a book structured the right way would help deconstruct some of the stereotypical myths that prevale in the minds of some kids (placed there for the most part by their parents) when it comes to boys and dance, helping to further destabilise the platform that some bullies (male and female) cast their stones from.

 

 

David

 

Hi David:

So glad to hear from you. The American children's book industry is about the slowest moving entity on the planet. I have been shopping my proposal for the book to editors and agents with rejections and a few glimmers of hope. In the mean time, I am researching and writing the first two chapters and trying to identify boys and men who would like to be interviewed for the book. I will be doing phone, email or in person interviews throughout the summer and would be happy to hear from danseurs who are interested in being interviewed. They can contact me at ajboll at suscom dash maine dot net (the at, dash, and dot are symbols.) Thanks for the inquiry.

Anna

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