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Books: On becoming a ballerina?

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I've been very interested in ballet since I was very very little. I danced before I walked ( well, so my mother todl me ). And I was wondering, has anyone read any good ballet books that has tip, companies, etc. for a young dancer whose interested in becoming prima? If so, could you please give me the title, and where you purchased it?


Please and thank you!


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Demi- are you looking for a technique manual, or more of a practical advice book?


There are 2 I can think of:

'The Ballet Companion' by Eliza Gaynor Minden

'Classical Ballet Technique' by Gretchen Ward Warren


Perhaps these are what you are looking for. You should be able to find both on Amazon, and you can get there by clicking the link at the top of this page!

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Really just any books that help me along the way with ballet. I would like to find a mix of the two though.


Th books you suggested ae perfect! I'll ask my mother if I can order them. Thank you very much for your suggestions!


*Edited to remove quote of entire previous post

Edited by Clara 76
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Also, you can reply to posts without completely quoting the previous post by scrolling all the way down to the bottom of the page and clicking on Add Reply where it says FAST REPLY, ADD REPLY, AND NEW TOPIC. This saves on bandwidth and allows us to serve you better!

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I also reccommend "The Ballet Companion" by Eliza Gaynor Minden, it goes through many topics how to pick a dance school, the major different methods of ballet technique (ie. RAD, Checchetti etc), as well as positions and warm ups and really cool sections on the history of dance and ballet.


I also love "the Ballet Book: Learning and Appreciating the Secrets of Dance" by the American Ballet Theatre, it is worth it just for the pictures alone, so amazing!


Happy reading!

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I just recently got the "The Ballet Book; The Young Performer's Guide to Classical Dace" I really like.


But, are these a series of books? I was wondering since you had a different "Ballet Book" or are they just teo different books with the same title?


And I plan on ordering "The Ballet Companion". Thank you!

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No I dont think this is a series of books, they just happen to have part of the same title. The one you already have is made by a different ballet company than the book that I reccomended is, so they are two different books entirely.

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My dd loves the Ballet Companion. It is well written and illustrated.


So far the books named have been references, but you might also try reading dancers biographies or autobiographies. My favorites are Margot Fonteyn by Meredith Daneman. I actually found a copy of the book onsale at Barnes & Nobles for $6.99 a while back, check those clearance tables. It is a nice fat summer read and includes quite a bit of WWII history from a dancer's perspective. Then there is Suzanne Farrell's book Holding on to the Air and when you finish that a nice treat is to watch the film about her: Suzanne Farrell: Elusive Muse. Someone on another thread mentioned Olympia Dowd's book A Young Dancer's Apprenticeship about going on tour with the Moscow City Ballet when she was 14. The book is shorter but there is insight for a dancer in there.


Right now I'm working through Irina, the life of Irina Baronova, one of the 'Baby Ballerinas' with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and Ms. Baronova is an entertaining writer. You actually may be able to check a lot of these from your library and check for ballet films too. I've seen a lot of Balanchine works, like the beautiful Chaconne, on films. It seems each book or video leads me to researching another aspect of ballet and dance and I've been doing this for YEARS now with no end in sight. Happy reading!

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I have a book called "Dancing through Fire" by Kathryn Lasky. It's about a little girl named Sylvie who is training at the Paris Opera ballet, but her life is turned upside down because of war. However, she remains determined throughout the war to continue her dance education. The book does contain some historical accuracy, and it correctly depicts the lives of the "petit rats" (or the lowest level in the POB). It's very good, and it's a children's book. :)

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I have a book called "Dancing through Fire" by Kathryn Lasky.



I love that book. Read it last year - and I'm a 26 yr old. So it can't too much of a childrens book. I think its a ballet lovers book.


I have also recently read Mao's Last Dancer - Li Cunxin. About a peasant boy raised in communist China who defects to the west. It was BRILLIANT I couldnt put it down.


Another good one is Ballet, Life and Love by Irina Baranova. (one of the original ballet russe)


I like to read their autobiographies because I believe it is the best insight of what its like to dance ballet professionally.

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  • 1 month later...

This is going to sound terribly silly, perhaps - But does anyone have a copy of Ballet Company by Kate Castle from 1985. I remember a few books I constantly checked out at the library when I was young. I think this was one of them - but can't truly remember!

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Dear appleblossom,


Thank you for the recommendations. I've read "Dancing Through Fire" and "Mao's Last Dancer". I agree with your descriptions on the books. Now I need to go to Borders and search for Baranova's book. Is it still available (copyright hasn't expired)?

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Ballet Company by Kate Castle from 1985

This and many other great oldies can be found at www.alibris.com. I've gotten all kinds of books that I remember from the library there.

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Ballet Company by Kate Castle from 1985

This and many other great oldies can be found at www.alibris.com. I've gotten all kinds of books that I remember from the library there.


Thanks - and for the cheap price - it won't hurt if it's the wrong book!

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