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Recommend a Ballet Bio?


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My DD #1 is 13 and must read a non fiction book of her choice ever quarter in Language Arts class. I am looking for recommendations of good ballet biographies or auto biographies that are appropriate for this age. Any suggestions?

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Theatre Street (Tamara Karsavina), Anna Pavlova, Margot Fonteyn, Maya Plisetskaya, Galina Ulanova, The Ballerinas (stories of the Romantic Era Ballerinas). I would suggest the library for these books, or second hand book stores. Most are out of print, but they still exist out there and they are all wonderful. There are many, many more, but these would be my suggestions for starters. :D

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"Holding On to the Air" by Suzanne Farrell (and Toni Bentley) might be a good choice. My DD, who is not always an engaged reader, devoured it last winter for her independent read for school and she was at the tail end of her 13th year.

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In addition to the ones Ms. Leigh recommended (I really love Theatre Street) there is also "Choura", Alexandra Danilova's autobiography. It is a very interesting book that covers a lot of exciting time periods in ballet, from the end of the Russian Imperial Ballet to the Ballet Russe with Diaghilev, Chanel, Picasso, Balanchine, etc., to teaching SAB students in the 1970s, with a bit of technical advice that every ballet dancer today ought to memorise and live by.

 

When she is a little older, "Undimmed Lustre" is another really excellent ballet biography that is essential for every ballet dancer's library.

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May I move this topic to Ballet Books?

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Might she be interested in the book "Mao's Last Dancer"? You could then follow it up with a visit to see the film. I thought the book was amazing, not just for the ballet, but also for the historical perspective of China at that time. As soon as the film is released here (UK) I shall go to see it.

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A young Dancer's Apprenticeship - a 14 year old girl from Vancouver, Canada who is invited to join the Moscow Ballet for a year and goes on tour with them. Its not very long, but its wonderful.

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Doubleturn, I had thought of Mao's Last Dancer as well. I have read it and it would not be unsuitable. It is a very large book! I don't know that she has read something that thick other than Harry Potter or Twilight. I was going to encourage her to read that one over the winter holidays when she would have more down time.

 

Thank you all for these great suggestions.

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My DD read Mao's Last Dancer at that same age for a literature project and loved it. We saw the film last night and now she has the book out to read again. I recommend it highly for a school project.

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  • 3 months later...
Doubleturn, I had thought of Mao's Last Dancer as well. I have read it and it would not be unsuitable. It is a very large book! I don't know that she has read something that thick other than Harry Potter or Twilight. I was going to encourage her to read that one over the winter holidays when she would have more down time.

 

Thank you all for these great suggestions.

 

 

By the way, there is a youth version of "Mao's Last Dancer". Several months before the film came out in the US, I found it in the children's section of our local library, and checked it out for my DD. She didn't have time to read the whole thing, so I read it myself, and would pick sections to read to her from time to time. Reading it was a helpful intro to viewing the film. Now, my daughter's reading the full version over the holidays, and enjoying it very much!

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