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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Books for men in ballet?


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Just out of interest, does anyone know of any books aimed at men in ballet that are worth a read?

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Good luck! If you do find something, please share with the group!


I started dancing ballet as an adult male almost 10-years ago - At that time I was completely absorbed and searched high and low for any supporting material or media (books, video, websites, etc.) I could get my hands on - needless to say I did not find much - there were a few books out there geared toward younger boys, but they were not at all helpful


maybe someday I will write one for adult males!

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There are several in print. Do an Amazon search and you will find some. Two I recommend are out of print but you can find copies:

Ballet Technique for the Male Dancer, Tarasov

Danseur; The Male in Ballet, Ricard Philp



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If you find Tarasov's book on Amazon, be prepared to take out a second mortgage to pay for it.

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Cheers guys - I'll have a hunt around for those...

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Woah - I see what mean about the Tarasov book... Currently going for £230 new or £82 used! Shame the city library don't have it (just checked!)

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For those interested in the two books mentioned, see www.bookfinder.com Also, copies are available on eBay. Years ago, Tarasov was available in numerous remaindered booksale bins for $1.98. That's when I got mine. If there's enough interest, perhaps someone like Princeton books would consider a reprint. But everyone's right--books on ballet technique for males are indeed quite rare. Good luck!

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A reprint would be great wouldn't it. There probably still are some copies at next to nothing in little charity shops - locating them is the problem of course!

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  • 3 years later...

I have recently read Danseur the male in ballet as I found a very cheap second hand copy. Very interesting but of its time. It was published in 1977 during the cold war. Ballet had gone right back to its beginnings as a tool for the state. Information about ballet behind the iron curtain was limited. Now we have more access is there more that needs to be written? Has anyone written about the danseurs of the last forty years?

Tasarov's book is not available from in the UK library system. I tried an inter-library loan to no avail. I would have to order it from USA. It is still very expensive. Is it  worth it? Is there an alternative to it?

I know male ballet dancers are rare and therefore a small market meaning small print runs and higher costs but given the apparent lack of books I would have thought someone would have tried to fill the gap. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I got a used copy of the Tarasov book last year on Amazon UK for a reasonable (well, only slightly unreasonable) price. It's worth just keeping an eye out for it for a while. 

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Well I bit the bullet and bought it from the USA. A very interesting book of historical significance. Was it worth the price tag? For me, I am glad I bought it. Once I have finished reading it and made some notes,  I shall probably put it up for sale so that I can buy more books. I am only a third of the way through, so it may take a few months.

It describes the Russian /Soviet system for producing male dancers of the classical form who were also good citizens.  It is in five parts, the school (the training system not the building), elementary movements, poses and dance steps, jumps and beats, turns and turning. It is not an easy read and assumes quite a lot of knowledge, especially of Russian terminology as you would expect for a book aimed at Russian teachers. The line drawings are clear and to the point.

Published in English translation in 1985 from the 1981 second edition Russian text, one wonders how things have changed over the last 36yrs.

2hrs class six days a week for eight years. No wonder they produced some good dancers. 


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  • 2 years later...

I have a few male technique books, all mentioned above, and purchased "used" online.  Also I enjoy the stories of the dancers' journeys.  So far, I would recommend all of the books I have read:

A Body of Work, by David Hallberg, my first (non-technique) read.

I Was a Dancer, by Jacque D' Amboise, my second

Nijinsky, A Life of Genius and Madness, by Richard Buckle, my third

Diaghilev, A Life, by Sjeng Scheijen, my current read

Every Step You Take, A Memoir, by Jock Soto, my next read


We are living in such an exceptional time in the evolution of men's roles in ballet and more classical dance.  The life stories (warts and all), and the accompanying evolution of technique and choreography displayed by Nijinsky--  to Nureyev--  to Baryshnikov--  to D' Amboise--  to so many of today's fantastic dancers (add the names of your favorites here!)--  is an amazing saga.  And the introduction of ballet to the western world, and the resulting growth in its popularity, all enhanced through the efforts of so many "colorful" people, including the likes of Diaghilev, Balanchine, Kirstein, and the Christensen brothers.  Its all a fabulous tale, and its great to see today so many more males, and so many more people of all races, dancing.  Dance really is the language of the soul.  Let it breathe!  


Edited by MattMan
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