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Books: Physics of Ballet

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Guest dabralady

I am looking for copies of any of Ken Laws books on the Physics of Ballet. My son had him this summer at CPYB and loved his classes and is interested in getting these out of print books.




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You might try barnesandnoble.com, alibris.com, and powells.com, all of which have out of print titles with lots of information about the quality and condition of the books available. ( I should note out of respect for this site's sponsor that Amazon.com also has out of print titles, although personally I prefer the other sites for OOP books.)


Books are also auctioned off on eBay, and although I would not expect Laws' titles to pop up as frequently as better-known books, you never know -- and you can find some good deals, with the caveat that items are not always in the finest shape, so read the descriptions carefully and ask questions of the seller if you need to.



It doesn't hurt to check with the information desk at your local Borders, either -- sometimes I've checked on books I believed were out of print and been surprised.

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Kenneth Laws did a 'science and art' presentation on Oct. 1 at CUNY Grad. Center in NYC, w/ CPYP dancer Magrielle Eisen to help with the lecture demonstration. A handout at the event announced the up-coming publication from Oxford University Press of PHYSICS AND THE ART OF DANCE: UNDERSTANDING MOVEMENT. This book, 240 pp. w/ 90 half-tone illustrations and 25 line drawings, due out in January 2002 ($35.00) would appear to be a combination of Laws' two previous books, both published by Shirmer Books:


2] PHYSICS, DANCE, AND THE PAS DE DEUX, 1994, which was marketed with an accompanying video tape.

(no tape seems to be connected with this book.)

THE VILLAGE VOICE ran a short piece about the lecture/demo by Eva Yaa Asantewaa in its Oct. 2 issue, which should be available on line.

hope this helps.

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  • 9 months later...
Guest Nadezhda

I am probably doing some book shopping soon and I was wondering if there are any good and comprehensive book about ballet kinesiology. I'm looking for a book that could explain the anatomical facts - where the turn out comes from, how the bones are aligned when you are turning from the hips, whocih muscles are involved. I'm also interested in foot anatomy, how the bones carry the weight of the body when on pointe etc.


I am going to order Classical Ballet Technique by G. Ward Warren but I don't suppose this question is answered in this particular book or is it?

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Warren does cover the kinesiology of much of what she discusses, but perhaps not in the depth you're seeking. Three works that I have, and find useful, are Applied Kinesiology by Frost and Goodheart, Dance Kinesiology by Sally Fitt, and Inside Ballet Technique by Valerie Grieg.

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Guest ScottieGDE13

Just an extra vote for Grieg's Inside Ballet Technique. I was going to recommend it but Mr. Johnson beat me to it. I did a biology project on the kinesiology of ballet my freshman year and this book helped me A LOT! In fact, I've been meaning to look through it again because I found that after I did the research and my report I had a better understanding of exactly HOW to do certain things and WHY ballet technique is the way it is. And this new knowledge helped my technique, which is always a good thing


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one vote for Dance Kinesiology! (library didn't have the Grieg). reasonably detailed sections on bones, muscles, with lots of diagrams, written in a very straightforward manner, easy to read. there's also a few pages of exercises diagrammed in stick figures, AND she explains exactly which muscles you would be working.


i also picked up a book by Kenneth Laws called "The Physics of Dance"... haven't read it yet, but it seems to be a scientific approach to ballet (ie physics and math) in layman's terms. not quite anatomy and kinesiology, but it might come in handy, learning how to calculate the torque of your pirouettes

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Guest Nadezhda

Thank you all for your input. I think I'm going to get the Grieg book, since it's quite resonably priced in comparison to the Dance Kinesiology. Thanks again!

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I recommend Lulu Sweigard's Human Movement Potential, but I don't know if this book is still available (check Amazon.com). I used this book in a course on anatomy for dancers.

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Guest Becky

Eric Franklin has written a few very good books on this sort of thing. They can be found on Amazon, the titles I can't remember but you can do a search on him? I have done two workshops with Eric Franklin, both at the Royal Ballet School, and all those involved found it very beneficial.


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Guest Nadezhda


what I came up with was this:

  • Dynamic Alignment Through Imagery, by Eric Franklin (Paperback - February 1997)
  • Dance Imagery for Technique and Performance, by Eric N. Franklin (Paperback - February 1997)



the book you mentioned is STILL available. It's a bit pricey, though. Human Movement Potential on amazon.com


Thank you for your input, but I still think I'm going to stick with what I decided to buy before.

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As I understand it, "The Physics of Dance" by Kenneth Laws is a compilation and/or update of two previous books by Mr. Laws?


Has anyone read this? Would you recommend it for serious ballet students (who also love the sciences) 17 or 18 years old?

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This is a reissue of an earlier out-of-print work which is very interesting from a kinesiology point of view. I don't know if this is revised and updated with regard to text, but the earlier edition was pretty approachable for being packed with physics.

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