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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Books: Ballet Books Biography for 9-12 year olds

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I actually did buy this for my daughter for a Christmas present, but I managed to read it on the sly before I gave it to her! I, too, emjoyed it very much. It was interesting and rather refreshing...having only read Holding on to the Air and Edward Villela's autobiography... her was quite different.


Ms. Goh seems as though she is a pretty grounded young woman. I hope we shall see her perform one day.

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  • 1 year later...

My daughter needs to read a Biography for her 5th grade class. She is an excellent reader but I don't want her to read anything unappropriate for her age. (if you know what I mean) Any suggestions?

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i forget the exact title, but darci kistler's biography is great. i read it when i was in 5th grade, and though the reading level is not high i still enjoyed it.

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Chan Han-Goh's biography is excellent, I think, and written for 9 to 12 year olds.

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Guest Firebird3000

There is an old Anna Pavlova book thats a biography but reads like a novel. Its called 'Dancing Star:The Story of Anna Pavlova" by Gladis Malvern. Its an older book that I saw in my school library when I did a project on her last year for Language Arts. My mom read the book when she was a child so it goes back a few years. :P

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Mel Johnson

Now that IS a golden oldie! I read it myself when I was in about seventh grade. As time went by, I found that Malvern had stuck pretty well to the facts, and if something were too messy to bowdlerize, she just didn't mention it!

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When my daughter was in 5th grade, she read the biography of Alicia Markova written by Anton Dolin. It was very age appropriate and squeaky clean.

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Darci Kistler's book is called Ballerina. Paperback and hardcover.


Agnes de Mille and Margot Fonteyn both did books which are age appropriate.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Another good book (in case anyone else needs one) is On Stage, Please by Veronica Tennant (former prima ballerina of the National Ballet of Canada, now producer of cultural programs for TV). It is well-written and based on her own experience of coming from England to Canada and and getting into a professional ballet school.


“A simple, direct, unpretentious and utterly charming insight into the years of devotion, hard work, steadfast purpose and personal sacrifice that are part of the successful career of anyone on the ballet world.”

–Opera Canada


“Carefully crafted and highly realistic. Tennant’s style is as delicate as her dancing…a wonderful fictionalized handbook.”

–Toronto Sun

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