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Photo: Misty Copeland, first black woman to become principal ballerina for American Ballet Theatre, one of the leading classical ballet companies in the United States.
"Ballet may be venerable, but it isn't a museum art form. In the twenty-first century, it has found a fresh lease of life, with excitement generated by new works and new choreographers. There's another chapter to add to the existing story of ballet's roots in the sixteenth-century European courts, its development on the gaslit stages of the Romantic era, its reflections of grandeur of Imperial Russia, and the adventures of the twentieth century. By the end of that century, there were fears of ballet's decline: a generation of major choreographers had died, leaving its future uncertain. Sine then, however, there's been a burst of energy, with the emergence of leading names...and even newer names...Ballet is busy again."
Nonfiction Books About Ballet
Ballet in action. by
Call Number: 792.8 Him
Paul Himmel's book Ballet in Action, with text by Walter Terry and an introduction by George Balanchine, was published in 1954. The book consisted of photo essays on eight ballets in the repertoire of the New York City Ballet...He had a lifelong passion for dance, and his interest in motion blur as a way of showing controlled movement was kindled by Alexei Brodovitch.
Modern Ballet by
Call Number: 792.8 Per
Studies the ballet's evolution as an art form, focusing on the influential personalities who have contributed to its modern development.
The Book of Ballet by
Call Number: 792.82 Ell
Provides photographs of members of the American Ballet Theatre demonstrating positions and includes discussion and photographs of classwork, rehearsal, choreography, and major ballets.
The Ballet Lover's Companion by
Call Number: 792.809 And
A richly informed, up-to-date performance guide to more than 140 favorite ballets, from the classical era to the present day
Ballet, an illustrated history by
Call Number: 792.809 Cla
This comprehensive history charts the emergence of ballet in the Renaissance courts and follows its complex development right up to the remarkable explosion of ballet and modern dance in our time in Europe and America. It examines the arrival during the eighteenth century of ballet in the professional theatre and follows the expansion of dancing techniques from the early dancing masters through the Romantic period and the golden age of the ballerina. It explores the late nineteenth-century masterpieces of the Imperial Russian Ballet, the glories of Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, and the fascinating development of modern ballet throughout the world.
A Dancer's World by
Call Number: 793.3 Fon
The internationally acclaimed, English ballerina provides careful, personal advice to young ballet hopefuls and their parents on all aspects and stages of the dancer's training, career, and life
The classic ballet : basic technique and terminology by
Call Number: 796.32 Stu
The classic ballet : basic technique and terminology / historical development by Lincoln Kirstein ; descriptive text by Muriel Stuart ; illustrations by Carlus Dyer ; with a preface by George Balanchine.
Famous People of the Ballet World
All in the Dances by
Call Number: B Balanchine
Twenty years after his death, George Balanchine still dominates the world of dance. He worked with Serge Diaghilev and Sam Goldwyn. He made ballets to the music of Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky - and to "The Stars and Stripes Forever."
A Russian emigre who fell hopelessly in love with American culture, his four marriages and countless affairs (all of them with beautiful young ballerinas) became tabloid fodder. Though he turned ballet into a truly modern art, his plotless, seemingly abstract dances were as romantic as the genius who made them.
Holding on to the Air by
Call Number: B Farrell
Suzanne Farrell joined the New York City Ballet in 1961 and went on to become one of George Balanchine's most celebrated muses. By the time she retired from performing in 1989, she had achieved a career without precedent in the history of ballet. She danced over one hundred ballets, a third of which were composed expressly for her by Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, and Maurice Bejart, including masterpieces in which the limits of ballet technique were expanded to a degree not seen before.
As a repetiteur for the George Balanchine Trust, she has staged Balanchine ballets for companies throughout the United States, as well as for the Royal Danish Ballet, the Kirov Ballet, and the Bolshoi Ballet. In 1999 she staged a week-long season of Balanchine for the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., which led to the creation of the Suzanne Farrell Ballet as an ongoing partnership with the Center. Farrell joined the faculty of the Department of Dance at Florida State University as a Francis Eppes Professor in 2000. She is the recipient of honorary degrees from several universities, including Yale, Georgetown, and Notre Dame.
Once a Dancer by
Call Number: B Kent
One of the greatest of George Balanchine's ballerinas, Allegra Kent joined the New York City Ballet at the age of fifteen and only two years later inspired Balanchine's "The Unanswered Question" (from Ivesiana). Beautiful, sensuous, mysterious, she quickly became an essential Balanchine dancer. He created central roles for her in Episodes, Bugaku, The Seven Deadly Sins, Stars and Stripes, and the Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet, as well as reviving La Sonnambula for her. An immense favorite of audiences here and abroad, she had a particularly spectacular success on the company's famous Russian tour in 1962.
But the story of her personal life is at least as dramatic as the story of her rise to fame. Raised haphazardly by a mostly absent father and an all-too-present mother, she married the first man she ever dated, the celebrated (and complicated) photographer Bert Stern. And she suspended her career three times to have children, no matter what the cost to her work.
Allegra Kent is today a triumphant survivor of a difficult, troubled, yet deeply gratifying life, and her writing reflects the intelligence, grace, and artistry that characterized her dancing. Her account of a bizarre childhood, a magnificent if unusual dance career, a charged, complicated, domestic life, and a never-ending struggle with emotional, physical, and financial pressures is fascinating as are her portraits of the other great dance figures who punctuated her life, from Balanchine to Baryshnikov.
Mao's Last Dancer by
Call Number: B Li
Chosen from millions of children to serve in Mao's cultural revolution by studying at the Beijing Dance Academy, Li knew ballet would be his family's best opportunity to escape the bitter poverty in his rural China home. From one hardship to another, Li persevered, never forgetting the family he left behind.
Call Number: B Markova
This biography of a dancing legend reveals how Alicia Markova's dream was realized through hardship, dedication, and sacrifice. It is the story of a life devoted to the perfection of art and an insight into British ballet.
The Diary of Vaslav Nijinsky by
Call Number: B Nijinsky
In his prime, Vaslav Nijinsky (1889-1950) was the most celebrated man in Western ballet, a virtuoso and dramatic dancer such as European and American audiences had never seen before. After his triumphs in such works as The Specter of the Rose and Petrouchka, he set out to make ballets of his own, and with his Afternoon of a Faun and The Rite of Spring, created within a year of each other, he became ballet's first modernist choreographer. Then, still in his twenties, he began to go mad. For six weeks in early 1919, as his tie to reality was giving way, Nijinsky kept a diary, the only sustained daily record we have by a major artist, of the experience of entering psychosis. This is the first complete and accurate English rendering of this searing document.
Call Number: B Nureyev
"The quality of greatness in a dancer is as indefinable as beauty," Clive Barnes states. In his comprehensive account of Rudolf Nureyev's artistic career in the West, the author further adds: "If one person could be called the world's greatest dancer it would just have to be Rudolf Nureyev." Mr. Barnes, foremost dance and drama critic, has followed the meteoric development of Mr. Nureyev's career over several continents from the very first days of his defection on June 17, 1961. Nureyev's spectacular leap toward freedom at Paris' Le Bourget Airport, followed by his debut in London at Covent Garden, brought him instant recognition and resounding success. Throughout his legendary partnership with Margot Fonteyn, through ceaseless travels, and countless performances, his bold, innovative, artistic accomplishments, the dancer has achieved a level of fame similar to that of his illustrious predecessors Diaghilev, Nijinsky and Pavlova.
Clive Barnes examines in depth Nureyev's versatile talent, equally at ease performing, directing, choreographing, and acting in films and TV. As Nureyev made his way from the cold, Eastern steppes of Siberia to the polished salons of the glamour-society scene, he danced on virtually all of the world's stages, altered the course of classical ballet, and restored the male dancer to a new prominence. His never-ending quest for new vistas, new dimensions has led Nureyev to explore modern-dance and to provide fresh insight into both modern and classical dance. "In many ways," observes Clive Barnes, ''Nureyev has changed the face of ballet."
Dance with Demons by
Call Number: B Robbins
The first biography of celebrated Broadway and Hollywood choreographer and director, whose legendary shows included Fiddler on the Roof and West Side Story among many others, and whose friends and enemies included Barbra Streisand,Bette Davis, Natalie Wood, and Montgomery Cliff.
Yet Robbins was tortured by private demons: his sexuality, his religion, his scandalous betrayals during the McCarthy hearings, and a sadistic but genius drive for perfection. Culled from hundreds of interviews and with 16 pages of photos, this biography is a heartbreaking and triumphant work.
Taking Flight by
Call Number: Y B DePrince
The youngest named principal dancer for the Dance Theatre of Harlem traces her rise from orphan in war-torn Sierra Leone to one of America's most accomplished ballerinas, discussing her adoption, training, and high-profile performances.
Fiction Books About Ballet
The Four Temperaments by
Call Number: F McDonough
Set against the glamorous, exciting world of the New York City Ballet, The Four Temperaments explores the ways in which love and marriage are tested. Through its unforgettable cast of characters, this novel reveals how the demands of the flesh can suddenly, almost inexplicably, turn lives upside down.
White Swan, Black Swan by
Call Number: F Sharp
Each story plants the reader amid a cast of dancers who struggle - valiantly, playfully, fiercely - to find in the rigorous discipline and animating beauty of ballet a balance to the chaos of everyday life. In Don Quixote, the world's most famous choreographer becomes infatuated with a coltish young dancer who proves both siren and muse. In Bugaku, a rising star finds that the spotlight demands more of her than she had planned to give. The principals of the climactic title story enact an elaborate - and often violent - pas de deux offstage that fuels the white-hot chemistry when they perform. Many of the stories dare to imagine the inner lives of this past century's titans - Balanchine, Fonteyn, Nureyev, Ashton, and Godunov - which rival in complexity and pathos the classic dramas they perform onstage.
Call Number: F Stewart
Stephanie Lang and Christine Avery meet in ballet school. Although they share the same dream--to become great dancers--they could not be more different. Ballet is in Stephanie's blood; her mother, Anna, is a former dancer who lives to see her daughter achieve the fame she herself never attained. Christine has lived a sheltered life, secure in the love of her family. But her privileged upbringing conceals a devastating secret.
Two teenage dancers, one chance to make it. From the thrill and terror of auditions through years of meticulous training to landing a coveted spot in a professional company, Stephanie and Christine relentlessly pursue their ambitions. As they give their all to dance, they become inseparable--until they are torn apart by their passion for the same man, a brilliant Russian dancer whose seductive, mercurial temperament will have unforeseen consequences for them all.
Call Number: F Zimroth
"Do you want to be a great dancer?" F. had asked her when she was twelve. She did. And so Collusion tells of how she gave up ordinary life--family, boyfriends, hamburgers, homework, and pop music--for a life dedicated to the promise of artistry. At the center of that new life was always the figure of F.--ironic, moody, demanding, quixotically generous or withholding--who could control her with a sarcastic comment or the flash of his cane across her thigh, but also with the lyrical beauty of his classes and the vision of herself in a perfect arabesque. F. was the first man to partner her, and the first to teach her that love can come in strange forms: in the airborne lifts of Les Sylphides, in brilliant pirouettes, and in measured violence.
Collusion describes the secret life of ballet. It is a life in which "normal" values are reversed. Brutality is seen as a gift, fear as devotion, sadism (rightly, in this case) as love. Free of conventional moral judgments, Collusion tells of possession and surrender, of power and submission, of the bond between a young girl and an older man.
In spare, emotionally resonant prose, award-winning poet and novelist Evan Zimroth unfolds a mesmerizing story of artistic ambition, power, and love in an unforgettable memoir of adolescence. Collusion portrays a real relationship, one that society dares not speak of, and it does so with admirable honesty and sensitivity.
Ballet on Film
Call Number: BLU 792.8 Cop
Premiered by the Opera De Paris in 1870, and inspired by the fantastical writings of E.T.A. Hoffmann, Coppelia tells the story of a young man who becomes besotted with an exquisite automaton and is finally brought to his senses by his fiancee. In their production from the magnificent Palais Garnier, choreographer Bart in his final production and designer Toffolutti explore the story's darker side while doing full justice to the exuberance and elegance of Delibes' glorious score.
Dancing across borders
Call Number: BLU 792.8 Dan
Filmmaker Anne H. Bass was visiting Cambodia when she saw a young man dancing in the street and was immediately struck by his skill, his passion, and his charisma. Bass introduced herself to the dancer, Sokvannara Sar, and she was impressed enough with him that she offered to help him come to the United States to study classical dance. It was the beginning of a remarkable journey for Sar, as he went from performing folk dances on the street to the rigors of professional-level ballet study in America, where he was a highly promising but unlikely new figure on the dance scene. Bass and her camera were on hand for much of Sar's transition to his new life, and the documentary Dancing Across Borders tells his remarkable story, from busking in the streets to a special performance accompanied by composer Philip Glass.
La petite danseuse de Degas
Call Number: BLU 792.84 Pet
This release captures a performance of the ballet Petite Dansuese de Degas, recorded at the Opera Garnier in Paris in 2010. The performance features dancers such as Clairemarie Osta, Dorothee Gilbert, Mathieu Ganio, Jose Martinez in the leading roles.
The little mermaid
Call Number: BLU 792.842 Aue
After making its triumphant U.S. Premiere and playing to sold-out houses, John Neumeier's superlative work of dance-theater returns in 2011. Featuring an evocative score by Lera Auerbach, and danced by the prestigious San Francisco Ballet featuring acclaimed prima ballerina Yuan Yuan Tan, the heart-wrenching story of sacrifice and unrequited love comes to life against dazzling scenic, costume and lighting designs.
Call Number: DVD 782.1 Car
Mats Ek's International Emmy Award-winning version of the fiery tale of passion and murderous jealousy is an exciting, suspenseful mix of bravura dancing and inventive, powerful storytelling. Set to Rodion Shchedrin's Carmen Suite, the Russian composer's arrangement of Bizet's perennially popular opera music, this stylish production features award-winning dancer Ana Laguna as a mesmerizing and irresistible Carmen, with Yvan Auzely and Marc Hwang as her rival lovers: macho bullfighter Escamillo and romantic young soldier Jose.
The tales of Hoffmann
Call Number: DVD 791.43 Tal
A melancholy poet reflects on three women he loved and lost in the past: a mechanical performing doll, a Venetian courtesan, and the consumptive daughter of a celebrated composer.
Call Number: DVD 791.4372 Bil
...a young son of a poor English coal miner who dreams of being a ballet dancer. The film is set during a 1984 miners' strike in Durham county, where angry clashes between picketers and cops in riot gear are nearly daily occurrences. Among the most vociferous protesters are Tony and his dad, who nags his youngest son Billy into taking boxing classes. Though the kid can do some fancy footwork, he can't take a punch. One day at the gym, he notices a ballet class taught by hard-bitten Mrs. Wilkinson...When his father gets wind of this less-than-manly pursuit, he pulls him from the class. Sensing a raw and natural talent, Mrs. Wilkinson offers to teach the lad for free in preparation for the local auditions to the Royal Ballet School. When Tony gets in trouble with the cops, Billy is forced to miss the trials, leading to a confrontation between Billy's pop and Ms. Wilkinson.
Call Number: DVD 791.4372 Bla
New York City ballet dancer Nina enters into an intense battle of wills with a talented and ambitious new arrival who seems intent on edging her out of the spotlight in this supernatural-flavored psychological thriller from director Darren Aronofsky. Nina covets the role of the Swan Queen in a production of Swan Lake by acclaimed theater director Thomas Leroy. The harder Nina works to win the part, however, the more overwhelmed she becomes by her suspicions that talented newcomer Lily is intent on stealing it away from her. As the production draws near and Nina struggles to master the duel roles of the White Swan and the Black Swan, she grows increasingly unstable to the point where she finds it difficult to distinguish fantasy from reality.
Alice's adventures in Wonderland
Call Number: DVD 792.842 Ali
A ballet performance of Lewis Carrol's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland performed by the Royal Ballet features such renowned dancers as Lauren Cuthbertson and Sergei Polunin in the leading roles, with choreography by Christopher Wheeldon.
Paloma Herrera : aquí y ahora
Call Number: SP DVD 792.802 Pal
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Paloma Herrera began her training at the age of 7, and by age 14 she was awarded Finalist Diploma at the XIV Varna International Ballet Competition. In 1991, at 15, Paloma moved to New York and continued her studies at the School of American Ballet, where she was given the lead role in Balanchine's Raymonda Variation. After only six months, she joined the American Ballet Theatre. She was promoted to Soloist two years later and at age 19, she became the youngest Principal Dancer in American Ballet Theatre history
ABT Online Ballet Dictionary
Ballet terminology provided by the American Ballet Theater. Includes demos on pronouncement.
Ballet by Andros
Articles on the history of ballet and ballet technique by Dick Andros, "a ballet teacher and writer who was based in New York City and provided this site to share the knowledge and stories he accumulated through his long career as a dancer and teacher."
George Balanchine Research Resources
"...concentrates primarily on George Balanchine's work for the ballet stage. See notes about Balanchine's work for Broadway and films at the end of the list. Major international centers for dance research are given below. They contain published and/or video sources about Balanchine's career, even though not all have archival sources about him. Every large library in the United States contains published works about Balanchine as well as published criticism describing his ballets. The American libraries listed here are those containing significant collections of original materials relating to Balanchine."