The Young Person's Guide to the Ballet: [Book-and-CD Set]

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In this sumptuous volume, readers will learn everything about the rich and varied art of ballet, from dance steps and their meanings to the evolution of the ballet slipper and the tutu and more. Following the history of the dance from the first ballets in the French court of Louis XIV to the modern productions of the Dance Theatre of Harlem, The Young Person's Guide to the Ballet introduces the greats of ballet - Fonteyn, Baryshnikov, Balanchine - as well as the choreographers, costume designers, and composers ...

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Overview

In this sumptuous volume, readers will learn everything about the rich and varied art of ballet, from dance steps and their meanings to the evolution of the ballet slipper and the tutu and more. Following the history of the dance from the first ballets in the French court of Louis XIV to the modern productions of the Dance Theatre of Harlem, The Young Person's Guide to the Ballet introduces the greats of ballet - Fonteyn, Baryshnikov, Balanchine - as well as the choreographers, costume designers, and composers who together create a unique work of art every time a ballet is performed. Photographs from the world of dance illustrate the book, and the scores of Tchaikovsky's classic ballets - The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, and The Sleeping Beauty, performed by the Munich Symphony Orchestra - are featured on the accompanying CD.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Judy Chernak
A fabulous book plus CD with Tchaikovsky's music from The Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker and Swan Lake, this is a classy introduction to ballet in all its modes. A short history, beginning with "The Comic Ballet of the Queen" staged in 1581 at the French court, sets the tone for this comprehensive coverage of the dance, both backstage and onstage. The reader will find sections about costumes and shoes, choreography and choreology (notation of steps-now often done by computer!), training and physique, the music which so closely accompanies every step of the dance, and famous personalities. The photographs are elegant and invite close attention to the beauty and strength required to succeed in ballet. I found reading the book while listening to the CD a delightful and enriching experience.
Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
Complete with a CD of music from "The Nutcracker", "Swan Lake" and "Sleeping Beauty", this is like an abridged encyclopedia of ballet with music. Did you know that a dancer can go through two pairs of shoes in a single performance! Illustrated with color photos.
VOYA - Jane Van Wiemokly
In this slight introduction to ballet, the reader is told just what ballet is, how it began, and what its components are: costumes, choreography, and music to name just a few. Each short chapter (ranging from two to four pages) discusses various aspects. Of course, because of the brevity of the book, there is a limited amount of information. What is included is concise and informative, but provides just a tantalizing nibble when one knows there is a huge meal out there. The beautiful accompanying photographs sometimes give a glimpse into behind-the-scenes activities, such as a seamstress sewing a costume, a set painter at work, and dancers waiting in the wings before going on stage. On almost every page, "Did You Know" sidebars share such interesting facts as how many pairs of ballet shoes English National Ballet dancers go through in a year (4,080 pairs!), that Nijinsky wore a costume covered in rose petals in his 1911 performance in La Spectre de la Rose, and that Arthur Mitchell started the Dance Theatre of Harlem in a garage. The sections on great ballet dancers, famous choreographers, composers, and ballet companies highlight only four to six entries each (the restrictions of space once again). Altogether this is a solid, if somewhat brief, elementary introduction good for readers with little or no knowledge of the ballet. One Note: a CD of ballet music is embedded in the outside front book cover, and is made to pop out easily. If the usual clear plastic protector sleeve is put on the dust jacket and taped down, the access to the CD is lost. Some other way would have to be arranged to store, access, and circulate the CD. Glossary. Index. Photos. VOYA Codes: 3Q 2P M (Readable without serious defects, For the YA with a special interest in the subject, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8).
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-An overview that is simplified to the point of being misleading and inaccurate. Brief sections touch on technique, famous dancers, choreographers, composers, and other topics. Although the black-and-white and full-color photographs are clear, they are sometimes poorly placed or randomly chosen. For example, two kinds of arabesques are described, but the four photos show only the simple arabesque. The introduction promises readers "ballet's history, from the early Romantic period to the Dance Theatre of Harlem's modern productions" but delivers only a quick survey. For example, an unidentified photo of Dance Theatre of Harlem's production of "Giselle" and a line in Arthur Mitchell's brief biography stating that he formed the company do not provide any meaningful information about it. The section on choreographers includes five people, only three of whom are historically important. No one who is still active today is profiled. Two precious pages are given over to "Dance of the World," which includes three sentences about modern dance that are simplistic and irrelevant in the context. An inordinate amount of space is devoted to Tchaikovsky's ballet music, possibly to justify the inclusion of a CD with selections from his work. For information on ballet and its history, try Darcey Bussell's The Young Dancer, (Houghton, 1994), Trudy Garfunkel's On Wings of Joy (Little, Brown, 1994), and Leslie Spatt's Behind the Scenes at the Ballet (Viking, 1995).-Amy Kellman, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, PA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780152011840
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 10/14/1998
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 64
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.42 (w) x 9.37 (h) x 0.48 (d)

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