Two offerings aim to please dance enthusiasts. The first, Footnotes: Dancing the World's Best-Loved Ballets by Frank Augustyn and Shelley Tanaka, goes behind the scenes at seven ballets (including Giselle, Swan Lake and Romeo and Juliet) to provide a history of the art. Rudolf Nureyev, Mikhail Baryshnikov and Margot Fonteyn are spotlighted as a look at the lives of dancers, choreographers, costume designers and others drives the informative text. A library edition of the book appeared last year. (Apr.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
This beautiful book, based on the Footnotes television series, conveys the excitement and exaltation of ballet even as it describes the excruciating pain and practice necessary for these artistic productions. Augustyn, a former principal dancer with the National Ballet of Canada, brings a personal sensitivity to his discussion of the history and performance of this art form. Interesting insights, technical pointers and plot synopses of seven of the best-known ballets expand the reader's knowledge and provoke an appreciation of ballet. Contemporary and archival photographs feature dancers, instructors, choreographers, costume designers and others who contribute to the success of these productions. Some basic knowledge on the part of readers is assumed. Ballet terms are not defined, although it is sometimes possible to ascertain their meaning from the accompanying photographs. A detailed index, but no glossary, is included. 2001, Millbrook Press, $24.90. Ages 10 to 14. Reviewer: Phyllis Kennemer
Augustyn, a well-known principal dancer with the National Ballet of Canada, gives an informative introduction to the history of this art form through examining seven classic ballets. Along the way, readers are treated to interesting tidbits of dance facts. During the reign of King Louis XIV, the five basic ballet positions were developed, and as France became the center of dance, French became the language of ballet and remains so today around the world. The evolution of the blocked shoe allowing dancers to balance on the tips of their toes, the gradual rise of the skirt hem to short tutu, and the revolving popularity between ballerinas and male dancers are some of the many aspects touched upon here. Each of the seven classic ballets serves as a springboard for a chapter. Besides a synopsis of each ballet, Augustyn often includes humorous stories of what can go wrong during performances. In Coppelia, the dancer playing Franz pretends to sleep for almost half the ballet; one dancer actually did fall asleep and awoke when his legs slipped off the table! During a Swan Lake performance, a ballerina once spun offstage completely while doing the required thirty-two spins on one pointe. This book is based on Augustyn's Canadian television series. Because the book is so entertaining, one can only hope that the series airs on U.S. television as well. Ballet-mad young girls, or anyone looking for a very brief overview of the ballet world, will be pleased with this offering. Index. Illus. 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). 2001, Millbrook, 96p, $24.90. Ages 12 to 14.Reviewer: Jane Van Wiemokly SOURCE: VOYA, August 2001 (Vol. 24, No. 3)
Gr 7 Up-Based on a television series, Footnotes uses seven classical ballets as a jumping-off point to talk about the evolution of this unique art form, partnering, dancer as actor, training, costumes, choreography, and some of the world's most well-known performers. Each chapter includes the plot summary of a ballet and photos of productions in the U.S., Canada, or Europe. While a few sections end a bit abruptly, the authors share some delicious inside anecdotes, such as the time ballerina Karen Kain fell asleep on stage waiting for her prince in Sleeping Beauty. The tone is chatty and informal, and fascinating archival and contemporary black-and-white and full-color photographs are aptly chosen and well placed. A well-organized, handsomely designed volume.-Amy Kellman, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, PA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.