For pleasure

  • Apollo’s Angels by Jennifer Homans”Unique among the arts, ballet has no written texts or standardized notation. It is a storytelling art passed on from teacher to student. A ballerina dancing today is a link in a long chain of dancers stretching back to sixteenth-century Italy and France: Her graceful movements recall a lost world of courts, kings, and aristocracy, but her steps are also marked by the dramatic changes in dance and culture that followed.”
  • Legacies of the Twentieth Century Dance by Lynn Garafola”Lynn Garafola has written some of the most influential historical studies and criticism in the field of dance. Legacies of Twentieth-Century Dance is a selection of her essays and reviews that together document the extraordinary transformation of dance, especially ballet, since the early 20th century.”
  • Bunheads by Sophie Flack”As a dancer with the ultra-prestigious Manhattan Ballet company, nineteen-year-old Hannah Ward juggles intense rehearsals, dazzling performances, and complicated backstage relationships. But when she meets a spontaneous and irresistibly cute musician named Jacob, her universe begins to change.”Editor’s review: This is a great book for young aspiring professional dancers. This novel is a realistic portrayal of a teenage girl and her struggles adapting in the ballet world.
  • Life in Motion by Misty Copeland”In this instant New York Times bestseller, Misty Copeland makes history, telling the story of her journey to become the first African-American principal ballerina at the prestigious American Ballet Theatre. But when she first placed her hands on the barre at an after-school community center, no one expected the undersized, underprivileged, and anxious thirteen-year-old to become one of America’s most groundbreaking dancers.”Editor’s review: If you are a fan of Misty Copeland, you will enjoy this memoir of her journey to stardom. Recommended for younger ages.
  • Taking Flight by Michaela De Prince”Michaela DePrince was known as girl Number 27 at the orphanage, where she was abandoned at a young age and tormented as a “devil child” for a skin condition that makes her skin appear spotted. But it was at the orphanage that Michaela would find a picture of a beautiful ballerina en pointe that would help change the course of her life.”Editor’s review: Michaela De Prince is becoming an increasing influential young woman in today’s world. In this memoir, we can see a comprehensive story of her harsh childhood. Recommended for younger ages.
  • The Sugarless Plum by Zippora Karz”It started as the perfect story. Zippora Karz was a member of the famed New York City Ballet by the age of eighteen. By twenty she was starring as the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, dancing roles created by Jerome Robbins, and traveling the world. It was the stuff dreams are made of until, at age twenty-one, Karz was diagnosed with diabetes.”Editor’s Review: In this memoir, Zippora Kars inspires others as she shares her journey about dealt with Diabetes while dancing at the New York City Ballet as soloist. Karz continues to inspire others as a diabetes spokesperson and educator. Her website:
  • Ballerina: Sex, Scandal, and Suffering Behind the Symbol of Perfection by Deirdre Kelly”Throughout her history, the ballerina has been perceived as the embodiment of beauty and perfection – she is the feminine ideal. But the reality is another story. Beginning with the earliest ballerinas, who often led double lives as concubines, Deirdre Kelly goes on to review the troubled lives of 19th-century ballerinas, who lived in poverty and worked under torturous and even life-threatening conditions. In the 20th century, George Balanchine created a contradictory ballet culture that simultaneously idealized and oppressed ballerinas, and many of his dancers suffered from anorexia and bulimia or underwent cosmetic surgery to achieve the ideal ethereal form.”Editor’s review: This is one of the darker, more mature books. For a greater understanding of the history and symbol of the ballerina, this is a great read.


  • The Ballet Companion by Eliza Gaynor Minden”The Ballet Companion is a fresh, comprehensive, and thoroughly up-to-date reference book for the dancer. With 150 stunning photographs of ballet stars Maria Riccetto and Benjamin Millepied demonstrating perfect execution of positions and steps, this elegant volume brims with everything today’s dance student needs, including practical advice for getting started, such as selecting a school, making the most of class, and studio etiquette, explanations of ballet fundamentals and major training systems, an illustrated guide through ballet class — warm-up, barre, and center floor, guidelines for safe, healthy dancing through a sensible diet, injury prevention, and cross-training with yoga and Pilates, and descriptions of must-see ballets and glossaries of dance, music, and theater terms.”
  • Technical Manual And Dictionary of Classical Ballet by Gail Grant”From adagio to voyage, over 800 steps, movements, poses, and concepts are fully defined. A pronunciation guide and cross-references to alternate names for similar steps and positions that vary from the Russian to the French or Italian schools are also invaluable aids.”
  • Dance Anatomy by Jacqui Greene Haas”Dance Anatomy brings the relationship between muscle development and aesthetic movement to life with four-color illustrations. Step-by-step instructions convey proper form for 82 exercises arranged anatomically from the center outward, providing a view of how muscles contribute to improved technique, injury prevention, and artistic expression.”