BALLET SCHOOL by Camilla Jessel


What It Takes to Make a Dancer
Age Range: 7 - 11
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Jessel (The Kitten Book, 1992, etc.) views a typical year in the life of pupils at England’s Royal Ballet School, from successful audition to daily training for what most of them hope will be stardom somewhere on the international ballet stage. Full-color photographs appear in every spread-length chapter; these move briskly and topically from challenge to challenge. The constant message of the informative text is that dance is very hard work indeed and only the best among dedicated dancers achieve their goals. These athletes must have “the right physique and a deep sensitivity to music”; they must be eager to learn, but practical about their prospects. That realistic attitude is all but missing from most volumes on dance for this audience, and it serves to point up the heroic striving of this book’s subjects as they gain skill and strength in awkward, often painful body positions and movements, while also undertaking school and other sports. The final shots of costumed dancers onstage is nevertheless inspiring, making this excellent book the one that supportive adults will press into the arms of the artistic aspirants they care about most deeply. (glossary) (Nonfiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-670-88628-9
Page count: 64pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 1999