If I had to recommend just one book to a vocational dance student, it would be Ballet: The Essential Guide to Technique and Creative Practice.  In ten chapters, each written by an expert, the book covers the full range of material of which anyone embarking on a career in ballet needs understanding and awareness. 

The structure takes the reader logically from Ginny Brown’s and Anna Meadmore’s opening chapters on  ballet’s founding principles, cultural history and heritage, though the practical aspects of learning to dance, self-care, creativity and musicality, and on to guidance on the professional conduct, conventions and essential activities that all help bring a performance from the studio to the stage.

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In life, Sarah Lamb’s Giselle is swift and airborne with a restrained diffidence; in death, those qualities transform her into a ghostly and ethereal apparition.  As a Wili, her cool manner enhances the otherworldly feel of her dancing, although in the first act last night she did not completely convince me that she was a peasant girl driven mad by the shock of betrayal and I wasn’t quite sure that she had actually killed herself, rather than dying of a broken heart. (more…)