Two years has passed since our last list of recommendations for Christmas gifts for the dance lovers in your life (check it out here); time for another round-up of fascinating and enjoyable reads featured by Oxford Dance Writers, to ease your Christmas shopping travails or request for your own Christmas stocking… Special thanks to Maggie Watson whose many informative and insightful reviews will help you choose the ideal gift…

First up a couple of recent books to enthuse and inform aspiring dancers and balletomanes – perfect Christmas presents:

The Ballet Lover’s Companion, by Zoë Anderson. Yale University Press, 2015

Zoë Anderson has compiled 140 ballets in a comprehensive survey of the repertoire, organised historically and geographically.  A sumptuous and enjoyable gift; read Maggie Watson’s review here. You can buy this book here (more…)

This thought-provoking volume is an edited collection of papers and presentations from the conference Ballet, Why and How? Illuminating the role of ballet in the vocational education and the professional life of today’s dancer, held in Holland in 2012. In her introduction Gaby Allard of the editorial board movingly describes her own experience as a dancer transitioning from ballet to contemporary dance, her realisation of being “locked in” to her balletic bodily practice, and her search for new knowledge and approaches. The conference addressed the need she perceives for the on-going work of research and innovation in “best practice” that is integral to dance culture to be shared in dialogue, here specifically considering “the position and value of classical technique for the dancer today” (Allard in Brown & Vos edit. 2014, p.20).  A wide range of speakers with differing perspectives including historians, pedagogues, psychologists, practitioners and dance scientists contributed, to build a revealing picture of the current state of the art. (more…)