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 book tells the extraordinary story of how Mabinty Bangura from Sierra Leone survived war, famine, cruelty and prejudice to end up dancing with Dutch National Ballet under the name Michaela DePrince.

Born in Sierra Leone, DePrince saw and suffered things that no-one, let alone a child, should experience, from the brutality and misogyny of her own uncle who virtually sold her, to witnessing the murder and mutilation of a beloved school teacher. It is sometimes hard to believe that she really remembers all the conversations that she records (she was so very young at the time), but there is an immediacy about her account that is gripping. (more…)