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 beautiful book of images, philosophical musings, conversations and ‘performance texts’ celebrates the work of the company Mal Pelo, a dance collaboration between María Muñoz and Pep Ramis. It represents a ‘pause’ in a creative process that sees performance as a ‘stage on the way rather than a final destination’, and readers will either buy into this concept or not.

The approach is serious, reflective and introspective, and behind the flowery prose there is a genuine desire to capture and record a creative process. It is also undeniably puzzling. The binding has a beautiful image of a horse wrapped around the spine from front to back cover: ‘Horses swim only rarely, perhaps when faced with some danger. In extreme situations we demand the impossible of ourselves …’ we are told, perhaps rather sententiously. (more…)