Tag Archives: dance

Book Review: Ballet Basics

ballet basics book cover

Ballet Basics


Ballet Basics

by Sandra Noll Hammond


National Dance Week is April 22 – May 1

Ballet Basics was the book that was used for my college ballet class. It is similar to Jump into Jazz, the book I just reviewed, in terms of how it is organized. I have the fifth edition (2004), but there is probably something more recent by now.

Chapter 1: The Ballet Class – This chapter goes into all the different things a beginner would need to know, such as attire, music, posture, shoes, and the structure of the class.

Chapter 2: Ballet Technique: Barre Work – Barre exercises for the beginner are explained, with illustrations.

Chapter 3: Ballet Technique: Center Work – Ballet exercises away from the barre, (in the center of the room) are explained, including port de bras (carriage of the arms), arabesque (balancing poses where the leg is extended behind), connecting movements, and pirouettes and other turns.

Chapter 4: Ballet Technique: Allegro – Allegro is an Italian word that means fast and lively. In ballet, it applies to both quick little jumps (petite allegro) or larger jumps (grand allegro) that may look fairly simple but can be quite challenging to do well.

Chapter 5: The Ballet Body – Information on different types of exercise that complement ballet, injury prevention, and nutrition.

Chapter 6: The Ballet Profession – Information on performance, and opportunities for a career in dance.

Chapter 7: Ballet History – This is a very detailed chapter that traces the roots of ballet from the middle ages to the present time. I used this chapter as a basis for a research paper I wrote for my college dance appreciation class.

There are illustrations throughout of both male and female dancers, and the book is specifically designed for adult students


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Book Review: Jump into Jazz

Jump into Jazz book cover

Jump into Jazz

Jump into Jazz

by Minda Goodman Kraines

and Esther Pryor

National Dance Week is April 22-May 1


Jump into Jazz is the jazz dance textbook that I had in college. It is appropriate for beginner through intermediate. I have the fourth edition which is copyright 2001. I’m sure they have something more recent now. This book is divided into twelve chapters that cover pretty much anything that you would want to know.

Chapter 1: Basic attire, shoes, types of jazz dance, how to have a successful class.

Chapter 2: Basic body alignment

Chapter 3: Ballet exercises for jazz dancers. Although it’s not required at the recreational level, a lot of jazz dancers take an additional ballet class, as it’s very good for body alignment and can also be relaxing and promote awareness of different muscle groups. A lot of the time a jazz dance teacher will incorporate ballet exercises into the class, but they may practice them in parallel position instead of turned out.

Chapter 4, 5,6: Basic positions, warm-ups, basic jazz steps.

Chapter 7: More advanced steps.

Chapter 8: Information on musicality, staging, performing.

Chapter 9, 10: Fitness, injury prevention, and nutrition.

Chapter 11: Different jobs in the dance field.

Chapter 12: One of the most interesting chapters, a history of jazz dance.

All in all, this is a really well thought out book, one that you can keep for years. It has nice illustrations of both male and female dancers, and some photos of dancers performing as well.



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National Dance Week

National Dance Week


I’ve been involved in dance (at the recreational level) for most of my life, so I was interested to find out about National Dance Week. National Dance week is April 22-May 1 (nationaldanceweek.org). The National Dance Week Foundation is a non-profit organization that promotes dance through various programs and events. One of the things they do is promote dance mobs during dance week by providing choreography (in the form of a video) on their website. A dance mob is where people get out and perform a group dance routine somewhere in public, like a shopping mall. This year the song to perform to is “Better When I’m Dancing” Megan Trainor. The online video also includes a breakdown of the choreography, and you can also buy an official NDS t-shirt online, great for all the members of your dance mob.

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