This volume covers a year in the lives of three dancers at the Royal Ballet School - from auditions to first ballet classes and on to the excitement of the end-of-term show. The focus is on the dancers, their day-to-day training and the challenge of the climb to stardom.
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Jessel (The Kitten Book, 1992, etc.) views a typical year in the life of pupils at England's Royal Ballet School, from successful audition to daily training for what most of them hope will be stardom somewhere on the international ballet stage. Full-color photographs appear in every spread-length chapter; these move briskly and topically from challenge to challenge. The constant message of the informative text is that dance is very hard work indeed and only the best among dedicated dancers achieve their goals. These athletes must have ``the right physique and a deep sensitivity to music''; they must be eager to learn, but practical about their prospects. That realistic attitude is all but missing from most volumes on dance for this audience, and it serves to point up the heroic striving of this book's subjects as they gain skill and strength in awkward, often painful body positions and movements, while also undertaking school and other sports. The final shots of costumed dancers onstage is nevertheless inspiring, making this excellent book the one that supportive adults will press into the arms of the artistic aspirants they care about most deeply. (glossary) (Nonfiction. 7-11) -- Copyright ©2000, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From School Library Journal:
Grade 3-7-This attractive, lavishly illustrated volume presents life at England's Royal Ballet School, from auditions to classes to summer performances. The focus is on dance; there are only two pages on academics and pupils' recreation, and nothing about the boarding-school environment. Though ballet lovers will be fascinated by both the text and full-color photos, this offering gives just enough information to whet their appetites-much more is left unsaid. The book is not well organized, and a two-page spread on the history of dance is ludicrously abbreviated and unnecessary. In the end, Ballet School is a curiosity. It doesn't introduce readers to dance technique, like Darcey Bussell's The Young Dancer (DK, 1994). Nor does it cover the history of the art form and famous ballets, choreographers, and dancers, like Kate Castle's Ballet (Kingfisher 1996). Jessel's Life at the Royal Ballet School (Methuen, 1979) is a far more thorough and satisfying treatment, even though it is less visually appealing than this new title.
Ann W. Moore, Schenectady County Public Library, NY
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