Ballet in Print: Raising the Barre

RaisingtheBarreAnyone who knows me knows that it doesn’t take much for me to quickly have my fill of all things Nutcracker. So I couldn’t have been more surprised than to absolutely love Raising the Barre: Big Dreams, False Starts, and My Midlife Quest to Dance the Nutcracker, chronicling the author’s crusade to dance with a professional company in Nut after being deterred from the profession years ago as a child (by a teacher who’s name most of you will recognize.) Lauren Kessler is a fabulous writer, and on this journey she takes every advantage of the humor and drama that come along with her goal.

What makes this book so great a read for a dancer in training for the profession – aside from the very funny and thoughtful philosophies she points out about what we do – is the candid and fascinating insight into the mind of a ballet fan. Balletomane is an out of fashion word, but it absolutely applies to Kessler and the many devotees that consistently support the art – your future fan base, if there is to be one for ballet. And to learn how they view dancers, the ballet, dance companies, and what dancers are is nothing short of invaluable for someone who does or hopes to one day create that art. Her love and passion for understanding how and what professional dancers’ do what they do leaps off the page.

Raising the Barre is just the right prescription whether you’re burned out from performance (especially Nutcracker!) or just need some new fresh motivation to tackle your never-ending classes. This is actually one of the most interesting and entertaining books I’ve read about the ballet world, and I have definitely read way too many. Pretty surprising that it was written by someone from outside of the ballet world, though she’s certainly in it now!

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Dancewear en l’air: Boxy Cropped Cover-Up

productcojocaru13I think this is the first time I’ve posted two similar articles in a row… but I’ve waited too long to show you Cloud & Victory! I’m so in love with their spring/summer 2014 collection I could bust – Do yourself a favor and check out all their shirts and skirts, as seen on such inimitable luminaries as Joy Womack of American at the Bolshoi fame.

I’ve chosen their Cojocaru cropped cover-up because it absolutely embodies the effortless style of dancers. It’s made of soft Tencel to slide over your skin luxuriously, and this version’s print is inspired by gorgeous Alina Cojocaru to give you your day’s inspiration.

Have a dress code that requires coverups between classes? This is the perfect solution to stay breezy cool after a long sweaty class. This top would look completely fabulous over a tank or camisole leotard for the wide neck to show off your beautiful shoulders. Add one of their lovely lace skirts and voilà, you have an ensemble fit for a dancer of the Paris Opera. I would even throw this on for coffee or shopping. So chic!

 

Ballet in Print: Girl in Motion (with a sneak peek!)

Miriam Wenger-Landis, former professional dancer with Miami City Ballet, published a lovely novel this year for young dancers called Girl in Motion. This book chronicles the experiences of small-town girl Anna, a very talented young dancer who has been accepted to the year-round program at the fictional School of Ballet New York after attending their summer intensive.

Miriam Wenger-Landis trained at SAB as a young dancer and is able to use those experiences to write believably and compellingly about Anna’s world. Thanks to Dance Spirit Magazine, you can read two excerpts of Girl in Motion online – Part 1 was published on their site in September, and part 2 will be available next month!