Ancona, George Ole! Flamenco
Gr. 4–6 48 pp. Lee 2010
Flamenco student Janira and her classmates learn an “art that goes back a long, long time.” Ancona’s narration skillfully paces Janira’s preparation for performance with the history of flamenco, encompassing music, song, and dance, and the inextricably connected history of the Roma. Accompanying photographs capture the dancers’ and musical accompanists’ expressive bodies and faces mid-gesture. Bib., glos.
Subjects: Performing Arts; Dance; Romany
Friedman, Lise Becoming a Ballerina: A Nutcracker Story
Gr. 4–6 48 pp. Viking 2012
Photographs by Mary Dowdle. This photo-essay follows young Boston Ballet student Fiona as she auditions for the role of Clara in The Nutcracker, wins the part, and prepares for her performance. Crisp color photographs document the ballet company onstage and behind the scenes. Young dancers will be entranced by the rehearsal, costuming, and staging details; Nutcracker fans will treasure this intimate view of a holiday tradition.
Subjects: Performing Arts; Dance—Ballet; Boston (MA)
Greenberg, Jan and Jordan, Sandra Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring
Gr. K–3 48 pp. Roaring Brook/Flash Point/Porter 2010
Illustrated by Brian Floca. After choreographer Martha Graham asked composer Aaron Copland and sculptor/set designer Isamu Noguchi to collaborate with her on a new ballet, the iconic Appalachian Spring was born. Using spare, concise sentences, the authors echo Graham’s approach to dance: nothing’s wasted, and in such exactness lies beauty. Floca’s fluid, energetic line and watercolor illustrations also reflect the plain boldness of Graham’s choreography. Websites. Bib.
Subjects: Performing Arts; Dance—Ballet; Composers; Choreographers; Graham, Martha; Women—Biographies; Biographies; Women—Choreographers; Noguchi, Isamu; Copland, Aaron; Artists
Williams, Ann-Marie Learn to Speak Dance: A Guide to Creating, Performing, & Promoting Your Moves
Gr. 4–6 96 pp. Owlkids 2011
Illustrated by Jeff Kulak. This DIY guide gives a brief introduction to dance as a hobby or career. Topics range from choreography and performance to self-promotion and landing gigs. Sophisticated concepts and accurate terminology are presented clearly and accessibly. Quotes from established dancers/choreographers, recommended videos, and an appended overview of nine dance styles encourage further exploration. Angular spot art illustrates the text. Ind.
Subjects: Performing Arts; Dance
Winter, Jonah Jazz Age Josephine
Gr. K–3 40 pp. Atheneum (Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing) 2012
Illustrated by Marjorie Priceman. Blues-reminiscent rhymes tell the story of the dance and civil rights icon Josephine Baker’s climb from penurious St. Louis childhood to Jazz Age–era fame in France. Winter finds the right way to introduce an unconventional, groundbreaking artist to a young readership; Priceman’s gouache and ink illustrations energetically dance on the page. An author’s note further details Baker’s accomplishments.
Subjects: Individual Biographies; Baker, Josephine; Women—Dancers; Dance; Race relations; Paris (France); Women—Biographies; African Americans; Women—African Americans; St. Louis (MO); Music—Jazz
From the January 2013 issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book.