Customer Reviews: Ballet 101: A Complete Guide to Learning and Loving the Ballet
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on December 5, 2005
Reading this book was a good learning experience -- the author, clearly, knows his stuff; at the same time, it's a bit awkward, hard to read (somewhat meandering, artificially florid, disjointed at times, with proofreading snafus -- for example, "graphein" is said to be a German word: obviously a typo made in haste) -- overall, I wish the writing were simpler, more to the point; it'd be great if an editor kneaded it all into a more graceful literary shape.

Recommended though: although the book can be improved, overall it's informative, quite good for a novice.

PS. When reading reviews on this page, please be careful to distinguish between bona-fide reviews by real readers and phony commercial blurbs by publishers' flunkeys who dishonestly use the amazon review capability to post advertizing copy here. A case in point, a review right above, by "D. Donovan, Editor/Sr. Reviewer": visit this person's reviews page and count the number of reviews posted in a single day. For example, on April 26, no less than forty (40!) reviews were added by this "reviewer", and so on, nearly every day, back to the beginning of time. No one can read forty books a day every day, to say nothing of reviewing them afterwards. I've discovered lately that this is a very widespread practice here. Beware! Not every reviewer posting something here is honest.
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on November 29, 1999
The book includes information from the very beginning of dance through many great ballets and into the present. There is an excellent videography at the end of the book as well as a glossary with all of the ballet terms.
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on June 8, 1999
Robert Greskovic brings a clarity and readability to a topic that is typically over-written. An excellent book no matter what the background of the reader. Greskovic's references to available videos makes it possible to experience what he is talking about.
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on April 28, 1999
A really nice history of ballet, with detailed chapters on key ballets. His comments are all referenced to videotapes of these ballets, so you can watch and read. The appendix with a list of the available ballet tapes is worth the price alone-- we read his comments and then search to order the tapes.
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on August 5, 2014
Way too complicated and wordy for an intro to ballet. More like a history of ballet. Don't buy this if you are looking for a nice easy basic intro to ballet. It is like a thesis. Maybe suitable only for serious students of ballet.
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on July 15, 2004
This book is proof that a good editor can make all the difference. This might have been a great guide, but unfortunately its editor let it wander off in the wrong direction.

There's no question that Robert Greskovic knows what he's talking about. He is a talented writer with charm and all manner of neat little anecdotes. But the problem with this book is how he spends his time.

The book is 600 pages long, but regrettably half of it is composed of cheesy "let-me-walk-you-through-it-and-tell-you-what-you're-seeing" descriptions of twelve famous ballets available for home viewing on videotape. Some 300 pages of that stuff.

The remaining 300 pages, though, are very interesting. In fact, in reading that first half of the book, you will get a very good idea of the history of ballet, and the names of its major shapers, stars, and proponents. Also, the glossary at the end of the book is both clear and generous.

All in all, this book doesn't really come through on its promise. It's sort of an encyclopedia article on the history of ballet worldwide glued onto "Leonard Maltin Goes to the Ballet." And the whole notion of teaching readers how to go to the ballet and appreciate it sort of gets left in the wings.
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on March 8, 2010
I note that the laudatory blurbs on this atrocious book's jacket are drawn from professional dance critics, who may perhaps be excused for overlooking the fact that this book is putatively pitched toward newcomers to the art of Ballet. They are themselves experts, after all. The author, however, cannot be thus excused; he has produced a rarefied book that will be unreadable to most genuine newcomers, and that is singularly unedifying to this newcomer.

Consider this sentence plucked nearly at random from the beginning of chapter 5: "Charles-Louis Diderlot (1767-1837), half French, half Swedish, studied and worked under a variety of the eighteenth century's ballet innovators, including Noverre, Dauberval, and both Gaëtan and Auguste Vestris." Two questions immediately arise. 1) Are the names Noverre, Dauberval, or Gaëtan and Auguste Vestris supposed to mean anything to a likely reader of a book of this title? 2) Assuming that they do not, what is the reader supposed to learn and retain about the unfamiliar name of Diderlot through its immediate juxtaposition with four additional unfamiliar names?

Huh. I guess a bunch of people who were really famous a few centuries ago worked together ... too bad I can't remember any of their names.

This sentence is highly typical; the entire book is written with this degree of thoughtlessness. The author breathlessly drops names without context or clarification, and technical terms are used throughout without introduction or explanation. Indeed, the book lacks a basic overview of the technical terminology -- something that one might find useful in a book advertising itself as a complete introduction.

The author may be a fine critic (I do not know), but this book warrants a wide berth.
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on October 2, 2013
A Complete Guide to Learning and Loving Ballet also was given as a gift to my younger granddaughter when she was studying ballet. She also found this book very interesting and informative.
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on May 14, 2016
Discuss ballet in a sophisticated way free of jargon.
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on March 15, 2015
Very Good
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