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The Joffrey Ballet School's Ballet-Fit Paperback – February 15, 1999
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Ballet-Fit is for the adult beginner ballet student, "whether 17 or 70." The authors admit the atmosphere in most ballet studios can be a bit intimidating, but say it needn't be.
We concede that if you hang around your local ballet school or dance studio, at first glance, it probably will seem to be filled with long-legged, lean-limbed adolescents, with tight little hair buns, stern little faces, and rumpled leg warmers around their ankles. But ... chances are the 23-year-old stretching on the floor isn't a budding ballerina but a law student who finds beginning ballet a relaxing break from her books. As for the thirty-something woman at the barre, very likely she's a new mother who's thrilled with the stronger, firmer, more flexible body she has developed since she began classes.A combination of confidence-boosting ballet instruction and fitness facts, with plenty of photographs (although all in black and white), Ballet-Fit offers a multitude of tips for beginners. You'll learn what to wear to class, the best way to break in a new pair of pointe shoes, and how to prevent injuries. And you'll even learn the proper pronunciation of the French dance terms, from arabesque to temps de flèche. For folks who don't live near a ballet studio or dancewear store, there's a helpful directory of magazines, catalogs, videos, audiotapes, and Web sites.
Ballerinas, as dancer Allegra Kent put it, "have the strongest, most beautiful, and very probably the most envied bodies in the world." With Ballet-Fit and some dedication, you can work your way toward becoming a toned, flexible balletomane, too. --Erica Jorgensen
From Library Journal
Ballet dancers are different from you and me. They start taking class in childhood and continue throughout their professional careers and often into retirement. They devote years to study, rehearsal, and practice. This book is for the rest of us. The authors, a Joffrey Ballet School instructor and a magazine editor who is a ballet student, have designed it for those "not heading for a performing career but...pursuing ballet with the...goals of fitness, relaxation, and pleasure in mind." Aimed at the adult beginner, it provides sensible advice and clear explanations of what to expect in and from a ballet class. The language of ballet is translated into lay terms and the movements are described in words and photographs. There is a step-by-step outline of a home ballet workout, a discussion of pointe work, and a chapter of frequently asked adult ballet questions. A "Ballet Fitness Source Directory" highlights publications, audiovisual materials, dancewear and footwear suppliers, schools receptive to adult students, and more. Highly recommended for all public libraries.?Carolyn M. Mulac, Chicago P.L.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
As for myself, I took ballet for two years as a child and always wanted to continue in it (my parents couldn't afford it). Now I do warm-ups and exercises in my own home when my sons nap about 5 days a week for an hour each. This book has helped add more to my daily routine. I hope to one day be able to take lessons, but this book is very helpful and specific to the adult beginner.
I bought the book thinking I would exercise at home. The book can serve for that, but it is far more centered on getting you into class. The authors emphasize that, yes, to be a professional dancer you have to start young, but ballet has tangible benefits no matter what age you start. It is written to make you aware that there are a lot of schools that have adult classes and to get you over the threshold. It spends a good deal of time talking away all the reasons why you think you can't do this. It talks in a straightforward, no-nonsense way about what to expect: dress, shoes, typical class programs. Some schools hold more to ritual than others: it spends some time on class etiquette. And since ballet is "in French," it has a chapter on "language": the different positions - feet and hands - and movements, from stage one (plie, tendu), to more complex (battement tendu jete, rond de jambe), with careful guidance to how they are done.
The Joffrey is known for its professional program, but it also takes its adult beginners very seriously. As I mentioned, I did not buy the book expecting to take classes, but the Joffrey is walking distance from my home in New York, and one of the two authors, Dena Simone Moss, teaches adult elementary.
I would add my vote to my teacher's view, hers formed over long experience, that to get into ballet you really do need to be in class. The individual positions and movements, those in beginning class at least, are not physically difficult, but there are countless ways to head just a little off the rails. It needs a mature eye.