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Like "Opera 101", its successful predecessor, "Ballet 101" takes an already popular yet sometimes intimidating subject and makes it accessible and understandable for everyone. Noted dance critic and teacher Robert Greskovic has written an entertaining, reader-friendly book that provides everything the novice needs to learn and to enjoy the ballet .
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Robert Greskovic's enthusiasm for ballet is infectious. The combination of ideal bodies moving into wondrous shapes, beautiful music, and often fantastic sets and costumes makes it, in his opinion, a near perfect art form. Still, many art lovers who regularly visit museums and galleries and think nothing of an evening at the opera or theater practically panic at the thought of sitting through a ballet. Ballet 101 should ease those people's fears. Greskovic starts off with a lively but solid history of ballet, then covers the training of a dancer. These two elements alone offer an excellent foundation for understanding what's going on on-stage. The book also includes clear information about the logistics of a performance--from the conductor's arrival in the orchestra pit to the final curtain call, no pique, glissade, or arabesque is left unexplained. After covering these basics, Greskovic examines 14 ballets in great detail--most are classics like Les Sylphides, but a number of modern treasures like Balanchine's Apollo are also covered. For readers yearning to take in more dance than their local ballet company offers in a season, the book includes an extensive videography as well as excellent suggestions for further reading. The tone of Ballet 101 is serious without being dry and informative without being condescending--a great find for anyone anxious to learn more about this often under-appreciated art form.From Publishers Weekly:
"There are no rules to making your way through the world of ballet," writes Greskovic in his valuable introduction to the form. There may be no rules, but a little guidance is a good thing, and Greskovic makes a fine Virgil to a hapless Dante. A dance teacher and critic, Greskovic goes far beyond the bluffers' guides that have come before. He begins with a sketch of ballet's historical roots in the courts of Europe, highlighting key characters and influences, partnerships and rivalries, and thereby shows the crucial influence of earlier people and practices on current performance. This sets the stage for an overview of the roles traditionally played by men and women, the various stages a ballet goes through before the performance and an explanation of how to view the structures of the dance and recognize standard movements and positions. Armed with the fundamentals, the reader can see that "ballet is an art of standards and traditions that need room to grow but not license to alter arbitrarily." In the final third of the book, he takes the reader on a guided tour of a dozen of ballet's most popular and significant works, recommending available videos for the critical visual and aural experience. In very straightforward, engaging prose bolstered always by research and understanding, Greskovic demystifies what can seem?especially if you listen to its more jealous adherents?to be an esoteric art form.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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