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The Picture-Book Club > February 2015: Dance (Discuss Our Club Reads Here)

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message 1: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)


message 2: by SamZ (new)

SamZ (samwisezbrown) | 220 comments Yay! Excited to read these with my little dancer.


message 3: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 5753 comments Mod
I started dancing ballet at age nine and continued until college, dabbling in other forms of dance along the way. As an adult, I've taken dance classes when they've fit my schedule (and when I've been able to afford them!). I love dancing!!! Now, I mostly dance around the house with my toddler ;-)

I first read Tallulah's Tutu in 2011 when I was teaching ballet class and I really wish it had come to our library just a few weeks sooner so I could have shared it with our 5-year-old students that year because I'm sure they would have loved it. Here is my review:

A sweet story about what it means to really be a dancer. Tallulah wants to dance because she longs to wear a tutu--but a tutu does not a dancer make! When she realizes what hard work it is, she isn't sure she wants to continue. Yet, dance becomes so much a part of her she finds herself doing ballet steps at home, in the grocery store...everywhere! The resolution is very sweet and satisfactory and it's nice to see a ballet book that doesn't make it too cutesy (it does say it is hard work!) but also doesn't really delve into deeper competition/rivalries and other aspects that really serious young dancers might have to face. I also appreciated the fact that there is a boy in Tallulah's class and though she finds that odd at first, she quickly and easily accepts him as part of the class. (And it's very cute how her little brother tries to do ballet at home, too.) Also, real ballet steps are incorporated skillfully into the text. (And, PS, the illustrations are adorable!)


message 4: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 5753 comments Mod
Max I remember this book made a big impression on me as a kid because it showed that boys can dance--and enjoy dancing--and that dance is even beneficial for sports. This was in the '80s so it was before Michael Flatley came into our living rooms as Lord of the Dance and well before we saw major sports stars like Emmitt Smith and Jerry Rice cha-cha-cha-ing their way to Mirror Ball trophies on "So You Think You Can Dance." Sadly, dance (especially ballet) was still mostly considered girls' territory and any boy who wanted to dance was "sissy" when we were kids (my parents did not promote this view, and we didn't believe it, but it was prevalent amongst kids we knew and a few dads in our circle would have been horrified if their sons wanted to take ballet classes). I wonder, has it changed now that dance is on network TV more, with shows such as "So You Think You Can Dance" showing truly talented male dancers in a variety of genres, or the aforementioned DWTS and the male sports stars showing that dance takes talent, athleticism and determination such as one would use on the field? I hope so. Especially because I have a son, and I want him to grow up and feel that he can dance without judgement if he wants to.

Anyway, waiting for my copy of Max to arrive so I can reread it. Maybe it's a little dated now, I don't know. I hope it's still great. Rachel Isadora does wonderful dance books, she really has a great sense of that world.


message 5: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 7198 comments Mod
Kathryn wrote: "Max I remember this book made a big impression on me as a kid because it showed that boys can dance--and enjoy dancing--and that dance is even beneficial for sports. This was in the..."

My library does not have this book, and although I requested it through ILL, it seems that the speed of ILL has changed and now, not only can you only have five requests per month, the requests usually take a month to process, sometimes even longer (kind of annoying, sigh).

The negative attitude towards men who dance is also prevalent still towards men who figure skate or men who ride dressage (and it's not even just that men who dance, who figure skate, who ride dressage are often considered "sissy" they are actually often assumed to automatically be homosexual). I read a generally quite good YA book a few years ago about a teenage boy from BC who discovers his love for dressage riding (but I found it kind of annoying that the boy also came "out of the closet" and that his two male dressage coaches and basically most of the males riding dressage were homosexual or rumored to be homosexual). Kind of off topic I know, but still.


message 6: by Cheryl is busier irl atm., Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl is busier irl atm. (cherylllr) | 6245 comments Mod
I remember Max well. I don't recall anything that would make it feel dated. There will always be more girls than boys in ballet class, so even as acceptance grows, this will remain relevant, I believe.


message 7: by Denise (new)

Denise Gruzensky | 17 comments Hello my name is Denise and I'm excited to join this Picture book reading club/discussions. I'm updating my reading list right now.


message 8: by Cheryl is busier irl atm., Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl is busier irl atm. (cherylllr) | 6245 comments Mod
Welcome!


message 9: by Denise (new)

Denise Gruzensky | 17 comments Thanks! Are we suppose to read in the listed order?


message 10: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 7198 comments Mod
Denise wrote: "Thanks! Are we suppose to read in the listed order?"

No, and you don't have to read all of the books either, just the ones that appeal to you or the ones you have (or can get from the library). This is a friendly book discussion and (thankfully) not like school.


message 11: by Cheryl is busier irl atm., Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl is busier irl atm. (cherylllr) | 6245 comments Mod
Well, I've never danced or even seen a ballet. I have admired the dancers at a couple of interpretive dance programs at collge; that's about it. So I'll, no doubt, have an entirely different take on the books than Kathryn.

Swine Lake just didn't work for me. Maybe Marshall died before he could pull the text together - it reads more like an outline here. The pictures are fun, and really help the story make more sense... but again, in my personal opinion, they aren't enough to make this book appealing. I'm giving it 3 stars (not 2) because I like some of the details ("Pigs do fly" N.Y. Times," the Old-Fashioned Bookstore going out of business signs, the wolf's landlady....).


message 12: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 5753 comments Mod
Denise wrote: "Hello my name is Denise and I'm excited to join this Picture book reading club/discussions. I'm updating my reading list right now."

Welcome, Denise! As Gundula said, no need to read them in order; just read any/all of our selected books this month in whatever order you like and comment when/if you feel like it! ;-) Glad to have you aboard.


message 13: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 5753 comments Mod
Gundula wrote: "The negative attitude towards men who dance is also prevalent still towards men who figure skate or men who ride dressage (and it's not even just that men who dance, who figure skate, who ride dressage are often considered "sissy" they are actually often assumed to automatically be homosexual). "

True. So sad that this attitude remains, though I think/hope it's a little less than it was when I was a kid. I know, for example, they have some boy hip-hop classes at dance studios now; I'm sure most of these boys would still be teased if they went to ballet, but at least they are dancing!

And, yes, Cheryl, good point that there will always be more girls than boys in dance classes--and no doubt most boys would much rather be out playing ball or whatever than dancing so I'm glad for books like Max that show it's perfectly okay to do both ;-)


message 14: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 5753 comments Mod
So, I just read Max again for the first time as an adult and I just loved it! It is even more special than I remembered because it is not heavy-handed with its "message." Although Max is, at first, not excited about ballet class nothing is made of him being a boy--he simply isn't that interested, until he actually goes inside and watches the dancing. Then, he is captivated! ;-) I love that the teacher invites him to join, baseball uniform and all (just had to take off those sneakers!) and that he takes to the movement with such unabashed joy. Love the ending! It's great that he loves ballet *and* baseball and finds a way to pursue both interests (I know that many athletes, even ballplayers, actually do take ballet classes to help them with balance and flexibility, though I don't think it's a great love for most of them, so I was glad to see Max enjoyed dance for dance's sake not just as a means to help his game). Let's just hope he isn't late for his game next time, though! ;-p

The illustrations are such a delight! Even though they are black and white, I feel they just radiate warmth, motion and joy. Love all the ballet steps incorporated. Love the little ballet outfits (only gripe is it looks as if the girls are wearing pointe shoes and little girls of that age should not be wearing pointe shoes--granted we never see them "en pointe" (on their toes) so they may be soft-soled shoes but they do look like point shoes and might make some little dancers wistful for their own pair!) So amazing that this book came out in 1976! It's notable, too, that one of the ballerinas is an African American girl; great to see that in a book of this decade. Rachel Isadora really was ahead of her time in a lot of regards. I still think this book would be enjoyable for both boys and girls today who love to dance.


message 15: by Jenny (new)

Jenny | 722 comments Fancy Nancy: Budding Ballerina Fancy Nancy and her friend Bree are learning ballet. She knows how to pirouette, jete, and plié. Her dad does NOT know how to dance ballet. So Fancy Nancy has the stupendous idea to teach him.

Cute story but not a true standout to me. Perhaps because there are so many Fancy Nancy books....I absolutely loved the original Fancy Nancy...and Nancy is still cute and precocious. But I have read enough for me. My 6 year old loves them though.


message 16: by Jenny (new)

Jenny | 722 comments Tallulah's Tutu. I loved this!

Nice book for talking about determination and grit.

Tallulah wants a tutu. In order to get one, she must learn ballet. She begins attending ballet class and she is certain that she is such a good dancer that she will get her tutu after only one class. When she doesn't get it after the first class or the second or even the third....she is discouraged and thinks she should quit. Will her love for ballet overcome her frustration or will her discouragement cause her to give up something she loves?

Nice illustrations, includes quite a few ballet terms but used in a way that those unfamiliar with ballet will have a pretty good idea what they mean. Also, I appreciate that a boy is in her class. She seems surprised by that, and perhaps some readers will be upset that she giggles about him not getting a tutu...but I think it is a realistic reaction from a young child. We have had the local ballet company perform at our school in past years, and many students are surprised that there are men in the company.

We are able to have a grant at our school so that we have a dance teacher at our school and have dance 30 minutes per week for 1/2 of the year. It is wonderful. Some of the boys (and a few girls) are reluctant to dance. Some never get over their embarrassment and discomfort, but for many it is their favorite part of the week. It is more modern dance and dance principles...


message 17: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (last edited Feb 02, 2015 06:57PM) (new)

Kathryn | 5753 comments Mod
Jenny wrote: "We are able to have a grant at our school so that we have a dance teacher at our school and have dance 30 minutes per week for 1/2 of the year. It is wonderful. Some of the boys (and a few girls) are reluctant to dance. Some never get over their embarrassment and discomfort, but for many it is their favorite part of the week. It is more modern dance and dance principles..."

Oh, how wonderful! I'm so glad the children have this opportunity. It sometimes seems to me that a love of dance is innate in us, since it's such a part of cultures from times long past to today. And yet, I know some children and adults (both male and female) who do not like to dance. I wonder if this is because they were made fun of as kids, or whether they simply don't enjoy it. Some of these people do enjoy watching dance, though. Music is also something "innate" -- that said, I love music but I don't have an interest in learning a musical instrument. Isn't it great we all have diverse passions--makes the world interesting! ;-)

And, yes, I think you're right about the boy and the tutu in Tallulah's story. It does seem like a genuine response in this case. And, after all, the point of the story is that you can be a dancer without a fancy tutu ;->


message 18: by Jenny (new)

Jenny | 722 comments I don't particularly love to dance although I love to watch dancers perform. Or to be more precise, I feel self conscious when it is a dance with specific moves because I tend to be uncoordinated and it seems to take me longer to learn the steps than others and I make many mistakes. But the dance that we do at school that is less structured is very enjoyable to me...it doesn't feel like you are doing it "right" or "wrong". It is such a great opportunity for students...some that struggle in math or reading find it a place where they are very successful and can shine and be themselves. And our dance teachers incorporates many of the concepts we are studying into her instruction. For example, today we learned about how shadows are created (science) and then created shadows with our bodies. I really, really love that my students (most of whom don't get those opportunities outside of school) get to dance.


message 19: by Ronyell (new)

Ronyell (rabbitearsblog) | 213 comments Awesome! Can't wait to check these out!


message 20: by Mili (new)

Mili Fay | 65 comments If it was not for the poll message, I might have missed this. Just ordered every book (except Fancy Nancy, which is not available for some reason) from the Toronto Public Library. Can't wait! I love dancing, though I'm pretty terrible at it, so this should be fun. :-D


message 21: by Jenn (new)

Jenn C | 2 comments Mili wrote: "If it was not for the poll message, I might have missed this. Just ordered every book (except Fancy Nancy, which is not available for some reason) from the Toronto Public Library. Can't wait! I l..."

What is the world coming to when TPL doesn't have a book!? ;)


message 22: by Jenn (last edited Feb 03, 2015 08:34AM) (new)

Jenn C | 2 comments I've also ordered all but Max (which my library doesn't carry, unfortunately) - a shame, really, since I love Rachel Isadora's books.

I'm new to this group but I love picture books! ;) I don't have any of my own little ones to share with but I borrow other people's! I do children's programming at my local library, currently the under 2's group.


message 23: by Cheryl is busier irl atm., Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl is busier irl atm. (cherylllr) | 6245 comments Mod
Fancy Nancy: Budding Ballerina was the right book for me to read right now, somehow. I never pick this series up on my own, so I'm not yet saturated with her antics. (I read them in groups like this.) I've tried to learn ballroom and other dances, and I totally empathize with the dad in this, and would love to be a student with him in Nancy's class. I think any child who needs more patience than a real class would benefit from this story. We're not hopeless; we just don't catch on as quickly as instructors expect us to.


message 24: by Jenny (new)

Jenny | 722 comments Cheryl, I really appreciated Naughty Toes for similar reasons...I, too, am not hopeless but don't catch on as quickly as many.


message 25: by Cheryl is busier irl atm., Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl is busier irl atm. (cherylllr) | 6245 comments Mod
Oh that looks cute! Tx for the rec!


message 26: by Cheryl is busier irl atm., Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl is busier irl atm. (cherylllr) | 6245 comments Mod
The Scarecrow's Dance bemuses me. Sure, it's beautiful. But the moral? (view spoiler) Do kids understand it? If they do, do they like it?


message 27: by Jenny (new)

Jenny | 722 comments The Scarecrow's Dance. I interpreted this differently, Cheryl. I didn't think it was sad at all...peaceful and beautiful. I loved the poetry as well as the illustrations. And the message I got was that finding a purpose for your life brings meaning and direction. That finding that purpose allows you to maybe give up things in order to do something better. For example, giving up sleep to rock your baby. Giving up a hobby ...at least temporarily...to pursue a career that you love. Life is about making choices and no one can do EVERYTHING...but when you find what you really, really love or what you feel you are meant to do, it makes it easier to give up things that you like...especially if you feel like what you are doing is making your own life and others' richer. Having recently read several books about Martin Luther King, Jr., it reminds me of him... He gave up a lot including his own safety and eventually even his life to work for a cause he believed in. It certainly was a sacrifice...but because he had found a purpose, it was worth it.

Now as to whether young children will grasp either of those implications or interpretations, I am unsure. I don't think my kids did entirely. But they thought it was nice that the scarecrow was helping the little boy.


message 28: by Cheryl is busier irl atm., Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl is busier irl atm. (cherylllr) | 6245 comments Mod
Ah... Good points, Jenny. Thank you for explaining so carefully. I agree that your children probably got enough out of it, for now.

Perhaps it's more likely that adults (like me) will see the downside that I did, because we've made more difficult choices and have lived longer with 'what might have been' musings.


message 29: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 5753 comments Mod
Jenny wrote: " But the dance that we do at school that is less structured is very enjoyable to me...it doesn't feel like you are doing it "right" or "wrong". "

That sounds great! I actually take Zumba class now, it's the only "dance" class that fits my schedule and budget right now and we have an amazing teacher who is a truly talented dancer and choreographer. But, it is really fun and freeing after years of structured classes (which I loved, too, but there was definitely a "right" and "wrong" way to do things).

I really enjoyed the book Deer Dancer because it shows how the little girl just dances in nature, creating her own movements to mirror the deer. It feels very free. Reminds me of how my toddler dances. I love that spirit!


message 30: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 5753 comments Mod
Jenn wrote: "I'm new to this group but I love picture books! ;) I don't have any of my own little ones to share with but I borrow other people's! I do children's programming at my local library, currently the under 2's group."

Glad to have you aboard, Jenn! I didn't have a little one of my own when I fell back in love with picture books and started this club, so I know what you mean ;-)


message 31: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (last edited Feb 04, 2015 07:03PM) (new)

Kathryn | 5753 comments Mod
Swine Lake was just okay for me. Like Cheryl said, perhaps Marshall wasn't able to really polish the story. Too bad. The premise was okay it just seemed rather meandering and not very inventive in the telling. The illustrations, while not my favorite style (or favorite Sendak), did lend a lot to the story and I appreciated all the little details and humor. I did like that it showed what it is like to attend a fancy professional ballet performance; and that the wolf was unwittingly carried away by the performance and moved to dance himself. (Sensitive children might be a little nervous or upset by the first half of the book, though, when the wolf plans to eat the pigs, FYI.)


message 32: by Beverly, Miscellaneous Club host (new)

Beverly (bjbixlerhotmailcom) | 2321 comments Mod
I can't understand why ballet is considered "sissy" (by some people) for boys, since male ballet dancers has been an important part of ballet performances since ballet's beginnings. Ballet stories like "Swan Lake" and "Nutcracker" (and others) have very important roles for male dancers. And those male dancers must be strong and athletic as well, as they sometimes have to pick up female ballerinas off the ground, and they are much heavier than a football or basketball!
I took ballet class when I was very young, around 5 or 6 years old, for about a year or two. I don't know why my sister and I didn't continue the classes longer; perhaps my parents got to busy with other things and didn't have the time to take us. So I don't remember a whole lot from them.
I did enjoy Tallulah's Tutu, which is the only one of the books I've had a chance to read so far. I pretty much agree with everyone else's opinion, especially the illustrations of the various ballet steps.


message 33: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 7198 comments Mod
Beverly wrote: "I can't understand why ballet is considered "sissy" (by some people) for boys, since male ballet dancers has been an important part of ballet performances since ballet's beginnings. Ballet stories ..."

I think a lot of the male dancers are "sissy" remarks are basically hidden negative comments about the dancer's sexuality.


message 34: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 5753 comments Mod
Beverly wrote: "And those male dancers must be strong and athletic as well, as they sometimes have to pick up female ballerinas off the ground, and they are much heavier than a football or basketball! "

And they have to do it in time to music, and smile/act and make it look effortless -- no easy feat! ;-)

I do think male ballet dancers do get the brunt of the "men dancing is sissy" comments. (such a shame.) I doubt most people would say something like that about, say, male crumpers, hip-hop dancers and the like.


message 35: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (last edited Feb 06, 2015 06:20PM) (new)

Kathryn | 5753 comments Mod
Gundula wrote: "I think a lot of the male dancers are "sissy" remarks are basically hidden negative comments about the dancer's sexuality. "


Maybe so. Of course, dance (and the arts as a whole) have more gay men proportionately than many other professions but the idea that because a male likes to dance he must be gay is faulty. (And, of course, a shame to make negative comments about it at all!) Fortunately the support that gay dancers find among the arts community is really valuable for them and certainly their artistry is gift to those who love dance and the arts.

Bu to the other point, here's an excerpt from a 2006 "DANCE Magazine" article titled "Gay Men & Dance":

"Lest anyone think that men in tights are always gay, let’s not forget that ballet’s biggest box office attraction was Mikhail Baryshnikov, a ladies’ man who made a number of straight men think ballet class might be a good way to meet chicks. Outside of the United States, countries like Russia and Cuba revere their male dancers and don’t label them as sissified. Even in this country, O’Connor says that he teaches more straight male dancers in college classes than before, as gender issues for the younger generation become less of a big deal."


Gundula, you and maybe a few others here might be interested in the rest of the article so I will link it here. FYI, this article is aimed at an adult audience (I realize this is getting rather off the topic of our picture books, but since it is coming up in discussion I wanted to present some factual information for those interested.)

http://www.dancemagazine.com/issues/N...


message 36: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (last edited Feb 06, 2015 07:36PM) (new)

Kathryn | 5753 comments Mod
After Swine Lake I thought some of you and the kids might enjoy seeing a glimpse of a famous "Swan Lake" performance--the video quality is not so stellar but Margot Fonteyn was one of the greats in the ballet world. And the dance performed first, with the dancers holding hands, is one of the most famous in "Swan Lake" or any ballet. This is one of the ballets I haven't been fortunate enough to see in person. Anyone else had that privilege?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAR44...


message 37: by Cheryl is busier irl atm., Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl is busier irl atm. (cherylllr) | 6245 comments Mod
Thanks for the link - I know nothing of Swan Lake except the basic plot line and have never seen any ballet irl. Off to youtube now.


message 38: by Cheryl is busier irl atm., Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl is busier irl atm. (cherylllr) | 6245 comments Mod
That's impressive. I'll put 'see live ballet' on my bucket list.


message 39: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 7198 comments Mod
Cheryl wrote: "That's impressive. I'll put 'see live ballet' on my bucket list."

One of the easiest ballets to see "live" is the Nutcracker, simply because many large metropolises that have live opera and ballet performances often put it on over the Christmas season.

I have actually not seen a lot of live ballet performances (except that I have seen the Nutcracker a few times, both good and strange performances, the worst being a rendition at the University of Waterloo that changed the Nutcracker into some kind of a space age fantasy, yuck). However the most memorable ballet performance I have ever seen (and one that I would dearly love to see again) was a performance in 1985/1986 at Mount Allison University (during my first year of university). For a mere ten dollars student fee, I saw what was basically a ballet interpretation of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana. It was spectacular.


message 40: by Manybooks (last edited Feb 07, 2015 04:44AM) (new)

Manybooks | 7198 comments Mod
Kathryn wrote: "Gundula wrote: "I think a lot of the male dancers are "sissy" remarks are basically hidden negative comments about the dancer's sexuality. "


Maybe so. Of course, dance (and the arts as a whole) ..."


The problem is, I think, that there still is quite a lot of homophobia, and people would rather generalise. Frankly, and I wish people would realise this, ballet, figure skating, dressage riding, whatever, is about the performance and it should not matter what the performers' sexuality is.

And I agree that the negativity sometimes geared towards male dancers is often more of a North American phenomenon (I see the same with regard to male dressage riders, the attitude that dressage riding is not for males, that it is something negative and sissified is much more prevalent in the USA and Canada than it is in Europe).


message 41: by Fjóla (new)

Fjóla (fjolarun) | 260 comments I've been to a live Swan Lake performance, but not with any of the big city ballets. Also, it was a long time ago. I've actually developed a keener interest in modern dance over the years, rather than strictly classical. But I take my son to see a youth production of the Nutcracker every year.

The first production I ever saw of Carmina Burana was actually a choreographed one. Again, it was so long ago that I don't remember any of the details, although I remember where and with whom I saw it. Since then I've only seen concert performances, but I think that is not what Orff intended.

I have seen many ballet productions that deeply touched me, especially some of the modern choreographies, but I think what may stand out as the most memorable were a series of reproductions of Nijinsky's original stagings that I saw at the Palais Garnier in Paris in the 90s, including Rite of Spring, Till the Eulespiegel and Petrushka. I think the legendary Nureyev was the artistic director of the Paris ballets at the time. The productions not only were reproductions of the choreography, but also the costumes and decor. Like you, Gundula, I was sitting in the cheap seats, with my student tickets, but oh boy, the performances sent shivers down my spine, although inevitably I was strongly influenced by the historical significance those productions had.


message 42: by Fjóla (new)

Fjóla (fjolarun) | 260 comments Beverly wrote: "I can't understand why ballet is considered "sissy" (by some people) for boys, since male ballet dancers has been an important part of ballet performances since ballet's beginnings. Ballet stories ..."

I suspect, observing that dance is such a physically demanding activity and thus obviously not for “sissies”, that this branding has more to do with the “man in tights” image that people have of classical ballet. I mean, “man in tights” is something most would otherwise mostly associate with “drag”, right? Interestingly, it is still “manly” to wear tights when playing football …


message 43: by Fjóla (new)

Fjóla (fjolarun) | 260 comments I really liked Max, and didn’t see it as “preachy” at all, whereas of course it may have had an agenda. But I also see the 70s - early 80s as the apex of the gender neutrality wave, since many areas have seen a backlash since then. Not much fuss is made of Max being in the dance class really, besides the fact that he arrives not dressed for it. And there already is a little boy in that dance class anyway, as far as I can tell. I hadn’t read anything by Rachel Isadora before but I really enjoyed her drawings. How cute that Max was the first picture book she published!

Chasing Degas is ultimately not so much about dance, but more of a primer on impressionist artists. I thoroughly liked it though, and the concept is great and really demonstrates what a big thing the impressionist movement was. I thought it was clever to be able to tie all these well known paintings by significant artists into a coherent little story. All these scenes were painted almost in the same year in the same area of Paris, and they’ve all been immortalized.


message 44: by Manybooks (last edited Feb 07, 2015 01:27PM) (new)

Manybooks | 7198 comments Mod
Fjóla wrote: "I've been to a live Swan Lake performance, but not with any of the big city ballets. Also, it was a long time ago. I've actually developed a keener interest in modern dance over the years, rather t..."

The best thing with the cheap student rates at Mount Allison University was that we actually always had excellent seats, not up in the rafters somewhere. But even with cheap seats, that ballet performance of Carmina Burana would have been amazing.


message 45: by Fjóla (new)

Fjóla (fjolarun) | 260 comments Gundula wrote: "The best thing with the cheap student rates at Mount Allison University was that we actually always had excellent seats, not up in the rafters somewhere. ..."

Oh, that's great! The Symphony Hall in Paris, Salle Pleyel, used to have a deal like that. Half an hour before performance students could get the best available seats for $10 and this way I would sometimes attend two concerts a month. Got to see Rostropovich, Isaac Stern, Gidon Kremer, Joshua Bell, Maxim Vengerov perform from prime seating, yet on a budget.


message 46: by Manybooks (last edited Feb 07, 2015 01:57PM) (new)

Manybooks | 7198 comments Mod
Fjóla wrote: "Gundula wrote: "The best thing with the cheap student rates at Mount Allison University was that we actually always had excellent seats, not up in the rafters somewhere. ..."

Oh, that's great! The..."


That's lovely, wow!! When I was in Mannheim, Germany, we got student tickets for performances at Schwetzingen (which is basically a manor house, a Schloss), but you did have to sit up near the roof (still a memorable experience since one could see the intricate roof designs etc. up close, but for a performance of The Magic Flute, the only thing we could really see well and with an unobstructed view were the three little magical boys floating on their suspended cloud).


message 47: by Fjóla (new)

Fjóla (fjolarun) | 260 comments Gundula wrote: " ... but you did have to sit up near the roof (still a memorable experience since one could see the intricate roof designs etc. up close, but for a performance of The Magic Flute, the only thing we could really see well and with an unobstructed view were the three little magical boys floating on their suspended cloud)."

That's funny! Ah, there's always the music! Oh, yes, and the roof! Well, the ceiling at Palais Garnier (by Chagall) which staged most of the ballet shows is definitely wort a $10 entrance fee in any case ...


message 48: by Manybooks (last edited Feb 07, 2015 02:53PM) (new)

Manybooks | 7198 comments Mod
Fjóla wrote: "Gundula wrote: " ... but you did have to sit up near the roof (still a memorable experience since one could see the intricate roof designs etc. up close, but for a performance of The Magic Flute, t..."

Since I knew the Magic Flute by heart, it was mostly the thrill of watching it in a castle, a Schloss, that was exciting, especially since Canada does not have castles like that (and I don't consider Casa Loma a castle). The roof by Chagall!! That reminds me of when I was in Zurich for my brother's wedding, the old city and the fact that some of the stained glass windows in the cathedral were by Chagall were almost more special than the wedding itself (at least for me).


message 49: by Fjóla (new)

Fjóla (fjolarun) | 260 comments Note that we have two topic related listopias:


Picture Books About Dance
Picture books for young ballerinas


message 50: by Steve (new)

Steve Shilstone | 184 comments Love tuning into this discussion, ladies. I own and watch at least once a year The Red Shoes (You are a sexist swine, Julian Kraster) and The Tales of Hoffmann. I was also fortunate enough to have season tickets for the 50th anniversary season of the San Francisco Ballet back there in the '80s. Hosting the gala celebration was Gene Kelly. Not a bad macho sort of a dancer there, what?


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