When Mrs. Jimmi Lou was in seventh grade, I got into trouble with my English teacher for talking too much in class. My discipline was to make a poster about things that were true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable. While I was not thrilled about being “called out” I was somewhat talented in art class so making a poster seemed, not only fair, but interesting. Obviously, I have never forgotten that experience and I have never forgotten those words. In fact, to this day, those words often guide me in many of my creative decisions. So, as a dancer, an avid reader, and a mediocre poster maker, I launch my monthly dance page by recommending four dance books that exemplify many of the words on my, never to be forgotten, poster. These books are available in local bookstores or online. While suggested by age there may be overlap in interest. Read about all of them. Books may be of interest to dancers and non-dancers alike. Enjoy!
ANGELINA THE BALLERINA by Katherine Holabird. A classic for all young dancers. Angelina is a pretty little mouse who wants nothing more than to be a ballerina. Through this charming story young children discover that great things can be accomplished by little people. Children are introduced to readiness skills for learning; focus and the rewards of finishing what one starts. There is an abundance of Angelina books and DVDs for children. Lovely!
ELEMENTARY AND JUNIOR HIGH
DANCING SHOES by Noel Streatfield. Inspired by her love for the performing arts, the author introduces the reader to two orphaned sisters, Rachel and Hilary. One wants to act and one wants to dance. Add that to Cora’s Dancing School and her dancing “Little Wonders” and you will enjoy Rachel and Hilary’s journey on the road to becoming a star. Streatfield also wrote BALLET SHOES, THEATER SHOES, SKATING SHOES, MOVIE SHOES, and CIRCUS SHOES. The series is a classic that has captivated generations. Noble!
HIGH SCHOOL and COLLEGE
TWYLA THARP THE CREATIVE LIFE. Twyla Tharp, one of America’s greatest choreographers, believes that creativity is a product of preparation, effort, and within the reach of everyone. Whether choreographing a dance, writing a scholarly paper, or cooking a new recipe, this book can serve as a springboard to creative ideas and, perhaps, choosing and looking at an academic project with a fresh perspective. I have often used her idea of an “inspiration box” for many a creative endeavor. This book is a wonderful edition to the library of those who enjoy innovation and creative thinking. Perhaps you can begin a personal dance library this month? Paint a fun bookcase. Shop for helpful books. Admirable!
ADULTS OF ALL AGES
TWYLA THARP KEEP IT MOVING
In these lessons for the rest of your life, Twyla Tharp, one of America’s greatest choreographers, shares a series of information, meditations, and exercises designed to help adults physically move with purpose as time passes. In her creative approach to all things you will find motivation to establish inspirational activity along with common sense movements designed to strengthen and protect the body. This book is written for those who want all of their years to be “prime time”. I read this book while my husband was having knee surgery. The surgery circumstances and the inspiring and factual words of this book helped me to clearly remember that purposeful and planned movement is essential all the time. Keep it moving Jimmi Lou! True!
Closing with this quote from Nora Ephron, “Reading is everything. Reading makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something, learned something, become a better person. Reading makes me smarter”. I agree wholeheartedly and I think this is true of dancing as well. Right!