The Ballet Lover's Companion Zoe Anderson
- Publication date:
- 04 Oct 2016
- Yale University Press
- 384 pages: 235 x 156mm
This engaging book is a welcome guide to the most successful and loved ballets seen on the stage today. Dance writer and critic Zoe Anderson focuses on 140 ballets, a core international repertory that encompasses works from the ethereal world of romantic ballet to the edgy, muscular works of modern choreographers. She provides a wealth of facts and insights, including information familiar only to dance world insiders, and considers such recent works as Alexei Ramansky's Shostakovich Trilogy and Christopher Wheeldon's The Winter's Tale as well as older ballets once forgotten but now returned to the repertory, such as Sylvia. To enhance enjoyment of each ballet, Anderson also offers tips on what to look for during a performance.
Each chapter introduces a period of ballet history and provides an overview of innovations and advancement in the art form. In the individual entries that follow, Anderson includes essential facts about each ballet’s themes, plot, composers, choreographers, dance style, and music. The author also addresses the circumstances of each ballet’s creation and its effect in the theater, and she recounts anecdotes that illuminate performance history and reception.
Reliable, accessible, and fully up to date, this book will delight anyone who attends the ballet, participates in ballet, or simply loves ballet and wants to know much more about it.
‘Anderson conveys everything in a friendly, easy going way; and there is a lot of information and detail to convey. She makes reading what she has to say a pleasure, whether looking at whole chapters or dipping in and out… It reminded me a little of going along to one of the more friendly easy-going, twenty-minute pre-performance talks that the likes of the New York City Ballet are so good at.’—David Mead, Critical Dance.
‘[A] crisp ability to convey an affection for ballet and a clear-eyed view of its oddities is the abiding tone of this authoritative study of the art form’s history; from its origins in the courts of France and Italy to its current incarnation as a many faceted, international genre.’—Sarah Compton, Sunday Times.
‘The perfect amalgam of relevant and enlightening information with an utterly enjoyable prose… Reading it is like having a conversation with an expert friend who, with great love, introduces you to the secrets of an art too often regarded as elitist or esoteric.’—Giannandrea Poesio, Dance Europe.
‘Clearly a lover of ballet herself, Anderson compiles programme notes and synopses of 140 key productions in the international ballet repertoire…as if the author is a knowledgeable friend pointing out the salient bits. Full of context… an essential reference.’—Good Book Guide.
“Anderson is highly knowledgeable, and has chosen to write a highly readable work that also touches on some of the issues that ballet as an art form faces today...A sumptuous and enjoyable gift”—,Maggie Watson, Oxford Dance Writers
“Ballet’s long history is well served by this compact guide to its core repertory. . . . [Anderson's] knowledge and elegant prose create an engaging work that will appeal to ballet neophytes and veteran balletomanes alike.”—Carolyn Mulac, Booklist
“This entertaining read will spark interest in an assortment of productions and make readers want to go see a performance—or at least view The Red Shoes.”—Library Journal