My little girl recently attended her first ballet class and afterwards we read Welcome to Ballet School written by New York City Ballet principal Ashley Bouder and illustrated by Julia Bereciartu. This unique and original guide to ballet is a perfect introduction to the joy, skill and creativity of dance.
Straight away, I was struck by the fabulous representation in this beautiful guide. Boys and girls from different nationalities feature throughout the book. It follows a class of diverse ballet students, who demonstrate five signature ballet poses (pliés, first positions, jetés, pirouettes and grand battements). My little girl found the drawings easy to follow so she could try out the moves herself.
The book has the perfect mix of fact and fiction. After learning the basis poses, it is then time to put on a ballet show. The full story of Sleeping Beauty is included which is a lovely touch and something my little girl really loved.
It is lovely to see each ballet students’ personality shine through the book, they are not just demonstrating the ballet moves. We see the students each take on a role in the iconic fairy tale and visit the costume room. Then it’s showtime!
After the show, the students visit the hall of fame. This is a lovely spread of famous real-life ballet dancers of different ethnicities, alongside a useful ballet glossary.
Welcome to Ballet School would not only make a wonderful gift for a child who loves ballet, but also for a child who might not think ballet is for them… yet. There is so much to admire in Welcome to Ballet School and it is a book you will want to keep referring back to.
Publisher: Frances Lincoln, Quarto
Publication date: 4 August 2020
I am very grateful to the publisher for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book. This voluntary review contains my honest opinion.