Celestial Bodies: How to Look at Ballet

Celestial Bodies: How to Look at Ballet

by Laura Jacobs


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A distinguished dance critic offers an enchanting introduction to the art of ballet

As much as we may enjoy Swan Lake or The Nutcracker, for many of us ballet is a foreign language. It communicates through movement, not words, and its history lies almost entirely abroad — in Russia, Italy, and France. In Celestial Bodies, dance critic Laura Jacobs makes the foreign familiar, providing a lively, poetic, and uniquely accessible introduction to the world of classical dance. Combining history, interviews with dancers, technical definitions, descriptions of performances, and personal stories, Jacobs offers an intimate and passionate guide to watching ballet and understanding the central elements of choreography.

Beautifully written and elegantly illustrated with original drawings, Celestial Bodies is essential reading for all lovers of this magnificent art form.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780465098477
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication date: 05/08/2018
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Laura Jacobs is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and the dance critic for the New Criterion, where she has been since 1994. Dubbed "our best dance critic" by the editor of Ballet Review, Jacobs has also written about dance for the Atlantic, Chicago Reader, and London Review of Books. She lives in New York City.

Table of Contents

Introduction xi

Note to the Reader xv

1 First Position First: The Foundations Of Ballet 1

2 The Point of the Pointe 25

3 Reading the Program: A Glossary 47

4 Tchaikovsky, Godfather of Ballet 77

5 Arabesque, Above All 99

6 Thoughts on Perfection 119

7 She's Alive! 127

8 Round and Round 145

9 Sex and the Single Girl 155

10 Ballet is Woman-But Look at its Men! 179

11 To Have and to Hold … and not to Hold 199

12 Ballerina: Civilization in a Tutu 205

Acknowledgments 225

Notes 227

Bibliography 237

Index 241

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