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Publisher's Summary

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, Celestial Bodies is essential listening for all lovers of this magnificent art form.  

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2018 Laura Jacobs (P)2018 Basic Books

Critic Reviews

"Laura Jacobs' book about the art of ballet, which takes the form of a higher kind of how-to book, is itself a work of art. I would call it perfect, but Jacobs spells out the limits of the ideal of perfection. Better to call it alive, expressive, moving, wise." (Paul Elie, author of Reinventing Bach)

"Laura Jacobs' Celestial Bodies is original, rich in discovery, and conceived in prose that is as agile and graceful as her subject matter." (Sascha Radetsky, American Ballet Theatre)

"What makes ballet magical? With a brief recap of its origins and a poetic analysis of its positions, Laura Jacobs gives us the benefit of her perceptions over the course of a distinguished career in the audience. For those coming to ballet for the first time-and those of us who have been watching ballet for years-she offers a lesson in appreciation. The best way to watch, she tells us, is "with an open heart." This graceful book is the product of her own heart and her sprightly mind." (Holly Brubach)

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Ballet Love

Anyone involved with the world of ballet/dance will likely enjoy this book very much. The author discusses many aspects of the art of ballet, ranging from important steps to amazing performances. This book discusses ballet from the P.O.V. of the person who interacts with it, not merely as a historical or esoteric subject that is far beyond the ability of the average person to truly appreciate. Ballet is beautiful and complex. Ms. Jacobs makes the topic accessible to all.