105 Ways to Give a Book

Nonfiction Monday: A Young Dancer

Along with her singing and acting, my fifth grader is also a dancer. While she sings constantly on her own and has a few theater sessions during the school year, it’s actually dance where she exerts the most constant effort, taking three classes a week in ballet, pre-pointe, and musical theater dance. When I started her in Rec Center classes seven years ago, it was just to have Something To Do, but as she continued to enjoy it, I encouraged her thinking that the discipline of ballet would be good for her. She still loves dance, and her interest has kept me on the lookout for good books on the subject. Today I have a title that also works in the context of Black History Month:

A Young Dancer: The Life of an Ailey Student
by Valerie Gladstone, photographs by José Ivey
Published by Henry Holt and Co., 2009

A Young Dancer: The Life of an Ailey StudentIman Bright is a thirteen-year-old student at the Ailey School in New York City who has allowed us a peek into her life. We learn about her ballet practice and her toe shoes — the holy grail of beginning ballerinas. She talks about the other styles of dance that she learns including modern, jazz and West African. She shares how she handles the demanding dance schedule along with school and takes us through practices to performance. The photography is wonderful, putting us in each scene and showing the elegance and beauty of the performers. The author’s note contains a history of The Ailey School and Alvin Ailey as a pioneer of African American modern dance. Short segments of text make this an accessible book for early elementary readers, though upper elementary student will better appreciate the dedication of the dancer and the specifics of the dance techniques.

Nonfiction Monday is hosted today at Practically Paradise.

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MissA said...

I love Alvin Ailey! Their performances are amazing, so stunning and just OH! I always wished I could dance with them and train at the school. Thanks for spotlighting this title :)

The only regret I have in life (so far) is giving up dance. It was a combination between feeling discouraged over my body (I wasn't skinny enough and was told that I would not be able to get any better due to my having hips. Ugh why did I believe this?! I miss dancing so much), and the expense. But I loved ballet. Especailly pointe. Such a fun, etheral experience.

I hope your daughter keeps dancing!

MillyMarie said...

This makes me miss my dancing years. I was never as wonderful as your daughter seems to be, but I had a lot of fun and great memories. I'm glad she really enjoys her lessons. :D Dance is truly wonderful!

This sounds like a very beautiful book. I'd love to read books on dancing.