Do you love to dance? Are you the type of person who can’t help but move when you hear music? Once it starts do you always wiggle, tap your foot, hum along or sway without even realizing you’ve started? Check out these recommended titles if you’re interested in reading true stories of dancers who followed their dreams.
May 11 is the 125th birth anniversary of revolutionary dancer and choreographer Martha Graham. On October 30, 1944, Graham, composer Aaron Copland and artist Isamu Noguchi worked together to create the classic ballet Appalachian Spring. It was first performed at the Library of Congress. Read Ballet for Martha to learn more about this ballet that shows the hopes and struggles of American pioneers.
Trailblazer is an important book about the first African American to dance with a major American touring group. The director of Raven's dance company was afraid Raven would be in danger when they toured Southern states during the 1950s. Rising above cruel racism and ugly threats, Raven went on to dance in Europe and later with the New York Opera. Her dance career lasted until she was 50 years old.
Jazz Age Josephine is a vibrant book about Josephine Baker, who was born June 3, 1906, in St. Louis. She grew up very poor and was bullied by kids at her school. Her granny told her one day she would be a princess, but Josephine didn’t believe her. Josephine loved to dance, and when she started performing as a teenager, she felt like a star. Read this book to learn about her travels around the United States and her fame as a professional dancer in Paris.
An autobiography written with Max and Ruby author Rosemary Wells, Tallchief tells the story of Maria Tallchief, who was born on an Osage reservation in 1925. After her family moved from the reservation in Oklahoma to Los Angeles, Maria became a student of the famous dance instructor Madame Nijinska. Follow her journey from young hopeful to prima ballerina.
Do you have any favorite dancers or ballets? Is your dance team the best? Let us know in the comments!