Ballet Arizona Book Club

Ballet Arizona’s Book Club is Back!

Free and open to the public, we invite you to join us as we build community around and appreciation for the incredible art form of dance. We are meeting three times this season to discuss the selections below. Book Club meetings will be hybrid: attendees can meet in-person at Ballet Arizona or via Microsoft Teams with access information being sent out closer to the meeting date. These gatherings will be facilitated by Claire Schmaltz, Community Engagement Manager.

Ballet Arizona Book Club Meeting Schedule

Book Club Meeting #1: Being a Ballerina: The Power and Perfection of a Dancing Life
Starting with her arrival as a young beginner at a class too advanced for her, Larsen tells how the embarrassing mistake ended up helping her learn quickly and advance rapidly. In other stories of her early teachers, training, and auditions, she explains how she gradually came to understand and achieve what she and her body were capable of.
Larsen then re-creates scenes from her experiences in dance companies, from unglamorous roles to exhilarating performances. Working as a ballerina was shocking and scary at first, she says, recalling unexpected injuries, leaps of faith, and her constant struggle to operate at the level she wanted—but full of enormously rewarding moments. Larsen also reflects candidly on her difficult decision to retire at age 35.
An ideal read for aspiring dancers, Larsen’s memoir will also delight experienced dance professionals and fascinate anyone who wonders what it takes to live a life dedicated to the perfection of the art form.
Book Club Meeting #2 – The Ballerina Mindset: How to Protect Your Mental Health While Striving for Excellence
As a principal ballerina with New York City Ballet and a one-time Broadway star–not to mention a mother of three and an MBA student–Megan Fairchild is all too familiar with these challenges. In The Ballerina Mindset, she shares all the wisdom she’s learned from her nearly two-decade career, drawing upon her own experiences to show us how she learned to overcome challenges ranging from stage fright to negative feedback to a packed calendar to weight management–and how we can do the same. Inspiring, warm, and revelatory, The Ballerina Mindset is the perfect how-to guide for dancers, athletes, artists, and anyone struggling to stay sane in a high-pressure environment.
Book Club Meeting #3 – American Ballet Theatre: A History
Delve into the rich, 75-year history of one of the world’s preeminent ballet companies. Ric Burns’ documentary combines intimate rehearsal footage, virtuoso performances and interviews with American Ballet Theatre’s key figures. Combined with hundreds of carefully curated stills and rare footage of ballet icons Alonso, Jerome Robbins, Agnes de Mille, Antony Tudor, Nora Kaye and Mikhail Baryshnikov, the film provides a comprehensive inside look at American Ballet Theatre and the world of professional ballet for both seasoned aficionados and those who never have seen a ballet.

Ballet Arizona Book Club Meeting Schedule

  • A Body of Work: Dancing to the Edge and Back by David Hallberg
  • Life In Motion by Misty Copeland
  • The Voice of Juan Gabriel (La Voz de Juan Gabriel)
  • Celestial Bodies: How to Look at Ballet by Laura Jacobs
  • George Balanchine: The Ballet Maker by Robert Gottlieb
  • Maria Tallchief: America’s Prima Ballerina by Maria Tallchief and Larry Kaplan
  • Bunheads by Sophie Flack
  • Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina by Michaela DePrince and Elaine DePrince
  • Marius Petipa: The Emperor’s Ballet Master by Nadine Meisner
  • Dance Theatre of Harlem: A History, A Movement, A Celebration by Judy Tyrus
  • Dancing Past the Light: The Life of Tanaquil Le Clercq by Orel Protopopescu
  • Tears of a Ballet Mum by Sabine Naghdi
Content warning: Selections on our reading list may contain content that deals with distressing themes and/or situations, which may not be suitable for children under 18. Parental discretion is advised.
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