The Encyclopedia of World Ballet

Rowman & Littlefield. 2015. 380p. photos. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781442245259. $95. REF
Encyclopedist Snodgrass (Encyclopedia of Feminist Literature) concentrates here on the historical and international aspects of ballet. The book's 170 entries, which are complemented by a variety of color and black-and-white photographs, address topics such as people (dancers, choreographers, companies), ballets, eras, and concepts. A chronology spans from 802 CE (Apsara court dance) to the present. Each summary provides an overview citing a single source supported by the bibliography (at the end of the book) that separates primary and secondary sources. American Ballet Theatre and the Bolshoi are examined, along with the Greek National Opera Ballet, Shanghai Ballet, and Philippine Ballet Theatre, among others. Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo and Nederlands Dans Theater are also featured. Major ballets (Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, The Rite of Spring) are profiled along with important choreographers (Marius Petipa, George Balanchine, Isadora Duncan). Dancers (Mikhail Baryshnikov, Margot Fonteyn, Vaslav Nijinksy) and the interesting subjects of folkloric ballet and ballet music are highlighted. Concepts such as character role, divertissement, and partnering are considered, as are attire, including shoes.
VERDICT This encyclopedia contributes significant information as a starting point in learning about the many facets of ballet and will be helpful to high school and college students doing research papers on the subject. Teens may enjoy it as a view on the terpsichorean world. Libraries should own a current dance encyclopedia, and this single volume with an international focus is an ideal choice. Also of interest is Zoe Anderson's The Ballet Lover's Companion.
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