3 Books Dance Teachers Should Read This Year

1. Ballet: The Definitive Illustrated Story

By Viviana Durante, former principal dancer for The Royal Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Teatro alla Scala and Japan's K-Ballet

$27.19 on Amazon

Viviana Durante presents a history of ballet, including its origins at royal court, the first national ballet companies and contemporary works, and more than 70 famous ballet dances, including The Nutcracker, Swan Lake and The Rite of Spring. The book also tells the stories behind the world's most beloved dancers across the centuries: Margot Fonteyn, Carlos Acosta, and Darcey Bussell, among them. It's a ballet enthusiast's dream!

2. Marius Petipa: The Emperor's Ballet Master

By Nadine Meisner, dance critic for The Independent, The Sunday Times and The Times

$31.92 on Amazon

Dance critic Nadine Meisner gives a detailed look into the life and legacy of famed choreographer Marius Petipa in her latest biography. This book details his work within the context of the sociopolitical tensions 1818–1910. Petipa created works that are now mainstays of the ballet repertoire, including Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote and La Bayadère.

This is a must-read for dance teachers!

3. Ted Shawn: His Life, Writings, and Dances

By Paul A. Scolieri, chair and associate professor of dance at Barnard College, Columbia University

$39.95 on Amazon

Ted Shawn: His Life, Writings, and Dances tells the history of one of the pioneers of American Modern Dance. Wrier Paul A. Scolieri takes an in-depth look into the creation of Denishawn (company and training school in Los Angeles Shawn co-founded with famed dancer and choreographer Ruth St. Denis), the first all-male company in America (Ted Shawn and His Men Dancers) and Jacob's Pillow. The book makes a notable revelation regarding the ways Shawn's homosexuality informed his choreographic vision. Check it out!

Courtesy Meg Brooker

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Justin Boccitto teaches a hybrid class. Photo courtesy Boccitto

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All photos by Ryan Heffington

"Annnnnnnd—we're back!"

Ryan Heffington is kneeling in front of his iPhone, looking directly into the camera, smiling behind his bushy mustache. He's in his house in the desert near Joshua Tree, California, phone propped on the floor so it stays steady, his bright shorty shorts, tank top and multiple necklaces in full view. Music is already playing—imagine you're at a club—and soon he's swaying and bouncing from side to side, the beat infusing his bones.

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