Ballerina Swan

Ballerina Swan

By Allegra Kent

Illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully

Holiday House, 2012

32 pages



Allegra Kent's Ballerina Swan is the newest book to add to your list for pre-ballet class or birthday party story-time. Little girls will love the story of dancing swan Sophie, who, after overcoming some bird versus human obstacles, gets to dance in the big performance of Swan Lake.


This is Kent’s first children's book. The former New York City Ballet principal and Balanchine muse is also the author of Once a Dancer..., The Dancers' Body Book and Water Beauty Book, and she often contributes to Dance Magazine.


Like her Ballerina Swan heroine Sophie, who doesn’t fit the perfect ballerina mold and is afraid to attend class, Kent struggled with intimidation. She was first enrolled in a ballet school for only advanced students and fought to keep up. But like Sophie, whose passion for dance kept her going, Kent's determination propelled her past her fears and motivated her to stay in class.


Kent includes a glossary of ballet terms used throughout the book—including épaulement, port de bras and plié—that students can practice in class. Students will also gravitate to the watercolor illustrations by Emily Arnold McCully that portray a realistic studio setting (minus the dancing swan) and capture the vibrancy of ballet class and auditions.

Courtesy Meg Brooker

As the presidential election approaches, it's a particularly meaningful time to remember that we are celebrating the centennial of the 19th Amendment, when women earned the right to vote after a decades-long battle.

Movement was more than a metaphor for the fight for women's suffrage—dancers played a real role, most notably Florence Fleming Noyes, who performed her riveting solo Dance of Freedom in 1914 to embody the struggle for women's rights.

This fall, Middle Tennessee State University director of dance Meg Brooker is reconstructing Dance of Freedom on 11 of her students. A Noyes Rhythm teacher and an Isadora Duncan scholar, Brooker is passionate about bringing historic dance practices into a contemporary context.

Keep reading... Show less
Teaching Tips
Justin Boccitto teaches a hybrid class. Photo courtesy Boccitto

Just as teachers were getting comfortable with teaching virtual classes, many studios are adding an extra challenge into the mix: in-person students learning alongside virtual students. Such hybrid classes are meant to keep class sizes down and to give students options to take class however they're comfortable.

But dividing your attention between virtual students and masked and socially distant in-person students—and giving them each a class that meets their needs—is no easy feat.

Dance Teacher asked four teachers what they've learned so far.

Keep reading... Show less
Teachers Trending
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.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.