Adult Summer Reading List


This list of books goes along with our 2018 Adult Summer Reading program: “Libraries Rock!”

The New York City Ballet Workout: Fifty Stretches and Exercises by Peter Martins

New York City Ballet Workout is a revolutionary fitness program that will help you begin to develop lean abs, firm buttocks, a contoured waist, sculpted legs, slim thighs, strong arms, perfect posture, flexibility you never thought possible–and grace and poise of a dancer. More than three hundred stunning step-by-step and other photographs throughout make this the most beautiful and easy-to-use exercise book ever created.This elegant book is unlike any exercise book ever published. Graced with more than 300 instructional exercise photographs and extraordinary duotone portraits of New York City Ballet dancers, The New York City Ballet Workout explores the company’s philosophy of balancing art, life, and fitness.By combining elements of New York City Ballet’s balletic regimen with practical strength-building exercises, The New York City Ballet Workout can help people achieve a strong, graceful, and flexible body–one that displays the impeccable poise that is the trademark of New York City Ballet dancers.

Many exercises of The New York City Ballet Workout were once confined to the world’s elite rehearsal studios. Now, as refined by Peter Martins and his company, these exercises have been designed as a comprehensive, holistic approach to the body that can be used by anyone from the out-of-shape to the serious athlete, to attain a lean, hard, beautiful body. From flexibility to endurance, this is a complete exercise program for men and women.

Dancer’s Among Us: A Celebration of Joy in the Everyday by Jordan Matter

A book to make you dream. A book to take your breath away. A book not just for the dancers among us, but for the dancer inside each of us.

The mystery of the body in motion. The surprise of seeing what seems impossible. The art of a moment–a moment of joy, love, silence, grief,effort, life–captured.

In one thrilling photograph after another, Dancers Among Us presents professional dancers from across the country–leaping, spinning, lifting, kicking, while in the midst of daily living. 

There’s no photo manipulation here, no trampolines, no gimmicks, no tricks. Just a photographer, his vision, and the serendipity of what happens when the shutter clicks.

The Dancer’s Book of Ballet by Angela Whitehall

Students of ballet spend years in preparation for a ballet career; a great deal of energy is devoted to developing the proper form and the right look but achieving these alone does not guarantee success. The Dancers Book of Ballet is designed to help dancers make the difficult transition from student to professional.

Whitehill and Noble caringly initiate inexperienced hopefuls to the facts of a complicated and competitive career: preparing a resume, selecting a photographer, choosing a company, how to audition.

The Dancers Book of Ballet provides a three-dimensional picture of the special, private world of working ballet performers.

The Ballet Lover’s Companion by Zoe Anderson

This engaging book is a welcome guide to the most successful and loved ballets seen on the stage today. Dance writer and critic Zoe Anderson focuses on 140 ballets, a core international repertory that encompasses works from the ethereal world of romantic ballet to the edgy, muscular works of modern choreographers. She provides a wealth of facts and insights, including information familiar only to dance world insiders, and considers such recent works as Alexei Ramansky’s Shostakovich Trilogy and Christopher Wheeldon’s The Winter’s Tale as well as older ballets once forgotten but now returned to the repertory, such as Sylvia. To enhance enjoyment of each ballet, Anderson also offers tips on what to look for during a performance.

Each chapter introduces a period of ballet history and provides an overview of innovations and advancement in the art form. In the individual entries that follow, Anderson includes essential facts about each ballet’s themes, plot, composers, choreographers, dance style, and music. The author also addresses the circumstances of each ballet’s creation and its effect in the theater, and she recounts anecdotes that illuminate performance history and reception.

Reliable, accessible, and fully up to date, this book will delight anyone who attends the ballet, participates in ballet, or simply loves ballet and wants to know much more about it.

Christy Lane’s Complete Book of Line Dancing

It’s time to hit the dance floor with the second edition of Christy Lane’s Complete Book of Line Dancing. Nationally acclaimed dance instructor Christy Lane surveyed dancers, teachers, and club disc jockeys across the nation to bring you the most popular national versions. She’s added 26 new dances to her latest book, giving you a total of 68 line and partner-pattern dances to choose from.

This how-to guide not only provides the footwork diagrams found in the first edition, but Lane has also added suggested music for each dance and written descriptions that aid in the explanation of the accompanying body movements. Sixty photographs show Lane demonstrating the unique moves and positions to a group of line dancers. Some of the dances you’ll find in this book include

– Tennessee Twister
– Watermelon Crawl
– New Electric Slide
– Wild Wild West
– Livin’ La Vida Loca
– Night Fever

The dances are presented in easy-to-difficult order, making it simple to advance your skill level. And a “For Teachers Only” chapter provides instructors with strategies they need to lead a successful class.

Whether you’re learning the Honky-Tonk Stomp to Brooks and Dunn’s popular hit “Hard Working Man” or listening to Garth Brooks while you and your partner perform the Barn Dance Mixer, this sensational resource will make mastering all the dances easy and fun.

Learn to Dance: A Step-by-step Guide to Ballroom and Latin Dances by Colette Redgrave

Introduces you to a selection of all-time favorite ballroom and Latin dances, explains their steps, and gives guidance on the ideal music to choose as your dance soundtrack.

Martha Graham: A Dancer’s Life by Russell Freedman

Martha Graham, the American dancer, teacher, and choreographer, revolutionized the world of modern dance. She possessed a great gift for revealing emotion through dance, expressing beliefs and telling stories in an utterly new way. Newbery Medalist Russell Freedman documents Martha Graham’s life from her birth in 1894 to her final dance performance at the age of seventy-five and continued career as a choreographer until her death in 1991. Graham’s own recollections as well as those of her dancers, students, friends, and lovers reveal Graham’s unwavering dedication, her extraordinary sense of artistry, and the fierce intensity that left an impression on all who saw her perform. Original research based on interviews and a remarkable collection of photographs not widely reproduced give this biography a rare and unparalleled depth. Includes notes,a bibliography, and an index.

Mao’s Last Dancer by Li Cunxin

The extraordinary memoir of a peasant boy raised in rural Maoist China who was plucked from his village to study ballet and went on to become one of the greatest dancers of his generation.

From a desperately poor village in northeast China, at age eleven, Li Cunxin was chosen by Madame Mao’s cultural delegates to be taken from his rural home and brought to Beijing, where he would study ballet. In 1979, the young dancer arrived in Texas as part of a cultural exchange, only to fall in love with America-and with an American woman. Two years later, through a series of events worthy of the most exciting cloak-and-dagger fiction, he defected to the United States, where he quickly became known as one of the greatest ballet dancers in the world. This is his story, told in his own inimitable voice.

He’s Got Rhythm: The Life and Career of Gene Kelly by Cynthia Brideson and Sara Brideson

He sang and danced in the rain, proclaimed New York to be a wonderful town, and convinced a group of Parisian children that they had rhythm. One of the most influential and respected entertainers of Hollywood’s golden age, Gene Kelly revolutionized film musicals with his innovative and timeless choreography. A would-be baseball player and one-time law student, Kelly captured the nation’s imagination in films such as Anchors Aweigh (1945), On the Town (1949), An American in Paris (1951), and Singin’ in the Rain (1952).

In the first comprehensive biography written since the legendary star’s death, authors Cynthia Brideson and Sara Brideson disclose new details of Kelly’s complex life. Not only do they examine his contributions to the world of entertainment in depth, but they also consider his political activities — including his opposition to the Hollywood blacklist. The authors even confront Kelly’s darker side and explore his notorious competitive streak, his tendency to be a taskmaster on set, and his multiple marriages.

Drawing on previously untapped articles and interviews with Kelly’s wives, friends, and colleagues, Brideson and Brideson illuminate new and unexpected aspects of the actor’s life and work. He’s Got Rhythm is a balanced and compelling view of one of the screen’s enduring legends.

Isadora: A Sensational Life by Peter Kurth

Isadora Duncan is considered by many to be the founder of modern dance. Her name is synonymous with originality, spontaneity, drama, and sensuality. Finally, here is a biography that does justice to the life of this unforgettable woman. Never before has Isadora Duncan been so thoroughly explored. Kurth recounts her sensational life — her many loves, her passion for her art, her sensational performances, and her personal tragedies. Isadora reveals the dramatic story of this passionate artist, set against the sweeping backdrop of Europe and the United States in the early twentieth century.

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