Dancing with the Dinosaurs

From a tango by a T. Rex to a line dance with Danny Ig, dinosaurs demonstrate their talents on Dancing with Dinosaurs, while the judges mysteriously disappear.

Jazz Age Josephine

Singer, dancer, actress, and independent dame, Josephine Baker felt life was a performance. She lived by her own rules and helped to shake up the status quo with wild costumes and a you-can’t-tell-me-no attitude that made her famous. She even had a pet leopard in Paris! From bestselling children’s biographer Jonah Winter and two-time Caldecott Honoree Marjorie Priceman comes a story of a woman the stage could barely contain. Rising from a poor, segregated upbringing, Josephine Baker was able to break through racial barriers with her own sense of flair and astonishing dance abilities. She was a pillar of steel with a heart of goldall wrapped up in feathers, sequins, and an infectious rhythm.

A Girl Named Faithful Plum

In 1977, when Zhongmei Lei was eleven years old, she learned that the prestigious Beijing Dance Academy was having open auditions. She’d already taken dance lessons, but everyone said a poor country girl would never get into the academy, especially without any connections in the Communist Party of the 1970s. But Zhongmei, whose name means Faithful Plum, persisted, even going on a hunger strike, until her parents agreed to allow her to go. She traveled for three days and two nights to get to Beijing and eventually beat out 60,000 other girls for one of 12 coveted spots. But getting in was easy compared to staying in, as Zhongmei soon learned. Without those all-important connections she was just a little girl on her own, far away from family. But her determination, talent, and sheer force of will were not something the teachers or other students expected, and soon it was apparent that Zhongmei was not to be underestimated. Zhongmei became a famous dancer, and founded her own dance company, which made its New York debut when she was in just her late 20s.  In A Girl Named Faithful Plum, her husband and renowned journalist, Richard Bernstein, has written a fascinating account of one girl’s struggle to go from the remote farmlands of China to the world’s stages, and the lengths she went to in order to follow her dream.

The White Ballets

The term Ballet Blancs, or white ballets refers to the identical white costumes worn by the dancers in the corps de ballet.  There are several white ballets, but the most significant among them are Swan Lake, Giselle, and La bayadere.  Lucky indeed, is the yong dancer who performs in some of them during her career.

Rajka Kupesic was one such ballerina.  Now she is an author, artist, and dance school director who love to introduce young people to the magic of performance, staging, music, and artistry of this Romantic style.  Here, she tells the stories behind the ballets, and as well, adds her own experiences and thoughts on her art, to bring readers onto the state and into the studio with her.  Four years in the making, The White Ballets is a keepsake edition for anyone, especially aspiring dancers, first-time theatergoers, and recital debutants.

Dancing Turtle: A Folktale from Brazil

After being caught by a hunter, a clever turtle uses her wits and her talent playing the flute to trick the hunter’s children into helping her escape.