Title: to dance: a ballerina’s graphic novel
Author: Siena Cherson Siegel, Illustrator: Mark Siegel
Publisher: Atheneum Books For Young Readers, 2006
The world of a young ballerina springs to life on the pages of this colorful, gripping tale. Each page details the daily routines, thoughts, and dreams of a dancer as she moves to New York City to study at the School of American Ballet.
A fantastic read for anyone who loves ballet and wonders what the life of a dancer is like, the graphic novel format makes the story all the more real. George Balanchine, partnering class, pointe shoes, schoolwork, and the hum of New York are only part of the picture. In the end, the love of dance is what shines through.
In recent days, it has become glaringly apparent that if I neglect to set aside time to exercise, everything else suffers. After all, the body is our vehicle in the world, and just like a car, it needs to be started and taken out for a spin around the block from time to time. Or else.
Being a writer by trade requires that I sit on my butt for long periods of time. It is also far too easy to get caught up in the mental landscape and completely forget about my physical landscape. That pattern might work for a day, or even two, but at that point the body begins to send subtle messages, like, “Gee, things are starting to hurt and I feel kinda crappy. Why is that?” Not listening to the first subtle messages only leads to new, louder prompts, until it is no longer possible to continue existing in that same pattern of neglect. Three days without exercise? Let me tell you, it isn’t pretty.
Happily, there are many benefits to moving the body. For one, the subtle or not-so-subtle messages cease. While I can’t necessarily detail the entire biochemical process that occurs with exercise, it does feel good. I sleep better. And hey, my brain even works better, which is a big plus. I’m probably even nicer.
Humans were not meant to be stationary creatures- after all, what are all these moving parts for? Moving, of course. For thousands of years and thousands of generations, we have chopped wood, carried water, lugged around food, stone, teepees, babies and a host of other things. It’s only in the last generation or so that we’ve begun to change those patterns. However, we do so at our own peril.
It’s not a price I can afford to pay.
I could have sworn it was moving on toward summer, but Mother Nature apparently has alternate plans at the moment. This has been the week to pull out extra layers for added warmth, and I often turn to my favorite stretchy, stripey black number. It was designed for ballet dancers, but it’s chic enough that it can be worn out of the studio or out on the town just as easily. For most dancers, stretchy fabrics are among God’s greatest gift to man, since freedom of movement is always a top priority. Stretch cotton is both comfy and liberating… it looks and feels great.
Drumbeat in Our Feet
Lee & Low Books, 2006
Rich with descriptions of traditional African dance, costumes, body painting and spirituality, it is both visually appealing and extremely informative. This book is recommended reading for anyone with interest in African dance, music and spirituality as well and dance teachers and school teachers.
Learn about how dance traditions are passed down, the origins of different types of dances, types of musical instruments and more.