"There are no rules to making your way through the world of ballet," writes Greskovic in his valuable introduction to the form. There may be no rules, but a little guidance is a good thing, and Greskovic makes a fine Virgil to a hapless Dante. A dance teacher and critic, Greskovic goes far beyond the bluffers' guides that have come before. He begins with a sketch of ballet's historical roots in the courts of Europe, highlighting key characters and influences, partnerships and rivalries, and thereby shows the crucial influence of earlier people and practices on current performance. This sets the stage for an overview of the roles traditionally played by men and women, the various stages a ballet goes through before the performance and an explanation of how to view the structures of the dance and recognize standard movements and positions. Armed with the fundamentals, the reader can see that "ballet is an art of standards and traditions that need room to grow but not license to alter arbitrarily." In the final third of the book, he takes the reader on a guided tour of a dozen of ballet's most popular and significant works, recommending available videos for the critical visual and aural experience. In very straightforward, engaging prose bolstered always by research and understanding, Greskovic demystifies what can seem especially if you listen to its more jealous adherents to be an esoteric art form".
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