Stock Up Your Shelf With These 6 New Books on Dance Education
February 22, 2021

Whether you’re in need of some wintertime inspiration or searching for new material for your classes, these six titles—ranging from personal stories, classroom materials, detailed essays and coursebooks—are worthy picks to add to your pedagogy bookshelf.

Dance Education Resources For the Classroom, by Lindsay Blackburne

Blackburne’s book opens up her classroom to fellow middle school and high school teachers. Composed primarily of notes, assignments, forms and rubrics, the information is practical and applicable—you might end up using some of the forms yourself or allow the book to inspire your own material for your classroom. Blackburne emphasizes that written material is integral in teen classrooms, from syllabi to self-reflection forms.

Ballet Recipes: The Ingredients of Classical Ballet Technique, by Maricelle Peeters

Ballet Recipes lays flat on a wooden table. It is a white paperback book with an illustrated drawing featuring both cooking and ballet images, like a dancer doing a plie at barre in a pot of waterJill Randall

Author Maricelle Peeters, a ballet and character-dance teacher from the Netherlands, first published Ballet Recipes in July 2018 in Dutch. Now available in English, this delightful and fresh take on ballet pedagogy describes the key “ingredients” of ballet classes, including themes, imagery and vocabulary.

Using playful text and sprinkled with illustrations, Peeters’ book caters to the enthusiastic ballet student in grades 5 to 7. But Peeters’ text is also a perfect offering for dance teachers to help distill key concepts and practice how to introduce ballet vocabulary—it almost reads like a script for educators. Part 1 of the book is one of its highlights, exploring the broad themes of posture, muscle tension, turnout, weight distribution, placement and lengthening/counterpull.

The ABC’s of PreBallet: The Essential Ballet Building Block, by Dawn C. Crouch

Jill Randall

Longtime dance educator Dawn C. Crouch’s book includes personal essays on what she believes are the essential components of pre-ballet classes. As Crouch emphasizes, pre-ballet classes with 3- to 5-year-olds are some of the most rigorous to craft and teach, and are essential to the growth of your student enrollment and school program. Her essays convey her love of this age group, and cover a wide range of concepts, including class size, helpers, class rituals, physical awareness and class format.

Ethical Dilemmas in Dance Education: Case Studies on Humanizing Dance Pedagogy, edited by Doug Risner and Karen Schupp

Jill Randall

Best for seasoned dance teachers and graduate-level courses, Ethical Dilemmas in Dance Education uses fictionalized case studies to present scenarios that cover a wide range of dilemmas—those tricky moments and ethical binds we encounter as dance educators. Case studies in the book range from advocating for a student’s IEP plan and participation, to a sexual harassment allegation in your class, to pedagogical concerns involving guest teachers.

The book is divided into four sections: “Early Childhood and Elementary Dance,” “Middle School and High School Dance Education,” “Dance Teacher Preparation and Postsecondary Dance Education” and “Community Dance,” and includes reflection activities after each case study.

Dance Teaching Methods and Curriculum Design: Comprehensive K-12 Dance Education, Second Edition, by Gayle Kassing and Danielle Jay-Kirshenbaum

Jill Randall

Dance Teaching Methods and Curriculum Design is a hefty 500-plus-page textbook, with additional online content—perfect for an undergraduate dance pedagogy course or for dance educators without formal training. The text covers everything from child development, class formats, teaching styles, and scaffolding learning for K–12 dance education classes, and includes a variety of unit-plan examples in various dance styles.

Dance Appreciation, by Dawn Davis Loring and Julie L. Pentz

Courtesy Human Kinetics

Useful in both high school and college-level courses, Dance Appreciation offers an introduction to dance productions and Western dance forms. Covering the history of ballet, modern, jazz, tap and hip hop, plus information on what happens behind the scenes to make dance productions come to life, the text offers digestible, bite-sized information for new students and audience members. Also included are additional dance forms from around the globe, photos and artist spotlights, vocabulary lists and reflection questions.

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