As a librarian and avid book collector, my bookshelves are filled with a variety of books: poetry and novels from university, favourite children’s books, my beloved Nancy Drew collection (original Mystery Stories only please), and of course a TON of fitness books.
The publishing industry seems to love putting out fitness books but it isn’t as easy to find books about barre and/or dance fitness. It’s been tricky to put together a collection of books on the topic, but I’m happy to share some of the titles that have helped me build my knowledge about barre and ballet. I’ve included the Amazon links (I’m not affiliated – just making it easier to find these great books!):
- Barre Fitness by Fred DeVito and Elizabeth Halfpapp – this is definitely a foundational text in the world of barre! I had the pleasure of attending a live virtual session with Fred & Elizabeth at the Barre Summit last fall and learned so much in just a short time, reinforcing how much experience and knowledge this pair have to share. I found this book so helpful when teaching my students how to set up advanced barre moves such as Pretzel.
- Ballet Beautiful and Ballet for Life by Mary Helen Bowers – I first became acquainted with this former ballerina’s work through her Ballet Beautiful DVDs. She has a beautiful style and aesthetic and I rely on her books for true ballet positioning and unique exercises, inspired by her years as a professional ballerina for the New York City Ballet. Ballet Beautiful is a more technical book that includes exercises and diet advice whereas Ballet for Life includes more photography and is a bit more of a coffee-table type book (that’s where it lives at my house!)
- Ballerina Body by Misty Copeland – I just adore Misty Copeland because I think she offers such a modern take on Classical ballet. She exudes strength and is an ideal role model for young dancers. My daughter loved reading her biography (Life in Motion) and I think it is refreshing to see her approach to fitness and nutrition in Ballerina Body (imagine a ballerina talking about the importance of dietary fat 30 years ago!).
- The Physique 57 Solution by Tanya Becker and Jennifer Maanavi – During Barre Summit last year I also had the chance to take a workshop with Tanya Becker and Alicia Wiehl and both were so lovely and inspiring! I remember hearing Kelly Ripa talk about Physique 57 during her Regis & Kelly days (maternity leave viewing) and that was the first time I had heard about barre workouts! This book is great and goes into detail about many effective barre and floor exercises.
- The Ballet Book by The National Ballet School of Canada – Yes, this is a children’s book! I find it incredibly helpful however for reminding myself of the various foot and arm positions of Classical ballet as well as the various lifts and sequences. It has beautiful photographs of some famous Canadian ballerinas including my personal favourite, Karen Kain. Back in the day, Karen Kain had her own book on health and beauty, which I would love to find again.
Do you have any barre/dance book recommendations? Please share below!