Ballet Class: An American History


Product Details

Oxford University Press, USA
Publish Date
6.5 X 9.3 X 1.3 inches | 1.7 pounds

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About the Author

Melissa R. Klapper is Professor of History and Director of Women's and Gender Studies at Rowan University. She is the author of Jewish Girls Coming of Age in America, 1860-1920, Small Strangers: The Experiences of Immigrant Children in the United States, 1880-1925, and Ballots, Babies, and Bannersof Peace: American Jewish Women's Activism,1890-1940, winner of the National Jewish Book Award in Women's Studies.


"This thoughtful and capacious book starts informally with the author assessing her own childhood ballet classes -- then opens out to chart ballet's rise to prominence among America's most cherished childhood traditions.� Along the way she does justice to a number of under-sung ballet teacher-pioneers, takes on ballet's problematic relations to such topics as body image, gender, and race -- and ends up offering nothing less than a two-century-long social history of American culture itself." -- Elizabeth Kendall, Associate Professor of Liberal Studies and Literary Studies, The New School for Social Research, author of Balanchine and the Lost Muse Revolution and the Making of a Choreographer

"At a time when the relevance of ballet for the 21st�century context is under scrutiny, this lively account provides much needed personal and meticulously researched revelations into its beloved (though not unproblematic) role in providing comfort, challenge, discipline, artistry, fitness, creativity, and empowerment to generations of regular girls and boys across America." -- Naomi Jackson, Associate Professor of Dance, Herberger College of the Arts, Arizona State University

"Of the myriads of little girls who fell in love with ballet the first time they faced the mirror, few became ballerinas. I imagine that fewer became prize-winning historians, but Melissa R. Klapper did. She has returned to the dance studio with this definitive history of America's ballet classes. Ballet students end class with a reverence to their teacher. I bow to Melissa Klapper. Her remarkable book takes those who remember the five positions back to their days in ballet class." -- Pamela S. Nadell, Patrick Clendenen Chair in Women's and Gender History at American University and author of America's Jewish Women: A History from Colonial Times to Today