Best Books, Biography & Memoir, Education, Fiction & Literature, Nonfiction

The 18 Best Dance Books

“What are the best dance books?” We consulted 13 articles and 140 books to answer that very question. Below you will find our results of the 18 best dance books of all-time.

What can be found in a “Best Dance Books” Listicle
  • Covers of a dancer on a single foot
  • Books about Ballet


18.) A Very Young Dancer by Jill Krementz

Appears On: 2 Lists
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A Very Young Dancer by Jill Krementz


17.) Bunheads by Sophie Flack

Appears On: 2 Lists
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Bunheads by Sophie Flack


16.) Dancing On My Grave by Gelsey Kirkland

Appears On: 2 Lists
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Dancing on My Grave by Gelsey Kirkland, Greg Lawrence


15.) Digging the Africanist Presence in American Performance: Dance and Other Contexts by Brenda Dixon Gottschild

Appears On: 2 Lists
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Digging the Africanist Presence in American Performance- Dance and Other Contexts by Brenda Dixon Gottschild


14.) Firebird by Misty Copeland, illustrated by Christopher Meyers

Appears On: 2 Lists
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Firebird- Ballerina Misty Copeland Shows a Young Girl How to Dance Like the Firebird by Misty Copeland, Christopher Myers (Illustrations)


13.) Holding On to the Air: An Autobiography by Suzanne Farrell

Appears On: 2 Lists
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Holding On to the Air by Suzanne Farrell, Toni Bentley


12.) Once a Dancer by Allegra Kent

Appears On: 2 Lists
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Once a Dancer- An Autobiography by Allegra Kent


11.) Popular Variations by Alex Moore

Appears On: 2 Lists
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Ballroom Dancing by Alex Moore


10.) Stomping the Blues by Albert Murray

Appears On: 2 Lists
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Stomping the Blues by Albert Murray


9.) Swingin’ at the Savoy : The Memoir of a Jazz Dancer by Norma Miller, Evette Jensen

Appears On: 2 Lists
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Swinging At The Savoy The Memoir of a Jazz Dancer by Norma Miller, Evette Jensen


8.) Technical Manual and Dictionary of Classical Ballet by Gail Grant

Appears On: 2 Lists
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Technical Manual and Dictionary of Classical Ballet by Gail Grant


7.) The Swing Book by Degen Pener

Appears On: 2 Lists
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The Swing Book by Degen Pener


6.) Jookin’: The Rise of Social Dance Formations in African-American Culture by Katrina Hazzard-Gordon

Appears On: 2 Lists
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Jookin'- The Rise of Social Dance Formations in African-American Culture by Katrina Hazzard-Gordon, Kartina Hazzard-Gordon


5.) A Young Dancer: The Life of an Ailey Student by Valerie Gladstone, photographs by José Ivey

Appears On: 3 Lists
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A Young Dancer- The Life of an Ailey Student by Valerie Gladstone, Jose Ivey (Photographer)


4.) Alvin Ailey by Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney

Appears On: 3 Lists
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Alvin Ailey by Andrea Davis Pinkney, Brian Pinkney (Illustrations)


3.) Dance by Bill T. Jones and Susan Kuklin, photographs by Susan Kuklin

Appears On: 3 Lists
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Dance! With Bill T. Jones by Bill T. Jones, Susan Kuklin


2.) Jazz Dance: The Story Of American Vernacular Dance by Marshall and Jean Stearns

Appears On:3 Lists
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Jazz Dance- The Story of American Vernacular Dance by Marshall W. Stearns, Jean Stearns


1.) Steppin’ on the Blues: The Visible Rhythms of African American Dance by Jacque Malone

Appears On: 3 Lists
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Steppin' on the Blues- The Visible Rhythms of African American Dance (Folklore and Society) by Jacqui Malone



The 122 Remaining Books Appearing on a Single List
  • 101 Stories of the Great Ballets by George Balanchine and
    Francis Mason
  • A Dance Like Starlight
  • A Dictionary of Dance (Blue Apple, 2007) by Liz Murphy
  • Afterimages, by Arlene Croce
  • Alicia Alonso: Prima Ballerina (Marshall Cavendish, 2011) by
    Carmen T. Bernier-Grand; illus. by Raúl Colón
  • Alphabet of Dance (Soundprints, 2010) by Barbie Heit Schwaeber;
    illus. by Damian Ward
  • American Indian Ballerinas, by Lili C. Livingston
  • Apollo’s Angels by Jennifer Homans
  • ASAF MESSERER – OLEG BRIANSKY. CLASSES IN CLASSICAL BALLET
  • Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead
  • BALANCHINE, CELEBRATING A LIFE IN DANCE
  • Balanchine: A Biography, by Bernard Taper
  • Ballerina Dreams (Feiwel, 2007) by Lauren Thompson; photos by
    James Estrin
  • Ballerina: Sex, Scandal, and Suffering Behind the Symbol of
    Perfection by Deirdre Kelly
  • Ballet and Modern Dance, by Jack Anderson
  • Ballet Cat: The Totally Secret Secret
  • Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring (Porter/Flash
    Point/Roaring Brook, 2010) by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan;
    illus. by Brian Floca
  • Ballet-Student’s Primer: A Concentrated Guide for Beginners of
    All Ages by Kay Ambrose in collaboration with Celia Franca
  • Bea at Ballet (Paulsen/Penguin, 2012) by Rachel Isadora
  • Beautiful Ballerina (Scholastic, 2009) by Marilyn Nelson; photos
    by Susan Kuklin
  • Behind the Mask by Yangsook Choi
  • Brothers of the Knight (Dial, 1999) by Debbie Allen; illus. by
    Kadir Nelson
  • Choreophobia: Solo Improvised Dance in the Iranian World
    by Anthony Shay
  • Classical Ballet Technique by Gretchen Ward Warren
  • Complete Guide to Modern Dance, by Don McDonagh
  • Creative Dance for All Ages: A Conceptual Approach, by Ann Green
    Gilbert
  • Dance Anatomy by Jaqui Green Haas
  • Dance History: An IntroductionBy Janet Adshead-Lansdale; June
    Layson
  • Dance Imagery for Technique and Performance by Eric Franklin
  • Dance of the Sleepwalkers: The Dance Marathon FadBy Frank M.
    Calabria
  • Dance: Rituals of Experience, by Jamake Highwater
  • Dance! (Greenwillow, 2001) by Elisha Cooper
  • Dancers Among Us by Jordan Matter
  • Dancin’ in the Kitchen (Putnam, 1998) by Wendy Gelsanliter and
    Frank Christian; illus. by Marjorie Priceman
  • Dancing across Borders: Danzas y Bailes Mexicanos edited
    by Olga Nájera-Ramírez, Norma Elia Cantú, and Brenda M. Romero
  • Dancing at the Dawn of AgricultureBy Yosef Garfinkel
  • Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy by
    Barbara Ehrenreich
  • Dancing Through It: My Journey in the Ballet by Jennifer Ringer
  • Dancing till Dawn: A Century of Exhibition Ballroom DanceBy
    Julie Malnig
  • Dancing Wheels (Houghton, 2000) by Patricia McMahon; photos by
    John Godt
  • Dancing: The Pleasure, Power, and Art of Movement by
    Gerald Jonas
  • Days on Earth: The Dance of Doris Humphrey, by Marcia B. Siegel
  • Done into Dance: Isadora Duncan in America by Ann Daly
  • Drumbeat in Our Feet (Lee & Low, 2006) by Patricia A. Keeler and
    Júlio T. Leitão; illus. by Patricia A. Keeler
  • Dynamic Alignment Through Imagery by Eric N. Franklin
  • Ear Training for the Body by Katherine Teck
  • Europe Dancing: Perspectives on Theatre Dance and Cultural
    IdentityBy Andrée Grau; Stephanie Jordan
  • Flamenco: Gypsy Dance and Music from Andalusia edited by Claus
    Schreiner
  • Footwork: The Story of Fred and Adele Astaire by Roxane Orgill
    and Stephane Jorisch
  • Fosse by Sam Wasson
  • Further Steps: Fifteen Choreographers on Modern Dance, by Connie
    Kreemer
  • Going To My Ballet Class by Susan Kuklin
  • Gretchen Ward Warren’s books
  • Handbook of American Popular CultureBy M. Thomas Inge
  • HENNING KRONSTAM. PORTRAIT OF A DANISH DANCER
  • Hilsendager, and Brenda Dixon
  • History of the Dance in Art and Education, by Richard Kraus,
    Sarah Hilsendager, and Brenda Dixon
  • Hitler’s Dancers: German Modern Dance and the Third ReichBy
    Lillian Karina; Marion Kant; Jonathan Steinberg
  • How Can You Dance? by Rick Walton and Ana Lopez-Escriva
  • How to Dance Forever: Surviving Against the Odds, by Daniel
    Nagrin
  • In Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina
  • International Encyclopedia of Dance edited by Selma Jeanne
    Cohen and the Dance Perspectives Foundation
  • Jazz Age Josephine (Atheneum, 2012) by Jonah Winter; illus. by
    Marjorie Priceman
  • Jingle Dancer by Cynthia Leitich Smith, illustrated by Cornelius
    Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu
  • Jump Into Jazz: the basics and beyond for the jazz dance student
    by Minda Goodman Kraines, Esther Pryor
  • Kathleen O’Byrne: Irish Dancer (Brighter Child, 2002) by Declan
    Carville; illus. by Brandan Ellis
  • Kitchen Dance (Clarion, 2008) by Maurie J. Manning
  • LEGENDA ALLI SHELEST/THE LEGEND OF ALLA SHELEST
  • Let’s Dance! (Morrow, 1998) by George Ancona
  • Life in Motion by Misty Copeland
  • Lion Dancer: Ernie Wan’s Chinese New Year by Kate Waters
  • Liz Lerman’s Critical Response Process
  • Lola’s Fandango by Anna Witte, illustrated by Micha Archer
  • Mabel Dancing (Candlewick, 2000) by Amy Hest; illus. by
    Christine Davenier
  • Mama, I’ll Give You the World by Roni Schotter & S. Saelig
    Gallagher
  • Max by Rachel Isadora
  • Modern Ballroom Dancing by Victor Silvester
  • Modern Bodies: Dance and American Modernism from Martha Graham
    to Alvin AileyBy Julia L. Foulkes
  • Modern Dance (Capstone, 2008) by Wendy Garofoli
  • Modern Dance (Heinemann, 2008) by Andrew Solway
  • Movement to Music: Musicians in the Dance StudioBy Katherine
    Teck
  • Olé! Flamenco (Lee & Low, 2010) by George Ancona
  • On Your Toes: A Ballet ABC (Greenwillow, 2003) by Rachel Isadora
  • Pina Bausch-Wuppertal Dance Theater, by Norbert Servos
  • Poor Dancer’s Almanac: Managing Life and Work in the Performing
    Arts by David R. White, Lise Friedman
  • Prime Movers: The Makers of Modern Dance in America byJoseph H.
  • Mazo
  • Psychology of Dance by Jim Taylor, Ceci Taylor
  • Rap a Tap Tap: Here’s Bojangles — Think of That! (Blue
    Sky/Scholastic, 2002) by Leo and Diane Dillon
  • Rupert Can Dance
  • Serpent of the Nile: Women and Dance in the Arab World by Wendy
    Buonaventura
  • Sharing the Dance: Contact Improvisation and American Culture
    by Cynthia J. Novack
  • Social Dance: A Short HistoryBy A. H. Franks
  • Song and Dance Man by Karen Ackerman and Stephen Gammell
  • Sport, Dance, and Embodied IdentitiesBy Noel Dyck; Eduardo P.
  • Archetti
  • Suki’s Kimono by Chieri Uegaki, illustrated by Stéphane Jorisch
  • Swingin’ the Dream: Big Band Jazz and the Rebirth of American
    Culture Lewis A. Erenberg
  • Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina by Michaela
    DePrince
  • Tango: The Art History of Love by Robert Farris Thompson
  • Tanya and Emily in a Dance for Two by Patricia Lee Gauch and
    Satomi Ichikawa
  • Teach Yourself Ballroom Dancing by the Imperial Society of
    Teachers of Dancing
  • Terpsichore in Sneakers, by Sally Banes
  • The Art of Making Dancesby Doris Humphrey, Barbara Pollack
  • The Ballroom Dance Pack by Walter Laird
  • The Ballroom Technique by the ISTD
  • The Complete Book of Ballroom Dancing by Stephenson and
    Iacarrino
  • The Creative Habit by Twila Tharp
  • The Dancer Prepares by James Penrod, Janice Gudde
  • The Illustrated Dance Technique of José Limón, by Daniel D.
    Lewis
  • The Revised Technique of Latin-American Dancing by the ISTD
  • The Vision of Modern Dance: In the Words of Its Creators,
    editors Jean Morrison Brown, Naomi Mindlin, and Charles H.
    Woodford
  • To Be an Artist (Charlesbridge, 2004) by Maya Ajmera and John D.
    Ivanko
  • Training the Body for China: Sports in the Moral Order of the
    People’s Republic by Susan Brownell
  • Unsung Genius: The Passion of Dancer-Choreographer Jack Cole, by
  • Glenn Loney
  • VAGANOVA TODAY: THE PRESERVATION OF PEDAGOGICAL TRADITION by
    Catherine Pawlick
  • VERA VOLKOVA – A BIOGRAPHY by Alexander Meinertz
  • Vernon and Irene Castle’s Ragtime RevolutionBy Eve Golden
  • Viennese Waltz by the ISTD
  • Winter Season by Toni Bentley
  • Writing about Dance by Wendy Oliver – Human Kinetics
  • Your Other Left Foot by Andy McCann

The Article Sources By Date Published

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