The American Ballet Theatre, called ABT for short, published two children’s books earlier this week. On September 22, B Is for Ballet and Boys Dance! were both released and the two are currently available via Amazon. The two books are the first of many to come through a partnership between ABT and Random House Books, which was announced in early April. According to ABT’s website, the partnership is a “multi-year, multi-book publishing program.”
The fall release of the debut children’s books were supposed to coincide with the 80th anniversary of ABT’s fall season. However, due to concerns over COVID-19, ABT announced in June that the fall season would be cancelled and that there would not be any performances at the David H. Koch Theater (part of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts) between October 21 and November 1, 2020.
Luckily, the publication of the two children’s books weren’t affected. B Is for Ballet is an alphabet book with a twist, as the alphabet is presented through ballet terminology – A is for arabesque, B is for Baryshnikov, C is for Coppélia, et al. Boys Dance! is a rhyming book which details a group of boys in a dance class and the dancers who inspired them. This is a particularly special book, as it subtly tears down the walls which stand before boys who might want to take ballet classes. Both books were written by John Robert Allman. In addition to these two, the next two books slated for publication are titled Gloria’s Promise and My Daddy is a Ballet Dancer.
While I’m certainly disappointed about the lack of a fall season this year (although it is of course the right thing to do, given the pandemic), it’s nice to see ABT keeping its name alive and out there in different ways. Until the theater opens up again, though, I’ll continue to watch the performances that I’m able to find online. A few that I find myself coming back to regularly are Swan Lake, Giselle, and Cinderella, performed by Opéra nacional de Paris, as well as Sleeping Beauty, performed by The Royal Ballet.