Thursday, May 08, 2008

Birthday Gifts: Dance Books



My parents know that when they want to get me a present, they can't go wrong with books about dance. For my birthday (May 4), they surprised me with Martine, petit rat de l'opéra, a children's book that very much fueled my passion for ballet when I was a little girl. A bit cheesy, granted, but inspirational nonetheless...

And who is Martine's best friend but Patapouf, a dachshund - a cousin of Benjy's, no doubt...

My parents also gave me the sumptuous Etudes d'après modèle, danseurs, by Finnish photographer Elina Brotherus, who collaborated with dancers from the Opéra de Paris.
I love it how rather than showing expected tutus and arabesques, Brotherus shows us the dancers' bodies genuinely in motion, in the middle of intimate, exquisite gestures.

29 comments:

pia said...

what a stunning book that looks to be. and seems like we are all revisiting our childhoods these days with our favourite books from way back when, does martine get up to mischief or is she a good girl?

La minuscule exposition said...

Happy birthday then !

Mary-Laure said...

MINUSCULE EXPOSITION - thank you!

PIA - oh, Martine, unfortunately, is a very good girl. There's a whole series of books about Martine and she's the super anti-feminist heroine, her ambition being to clean, cook and take care of babies... She's quite boring and I never liked her; the only volume in the series I liked was the one about ballet.
But I read that my favorite 'babyhood' book series (from when I was tiny tiny) has just been re-issued so I'll buy it and will feature it on my blog soon.

design for mankind. said...

Awww, these are beautiful!

IT'S YOUR BIRTHDAY? OH GOODNESS, WE MUST CELEBRATE ONLINE! :)

karina said...

Feliz cumpleños!

MISS GLITZY said...

Happy Birthday Miss!!! Ah Martine, je n'avais pas revu ces dessins depuis, pfffff.... Une bouffée d'enfance même si effectivement elle était trop petite fille modèle, j'ai très vite préférée les héroïnes plus intrépides. J'ai pas encore répondu à ton questionnaire, désolée, mais je viens de remettre la main dessus. A très vite.

Kwana said...

Happy Birthday! Dance Books. What a great idea! I'll remember for my own DD. Check out my blog today. You've won an award!

the traveler's soul said...

La danse classique est une ascese qui façonne le corps de la danseuse, jusque dans son ossature.

La verticalité de sa colonne vertebrale, comme une ame, relie la terre et le ciel.

coco said...

I think dance books sound like great gifts
my mum used to be a dancer and I love looking at her books

Mary-Laure said...

Miss Glitzy - quelles sont donc ces heroines intrepides que tu aimais?

Kwana - an award? Please excuse me while I blush... You're to sweet, thanks!
(Did Jack have a word to say in who would get the award?)

Coco - whaaaaoooow, your mum was a dancer!!!! I admire her. Any books from her collection you'd like to recommend?

Traveler's Soul - quand je te lis, je me dis qu'on a la meme idee, et le meme amour, de la danse.
Mais la danse classique faconne aussi le danseur... Non?

yasu said...

the ballet book is really beautiful. I'm a big fan of ballet(although i don;t do myself of course) but love the costumes and the graceful poses of dancers.
And I got the letter from you already! Thank you Mary-laure. You are so kind!

artycho said...

Happy Birthday!!! I remember Martine but I can't quite recall whether I like it or not!

Joanna Goddard said...

beautiful.

Mom said...

Glad you enjoyed your gifts.

Malicious Intent said...

Thanks for stopping by. Came to your blog and thought to myself you seemed so much like another blogger I know, Chronicle of Habit. Sure enough I see you have been there. :)

atelier said...

happy birthday! and the book looks good if you love dance so much

love aesthetics said...

I HAVE THAT BOOK TOOO!! in dutch its called "Tiny gaat op baletles"...I have several books from the series, and the drawings are beauutiful...When I draw, i used to have trouble with drawing the hands, in the balet book the hands are drawn soooo elegant and just perfect, so ive got that book next to my sketchbook in case I need some examples of hands

love aesthetics said...

congratulations by the way!

andrea tachezy said...

Happy birthday! Great presents :-)

Mary-Laure said...

YASU - if you're into ballet maybe we could go to the Paris Opéra together when you're in town...

LOVE AESTHETICS - It's so funny that you have the book! And you actually use it! The drawings in this volume are exquisite indeed, as the illustrators made sure that their drawings would be true to life; they worked with pro dancers and ballet teachers.
Yes hands are hard to draw; as a dancer, I can tell you they're also hard to make look elegant and expressive!!!
I'm so glad to hear this ballet book helps you with your art!
My sister now works in Amsterdam like you, so we could meet next time I visit her...?

jo said...

dear mary-laure,

i hope you had a wonderful birthday! may this year be filled with nothing but incredible things for you!!! i wish you all the best!

te mando un abrazo muy, muy, muy fuerte!!!

thehardings said...

Hey!! This was my favourite book as a young dancer too. My book was Debbie can Dance (it looked exactly the same but was the English version)! Its so funny seeing the french version because my name is Martine!! Happy Birthday to you! I hope your still dancing :)

Mary-Laure said...

JO - gracias por el abrazo...

THE HARDINGS - it's so amazing you had this book! And that your name is actually Martine, "Debbie"'s real name!!!
To answer your question: yes, I still dance. I never became a pro but I enjoy ballet nonetheless.
Do you still dance?

Kwana said...

Hi Mary-laure. You know Jack loves you! Here is the link to the Award: http://kwanawrites.blogspot.com/2008/05/she-really-likes-me.html

stacy said...

This book looks incredible.

Anonymous said...

Sais-tu Mary-Laure que c'est dans une vieille malle chinoise qui n'avait pas ete ouverte depuis des annees que ta mere et moi avons retouve ce livre!! Mum dit que tu le recherchais jusqu'aux "Puces" le dimanche...Peut etre est-ce toi meme qui l'avait mis la alors que nous vivions encore a Peking! C'est loin...

d i a n a m u s e said...

Happiest of days to you! Apologies for being a bit late to the party.

The children's book is charming. What a thoughtful, sweet gift from those who know and love you best.

jean-louis said...

Content que cela t'ait fait plaisir.

Ediot said...

oh, i love ballet. i'd love to go to a real ballet some time. swanlake or something-- but images can do for now..thanks for the post