(Nine) Ladies Dancing

Ballet, dancer, swan lake

(Five more ladies dancing out of frame…)

For me, ballet dancers and Christmas go together like Easter and bunnies – there’s something simply right about the combination.

There’s something about ballet that chimes with the glitter and glow of traditional Christmas decorations – wooden soldiers, sugar plum fairies and nutcrackers – no candy-hearted Christmas lover can resist.

ballet, dancer, swan lake

It’s a (nut) cracker

So there couldn’t have been a more appropriate time than this week  for Jane to spot a beautiful illustrated children’s book from the 1940s, which combines the stories of two ballets – Swan Lake and Petrouchka – with some gorgeous lithographs of dancers in imaginary productions of them.

ballet, dancer, swan lake

Simply Sylvia

The book – Tales From The Ballet – was published by the Sylvan Press in 1946,  a very constrained period for printers and publishers – so the relative lavishness of the illustrations in this book are all the more special.

ballet, dancer, swan lake

Dreamy Tchaikovsky

The lithographs are credited to Sylvia Green who was actually a theatrical costume designer: some of the sketches from her work are held by the V&A and are very similar to the graceful, finely drawn pictures in the book.

ballet, dancer, Stravinsky

Stravinsky’s puppet tale

You can see more illustrations from the book here.


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