Apollo’s Angels [Audiobook Review]

Title: Apollo’s Angels
Author: Jennifer Homans
Narrator: Kirsten Potter
Genre: Nonfiction, History, Ballet
Pages: 672
Audio: 23.4 hours
Year: 2011
Publisher: Tanto Audio
Source: Library
Book Rating: 4/5
Audio Rating: 4/5

Summary/My Thoughts:

If you are looking for an in-depth history of ballet, this is it.  Y’all know I’m a dancer myself, so obviously I have a lot more interest in the subject matter than a lay person. I’ve taken Bournenville’s barre, I’ve danced La Sylphide, I have all of Cecchetti’s syllabi in my muscle memory, and I’ve cursed those who invented pointe shoes. So take this review for what it’s worth, written by a lifelong ballerina.

This book contains so much history and so much detail, that it really is amazing to think that anyone could have even written it. The research that went into this must have been incredible. The book starts where ballet started, in France. It then moves along with history to the rest of Europe (most notably, Denmark and Italy), Russia, England, and America. We see the key players and styles on the way.

One fault I had with this was personal, the treatment of Enrico Cecchetti and the Cecchetti method of ballet wasn’t as detailed as some of the other players/styles. After listening to the Bournenville section, I thought I’d get a similar one for my own style and its master. But I was left wanting.

But overall, I have to give Ms. Homan’s a brava for this one.

Audiobook Thoughts:

I started this one in print way back when it first came out, but I tend to get bogged down in nonfiction in print, so I picked up the audio instead. As I sit here, I can’t think of much to say about Kirsten Potter’s narration, which is basically want you want in nonfiction, I think.

4 thoughts on “Apollo’s Angels [Audiobook Review]

  1. zibilee February 4, 2013 / 1:16 pm

    I just finished The Painted Girls on audio, and it was very heavily influenced by ballet. I think you would like it. The narrator had the perfect accent for all the french terms,, and I think that someone who loves ballet and understands tit the way that you do would do great with this book. Though this one doesn’t sound like it’s for me, I am glad that you found it rewarding and enriching!


  2. MelissaW February 4, 2013 / 1:46 pm

    I have this in paperback, just haven’t got to it yet. You are right – amazing breadth of history and research.

    Disappointed to hear about the Cecchetti getting short shrift – most of my training was of that style, with some Balanchine/NYCB thrown in for good measure. Having had a week of Vaganova (oh, oh, ow, my back) and two weeks of Bournenville (I’m a jumper and I was like, woo, jumping, then I wanted to die) courtesy of some guest teachers, I was always happy to come back to Cecchetti!


  3. Nicole February 6, 2013 / 9:59 am

    Did you read the The Crane’s Dance? It’s a novel about two competitive sisters in Ballet. I didn’t know you danced, but this makes me think you might enjoy it. I really liked it, but I thought it was little ballet heavy for me.


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