Score: 93/100 (9.3 out of 10)
Once Upon a Dance is yet another returning Outstanding Creator Awards champion, this time in children's books!
This is a fantastic book if you have a child who might be interested in ballet or dance but don't know where to start. Think of this as Ballet/Dance 101, but instead of paying a lot upfront for a beginner's class, you can get it for probably less than $20 when the book releases on May 3rd. You as the parent or teacher, however, have to be prepared to consume and understand these techniques and then teach them. That's a commitment of time, energy, and mind-power. If you care enough about the practice, however, it can definitely be worth it, and your kids can definitely benefit. It's not too dissimilar to books teaching things like yoga to children.
The author provides helpful metaphors for these techniques. For example, your ideal posture can be imagined as being like a peacock spreading their feathers or a cobra stretching the sides of its neck ("hood"). Your ideal foot placement is compared to making the biggest footprint possible in the sand at the beach, feeling it between your toes. Other analogies are made such as forming a tripod with your body, emulating a flamingo, and imagining breathing in a large hot pot of spaghetti. The performer is instructed to imagine forming a tower with their hips, chest, and head. These analogies can be very helpful, and the illustrations further hit the points home.
This is not your traditional children's book with a short morality tale that's intended to be consumed in one sitting, although you could presumably read all of this in about 20 minutes. This is actually an educational guide containing detailed instructions, helpful tips, and complementary (and beautiful) illustrations showing you and your child how to perform some of the basics of ballet and dance.
If there's anything that keeps this book from being perfect, however, it's that it is very wordy. The author/instructor has a lot to say, and it can be pretty complex from time to time. Remember, it's not how much you (the coach) know, it's how much the players or the performers know. Again, you as the parent or teacher have to be prepared to read and understand this before presenting it. Sitting down with a child to read this from cover to cover may push their attention spans to their limits, so it's probably best to tackle one concept at a time or to take this information and create your own routine from it, perhaps practicing standing, breathing, and balancing for about 30 minutes each day. You and your child may find it fun to do this together!
Something very cool about Once Upon a Dance is that their books are all part of a multimedia program that includes other books and videos. We would not be surprised if there's audio to accompany this, and that could be very helpful. The reason for that is, it can be difficult to practice something while holding a book in your hand at the same time. It is easier for someone to read the instructions aloud to you, allowing you to focus on physically performing the actions/movements.
We encourage you to check them out at https://onceuponadance.com/dance-stance or https://www.facebook.com/OnceUponADanceViralDancing/ in anticipation for the May 3rd book release!