BOOK: How They Became Famous Dancers–A Dancing History


Author: Anne Dunkin.

Learn how these famous dancers with varied backgrounds and personalities shared a passion for dance and how they used their passion to succeed.  This soft-bound book gives readers the history of 12 famous dancers (six men and six women) such as Anna Pavlova, Rudolf Laban, Pearl Primus, and Louis XIV.  136 pages, 79 Illustrations (31 in color). Geared to readers age 9-14 but enjoyable by all ages.


8″ x 10 ” soft-bound book.  136 pages, 79 Illustrations (31 in color).  Geared to readers age 9-14 but enjoyable by all ages.  Price includes shipping inside the USA.

  • Author, Anne Dunkin, tells the stories of twelve famous dancers (six women and six men) from different parts of the world. Spanning the seventeenth into the twenty-first centuries, each biographical sketch is placed within the individual’s historical and cultural context. The famous dancers include: Louis XIV, John Durang, Marie Taglioni, William Henry ‘Juba’ Lane, Anna Pavlova, Rudolf Laban, Doris Humphrey, Michio Ito, Mrinalini Sarabhai, Pearl Primus, Amalia Hernandez, and Arthur Mitchell.   Each chapter includes “Create a Dance” giving young readers the opportunity to dance themselves based on each dancer’s style.
  • Suited to individual readers, and to dance education, history, dance history, social sciences, arts education, and other subjects.  
  • Endorsements: “What a wonderful way to learn dance history” says Susan McGreevy-Nichols, E.D of NDEO.  “A unique and impressively written, organized, and presented history of dance, How They Became Famous Dancers is very highly recommended for both school and community library collections.”–Midwest Book Review.

Price includes shipping inside the USA.


Anne Green Gilbert, author of Creative Dance for All Ages and Brain-compatible Dance Education

“I loved this fascinating, easy-to-read, interactive book about some of the most famous dancers of the 17th into the 21st centuries. The book, appropriate for ages 10 and up, is thoroughly researched and beautifully illustrated with lovely drawings and historical paintings and photos. The prompts for creating dances based on each dancer’s style that appear at the end  of every chapter are a fabulous addition. I highly recommend this book!”


Mary-Jean Cowell, Ph.D., Coordinator, Dance Program
Washington University in St. Louis

“The choice of dancers covered in this book is admirable in its diversity of dance genres and ethnicities represented. Moreover, the biographies not only make clear the passion, dedicated effort and persistence required to achieve excellence in dance but also connect the dancers’ lives and work with larger sociopolitical issues, some very important today. I would certainly recommend this book to teachers and to families with young dancers.”


Elsa Posey, R.D.E., President, National Registry of Dance Educators
Director, Posey School of Dance

“How They Became Famous Dancers is a book I will recommend to all my students and associates. Dancers have need of this book. It will help them reflect on why they dance and how they dance as they learn about famous dancers of the past from all over the world. How will you dance? Reading this book will help inspire you to find your own dance.”


Dale Schmid, Ed.D., State Arts Resource Specialist

“Finally! Here’s an indispensible resource that alleviates the K-12 dance teachers’ heavy reliance on dance history text excerpted from scholarly articles and book chapters written for the adult reader. Crafted in student-friendly language, How They Became Famous Dancers: A Dancing History captures the history of dance for young readers in an engaging and direct manner. This book will be a great addition to any school library, as well as a terrific enhancement to dance teachers’ personal reference collections.”


Shana Habel, K-12 Dance Adviser
Los Angeles Unified School District

“How They Became Famous Dancers: A Dancing History is such a well-written, welcome and much needed addition to the dance literature for young readers. It is an utterly charming book, and hits the mark with its rich text and wonderfully diverse selection of historical figures for students to connect to both intellectually and kinesthetically. I can’t wait to explore its possibilities in the classroom!”


Jane M. Bonbright, Ed.D., Founding Executive Director
National Dance Education Organization

“How they Became Famous Dancers: A Dancing History fills a void existing in dance and arts education literature for young readers. It integrates the beautifully researched history with aesthetics and criticism, topics usually not addressed in K-12 arts education materials, and embeds the three artistic processes – creating, performing and responding – through creative dance activities. This book supports different learning styles by introducing and integrating modes of learning that access kinesthetic, spatial, cognitive, and musical intelligences.”


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