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An interior photo of 14-year-old Em Marie, from Jordan Matter's new book Born to Dance. Photo courtesy Workman Publishing.

Looking for a last-minute gift for your ballet bookworm? Here's a sampling of recently published dance books for bunheads of all kinds, whether they're a health nut, a ballet history buff or just learning to point their toes.

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Don’t get me wrong, I love waking up to the prospect of a week full of dance. But sometimes the Monday struggle is just too real. You know the feeling: When it takes 10 tries to get your hair in something even remotely resembling a bun, when you spill tea on your last pair of good pointe shoes, when you fall out of every turn…

You’re not alone. Have a look at some of these dancers going through the seven stages of Mondays, and hang in there!

1. Shock

Lorena Feijoo in Giselle. Photo by Erik Tomasson via Scene4

2. Denial

New York City Ballet dancers in Jerome Robbins’ The Concert. Photo by Paul Kolnik via NYCB.

3. Anger

Alicia Amatriain in Christian Spuck’s Le Grand Pas de Deux. Photo by Roman Novitzky via Stuttgart Ballet.

4. Bargaining

Osiel Gounod and Félix Rodriguez in Coppélia. Photo via Ballet Nacional de Cuba

5. Guilt

Lucille Ball from “I Love Lucy.” Photo via CNN.com

6. Depression

English National Ballet. Photo by ASH via @dancespiritmagazine

7. Acceptance

Scott Autry in Steamboat Springs, CO. Photo by Jordan Matter via Tiny Dancers Among Us.

For more news on all things ballet, don’t miss a single issue.

When it comes to dance photography, I have a serious soft spot.  Dane Shitagi’s Ballerina Project, Lois Greenfield’s work, I love it all. And so, I was delighted when a friend showed me what baseball player-turned-actor-turned-photographer Jordan Matter has been working on: Dancers Among Us.  It’s been around since 2009, and is a labor of love between Matter, professional dancers from all over and New York City’s magnificent cityscape.

 

“Dancers Among Us” is a celebration of being alive. Matter watched his children play make-believe one day, and was completely inspired by the pure and innocent pleasure he witnessed. He wanted to create a photo project that could convey that same sense of childish pleasure, free from self-consciousness, in everyday activities. From headstands on the escalator at Grand Central, to leaping down the steps at the Plaza Hotel, to plank-pose on the tables at the Public Library, each photograph is packed with total and utter joy.

 

You can view the entire collection at jordanmatter.com/photography/dance-photography/dancers-among-us/gallery.php#

 

They are sure to brighten your day.  I looked at them this morning - and haven’t stopped smiling since.

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