Classes, conditioning, and many, many rehearsals—ballet dancers are often so busy dancing that they don’t have time to think of themselves and what they need. Treat your ballet-dancing friend with a practical or just plain fun gift from this list! Despite the stereotype that they may be fickle, ballet dancers are actually extremely easy to shop for. Get them any tool to help further sculpt their body, a clothing item or accessory to wear to the studio, or anything to provide the inspiration for their craft, and they will be pleased.
Best Gifts for Ballet Dancers:
Based on the classic Shakespeare comedy of the same name, A Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of George Balanchine’s few full-length ballets, and arguably one of his most entertaining. Friendly for the whole family, this 2001 recording features the dancers of Pacific Northwest Ballet, one of America’s most highly regarded ballet companies. Follow along as fairies, butterflies, bugs, and hounds scurry around the enchanted forest and get caught up in the drama of the lovers as the meddling sprite Puck wreaks havoc upon their lives. This funny ballet is an incredibly enjoyable gift for well-versed balletomanes as well as those new to the art form!
Ballet dancers are always strengthening and stretching, trying to get into the best possible shape they can to prepare for a performance. A workout DVD is the perfect tool to keep your dancing friend motivated outside the studio. Professional dancers from the world-renowned New York City Ballet demonstrate each exercise (with spot-on form, of course) and your ballet-loving friend can follow along with their fantastic example. Set to classical music from a variety of famous ballets, this workout is 90 minutes long, with low impact and high precision required. It’s an especially wonderful gift for dancers recovering from an injury or for newbies looking for an additional tool to build technique.
Originally published in 1967, the Technical Manual and Dictionary of Classical Ballet by Gail Grant is a necessity for young pre-professional students and recreational dancers alike. This small book provides pronunciations of and definitions for every classical ballet step imaginable. Learning how to correctly say, spell, and explain the French terminology of ballet will boost any serious student’s credibility. Even the most seasoned ballerina may occasionally wish to sharpen her knowledge of the language she speaks with her body each day. Practical and essential, this ballet dictionary is a perfect little gift for the studious and perfectionistic dancer in your life.
Edgar Degas’s Impressionistic paintings of ballerinas are known around the world and loved by dancers and spectators alike—now, his dancers can be found on the ankles of many an art aficionado! These Hot Sox Crew Socks depict Degas-style ballerinas clad in buns and beautiful tutus standing in repose. A great gift for your ballet dancing friend with a need for functional footwear (which goes without saying) and a love for Impressionism, these are great for warming up in before ballet class or showing off at an art museum. By wearing a pair of Degas-inspired socks, one can convey their love of several art forms—dance, painting, and fashion.
Any dancer can tell you strong toes and feet are the keys to injury prevention. Help your ballet-dancing friend get even stronger with a set of Theraband resistance bands. These can be wrapped around one’s feet, legs, or arms to air in strengthening, such as by resisting against the elastic with flexing and pointing the toes, or performing clamshells, leg circles, tricep curls—the possibilities are endless! Theraband resistance bands are an essential tool for any dancer or athlete looking to build muscle tone and endurance without the bulk.
If the ballet student in your life complains about falling out of pesky pirouettes at the studio, a Turn Board is the perfect gift for him or her! With this board, a dance can sustain a turn in any position—passé, coupé, à la seconde—for far longer than is normally humanly possible. The Ballet is Fun Turn Board is the perfect size for your dancing friend’s standing foot and is slick on the floor but not too slippery. It is a wonderful device to help improve head spotting as well as staying centered over one’s standing leg. Purchase a Turn Board, and your friend will marvel at his or her newfound strength during pirouettes in class!
Can’t get enough dancing in at the studio? Bring the studio to your dancer friend with a ballet barre for home! Exercises performed at the ballet barre are the foundation for good technique, and your ballet dancer will be happy for the opportunity to hone his or her technique from the comforts of home. Whether it’s pliés, piqués, or passés, the ballet lover close to you will be grateful to have the assistance of the barre outside of just ballet class.
Tchaikovsky’s full-length ballet scores are some of the most artfully crafted in the entire repertoire. Give your ballet-dancing friend some inspiration with this two CD set of Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty. It features nearly three hours of classical music from all four acts of the famous ballet. Your friend won’t be able to keep from dancing to its beautiful melodies, from light and airy fairy music to jaunty mazurkas. Listen to this classic score, and you’ll understand why it is one of the most beloved of all time!