Ballet of the Elephants

by Leda Schubert and Robert Andrew Parker

A remarkable convergence of fine arts and carnival showmanship occurred in April... read more

A remarkable convergence of fine arts and carnival showmanship occurred in April 1942, when choreographer George Balanchine, composer Igor Stravinsky, and dancer Vera Zorina’s collaboration with Wisconsin native and circus owner John Ringling North debuted. The Ballet of the Elephants featured fifty tutu-clad elephants from Ringling’s Greatest Show on Earth in a dance with Zorina. It was choreographed by Balanchine to music composed by Stravinsky for the performance. This vivid account details the odd and fascinating majesty of that event, as well as the personalities involved and the planning and preparation that went into it. Leda Schubert conveys a remarkable amount of information in her relatively brief picture book narrative, which is set against Robert Andrew Parker’s compelling watercolor illustrations. Schubert details her research in an author’s note that is accompanied by several black-and-white photos of the ballet’s rehearsal and performance, including one performance that took place at Circus World Museum in Baraboo, Wisconsin. (Ages 5–10)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2007

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