On Wings of Joy: The Story of Ballet from the 16th Century to Today Book Review (2020)

This is the book that holds the history of the elegant art form of dancing called ballet that also reads like a novel. Written by author Trudy Garfunkel, On Wings of Joy tells you the story of how ballet came to be, it starts at the beginning from the 16th century and she describes events until the very modern age of ballet.

What you also get to read about in this book is the introduction of the many dancers, choreographers, and composers who all chipped in to make ballet the famous dance form that it is today.

Trudy sets the scene for this interesting book in the 16th century, the time of birth for the artistic dance form of ballet as it was introduced in the French court of Catherine d’ Medici, the Queen of France.

That was the time when this dance was given its meaning and it was set to the specific type of music. An interesting fact that probably not many know about ballet is that it was first performed by the members of the court and not by professional dancers.

All of this was probably the experimental stage as it wasn’t until somewhere in the middle of the 17th century when it was decided that professional dancers would be a much better fit to practice and learn this beautiful dance form.

After Louis XIV himself realized that he was too old and fat to perform this anymore he decided that professional dancers were to be trained in the art of ballet and from that point on ballet was performed by skilled and professional dancers who brought new meaning and elegance to the dance.

Another thing mentioned in the book which we will share with you as well in this book review of On Wings of Joy: The Story of Ballet from the 16th Century to Today is the fact that ballet was initially only performed by men.

But, the ballet was given a new meaning and it evolved even further when in 1681 women were introduced to it and it got even more popular. After all that has happened to ballet through these centuries, it evolves and spreads even more through Russia and the whole of Europe.

Trudy continues the story by writing about it in the 20th century now as she mentions all of the important faces, the dancers, the choreographers, and the musicians who help out in the forming and spreading of the ballet. She devotes entire chapters to famous contributors to the dance like Anna Pavlova and George Balanchine.

If you are a huge fan of the ballet, then you can find out all about its history from this amusing Wings of Joy book by Trudy Garfunkel. She has managed to put every important detail into perfect historical context and explains the roots of this popular artistic dance form as it is important to know the history of any great thing.