Sunday, December 26, 2010

Have You Met Angelina Ballerina?

What blog about picture books and dance would be complete without mentioning Angelina Ballerina, right? Well, today seems as good a time as any to bring up this lovable dancing mouse, as she has been very busy lately!

For instance, did you know that Angelina recently had a makeover? Well, I think it actually happened in 2008 (so maybe it isn't that recent), but it's pretty recent news to me. Thanks to HIT Entertainment and its partners, there is now a CGI-animated version of Angelina out there, leaping and twirling in many new places. There are new toys, new coloring books, new DVDs, and even a new animated television series called Angelina Ballerina: First StepsIn the new series, Angelina has moved to a new neighborhood with a new performing arts center, new friends, and a new dance teacher. And she's adding lots of new dance styles to her repertoire. Here's a little snippet:

Since her makeover, Angelina has also added several new roles to her resume. In June 2010, she became the spokescharacter for Angelina Ballerina Stars of Tomorrow--a multi-year pilot program to introduce the many benefits of dance and to provide opportunities for dance education to school-age children in the Bronx, New York. Because of the initial success of the program, Angelina Ballerina Stars of Tomorrow is now teaming up with the Dizzy Feet Foundation to give scholarships to and to support dance education for underpriveleged children throughout the United States.

Angelina is also starring in her very own musical--appropriately titled "Angelina Ballerina, the Musical"--this winter. The Vital Theatre Company premiered the musical in New York City in October, and it looks like it may be running in the city through February 19th. I also saw that the company will be performing in the Pittsburgh area in January, and I believe other tour dates are planned. You can try checking here for updates, but I can't vouch for how well the site is being maintained.

So...this is all very exciting news, especially if Angelina fans like her new makeover. But if you, like me, are missing the old Angelina--drawn by Helen Craig with simple paper and pencil--then the good news is that the classic Angelina books aren't going anywhere. Here's a list, straight from the website of author Katharine Holabird:

Angelina Ballerina
Angelina and the Princess
Angelina at the Fair
Angelina's Christmas
Angelina On Stage
Angelina's Birthday
Angelina and Alice
Angelina Ice Skates
Angelina's Baby Sister
Angelina's Halloween
Angelina and Henry
Angelina, Star of the Show
Angelina at the Palace

And finally, just in case you aren't familiar with the original books, I found a clip on YouTube of someone reading Angelina Ballerina--the book that started it all, first published in 1983. I wasn't able to embed the video in my post because of restrictions that were placed on the clip, but you can find it here. Hope you enjoy it!


  1. What a great post! :) Parents always tell me that their young ones watch this show. I always encourage them and tell them it's a great show for dance education. Thanks for writing about it!

  2. Thanks, Maria. My girls have always liked the original Angelina show, but maybe we will check out the new one. It seems like it might emphasize rhythm a lot, and it's great that Angelina is learning new kinds of dance!


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