Steps in Ballet presents a clear and simple exposition of beginning ballet technique. The book is divided into three parts: I. Basic Exercises At The Barre takes the student from the five positions of the feet through twelve elementary ballet barre exercises. II. Basic Centre Exercises introduces the concept of port de bras (movements of the arms), then describes the basic positions of the body. III. Basic Allegro Steps presents elevation and connecting steps, including leaping, springing, turning and gliding. Throughout the book, the correct balletic terms are given in French, with the phonetic pronunciation of each and their meanings. The book is profusely illustrated with line drawings showing the correct movements and occasional humorous drawings of what t to do.
Thalia Mara, founder and artistic director of the USA International Ballet Competition, made her ballet debut at the age of eleven and by fourteen was a full member of the Chicago Opera Ballet under the direction of Adoph Bolm In Paris she studied under the legendary Nicholas Legat and Olga Preobrajenska, soon rising to prominence as soloist with the Ballet Suedois and later with the Michel Fokine Ballet in New York. With her husband she founded the School of Dance Arts at Carnegie Hall and the School of Ballet Repertory. Thalia taught at New York's High School of the Performing Arts, then in 1965 founded and directed the National Academy of Ballet. In 1976, at the age of 65, Thalia moved to Jackson, Mississippi, where she created the Jackson Ballet and established Jackson as the host of the International Ballet Competition in 1979, serving as its Artistic Director through 1994.