Ballet and Stage School Stories

Bibliography of ballet and stage school stories


In the main article (not posted here, since I’m still re-writing it!) I try to distinguish between ballet stories and ballet school stories: the former focus on the dancer’s ambition and achievements, the latter on the school. However, this proved too difficult to maintain, so the list below is an attempt to identify all books for girls that focus on a dancer’s training, plus those books (as with Lorna Hill) which form part of the same series. Where the book is set in a boarding school, the title is in bold font.

  I’ve now added stage schools into the mix, as this is a growing sub-genre. I’m still wondering about skating and gymnastics, but haven’t come to a decision yet: input welcomed!

In the author section of this book, we have generally avoided listing books set at mixed schools, leaving that task to Robert Kirkpatrick in The Encyclopaedia of Boys’ School Stories. However, we have included mixed schools in the ballet/stage section since real-life ballet and stage schools are mixed, something largely reflected in the stories set in such schools.

  In the first edition of this book, US ballet stories were included; since 1998, when the list was compiled, so much has been written or discovered that considerations of space means that non-British books have reluctantly been omitted, save when mentioned in the main article.

A major problem that’s arisen since the first edition (and not just in this topic) is the cross-over between genres: books such as Darcey Bussell’s ‘Magic Ballerina’ series are a mash-up between ballet stories and fantasy – and what does one do with Angelina Ballerina and its sequels, where the dancing protagonist is a mouse, or the eponymous Henrietta, the dancing hippo? In the end, we took the decision to omit fantasy, particularly as such books tend to be aimed at very young readers or pre-readers, and picture books were (and are) omitted from the author section. So there are no ballet fairies or magic ballet shoes in the list below.


Please ignore formatting – I had real trouble with the formatting in this application!


Mabel Esther Allan (as Jean Estoril)


Drina series


1.      Ballet for Drina, Hodder & Stoughton (1957)

2.      Drina’s Dancing Year, Hodder & Stoughton (1958)

3.      Drina Dances in Exile, Hodder & Stoughton (1959)

4.      Drina Dances in Italy, Hodder & Stoughton (1959)

5.      Drina Dances Again, Hodder & Stoughton (1960)

6.      Drina Dances in New York, Hodder & Stoughton (1961)

7.      Drina Dances in Paris, Hodder & Stoughton (1962)

8.      Drina Dances in Madeira, Hodder & Stoughton (1963)

9.      Drina Dances in Switzerland, Hodder & Stoughton (1964)

10.  Drina Goes on Tour, Hodder & Stoughton (1965)

11.  Drina, Ballerina, Hodder & Stoughton (1991)


  We Danced in Bloomsbury Square, Heinemann (1967); reissued as: The Ballet

            Twins, Macdonald  (1989)


Antonia Barber


Dancing Shoes series


1.                  Lessons for Lucy Puffin (1998)

2.                  Into the Spotlight Puffin (1998)

3.                  Friends and Rivals Puffin (1998)

4.                  Out of Step Puffin (1998)

5.                  Making the Grade Puffin (1999)

6.                  Lucy’s Next Step Puffin (1999)

7.                  Best Foot Forward Puffin (1999)

8.                  Time to Dance Puffin (1999)

9.                  In a Spin Puffin (2000)

10.              Model Dancers Puffin (2000)

11.              In the Wings Puffin (2000)

12.              Dance to the Rescue Puffin (2000)


George Beardmore


‘Belle of the Ballet’ was a series in Girl during the 1950s; the two books are spin-offs from that series.


Belle of the Ballet’s Gala Performance, Hulton Press (1956)

Belle of the Ballet’s Country Holiday, Hulton Press (1956)



Linda Blake


1.       Ballet for Laura, Collins Children’s Press (1965)

2.      Laura’s Summer Ballet, Collins Children’s Press (1967)



Mary Cathcart Borer


The Little Ballerina, Pitman (1949): the book of the 1947 British film of the same name



Pamela Brown

  1. The Swish of the Curtain, Nelson (1941)
  2. Maddy Alone, Nelson (1945)
  3. Golden Pavements, Nelson (1947)
  4. Blue Door Venture, Nelson (1949)
  5. Maddy Again, (1956)

Ann Bryant


Ballerina Dreams series


1.                  Poppy’s Secret Wish Usborne (2004)*

2.                  Jasmine’s Lucky Star Usborne (2004)*

3.                  Rose’s Big Decision Usborne (2004)*

4.                  Dancing Princess Usborne (2005)†

5.                  Dancing with the Stars Usborne (2005) †

6.                  Dancing Forever Usborne (2005) †

7.                  The Christmas Nutcracker Usborne (2005)


*Reprinted in omnibus: Ballet Magic Usborne (2006)

†Reprinted in omnibus: Dancing Friends Usborne (2006)



Naomi Capon


Dancers of Tomorrow. Brockhampton Press (1956)+


Harriet Castor


Ballerinas series


1.           Sadie’s Ballet School Dream, Hodder Children’s Books (1996)

2.           Luci in the Spotlight, Hodder Children’s Books (1996)

3.           Pippa on Pointe, Hodder Children’s Books (1996)

4.           Ella’s Last Dance, Hodder Children’s Books (1996)



Nada Curcija-Prodanovic


1.    Ballerina, OUP (1961)

2.      Ballet on Tour, OUP (1972)



Lyn Gardner


Stage School series [referred to on Amazon but nowhere else as ‘Swans on Stage’ series]


1.    Olivia’s First Term Noisy Crow (2011)

2.    Olivia Flies High Noisy Crow (2011)

3.    Olivia and the Movie Stars Noisy Crow (2012)

4.    Olivia’s Enchanted Summer Noisy Crow (2012)

5.    Olivia’s Winter Wonderland Noisy Crow (2012)

6.    Olivia and the Great Escape Noisy Crow (2013)

7.    Olivia’s Curtain Call Noisy Crow (2013)



Susan Gaynor


Merry Goes to Ballet School, Lutterworth (1957)



Adèle Geras


Red Fox Ballet Books Collection


1.                  Little Swan, Red Fox Ballet Books: Random House (1995)

2.                  Louisa’s Secret, Red Fox Ballet Books: Random House (1997)

3.                  Louisa in the Wings, Red Fox Ballet Books: Random House (1997)

4.                  A Rival for Louisa, Red Fox Ballet Books: Random House (1997)

5.                  Louisa on Screen, Red Fox Ballet Books: Random House (2001)

6.                  Good Luck, Louisa!, Red Fox Ballet Books: Random House (2002)



Rumer Godden


1.    A Candle for St Jude (adult), Michael Joseph (1948)

2.    Listen to the Nightingale, Pan Macmillan (1992)

         Thursday’s Children, Macmillan (1984)



Linda Graeme


The Reluctant Ballerina, Brockhampton 1964



Susan Hampshire


  1. Lucy Jane at the Ballet, Collins (1985)

2.      Lucy Jane on Television, Methuen (1989)

  1. Lucy Jane and the Dancing Competition, Methuen (1991)

4.    Lucy Jane and the Russian Ballet, Methuen (1993)



Arnold Haskell


Felicity Dances, Nelson (1937)



Lorna Hill


Wells series


1.      A Dream of Sadler’s Wells, Evans (1950)

2.      Veronica at the Wells, Evans (1951)

3.      Masquerade at the Wells, Evans (1952)

4.      No Castanets at the Wells, Evans (1953)

5.      Jane Leaves the Wells, Evans (1953)

6.      Ella at the Wells, Evans (1954)

7.      Return to the Wells, Evans (1955)

8.      Rosanna joins the Wells, Evans (1956)

9.      Principal Rôle, Evans (1957)

10.  Swan Feather, Evans (1958)

11.  Dress Rehearsal, Evans (1959)

12.  Backstage, Evans (1960)

13.  Vicki in Venice, Evans (1962)

14.  The Secret, Evans (1964)


Dancing Peel series


1.    Dancing Peel, Nelson (1954)

2.    Dancer's Luck, Nelson (1955)

3.    The Little Dancer, Nelson (1956)

4.    Dancer in the Wings, Nelson (1958)

5.    Dancer in Danger, Nelson (1960)

6.      Dancer on Holiday, Nelson (1962)



Cindy Jefferies


Fame School series (stage school with focus on training in pop music)


1.             Reach for the Stars, Usborne (2005)

2.             Rising Star, Usborne (2005)

3.             Secret Ambition, Usborne (2005)

4.             Rivals, Usborne (2005)

5.             Tara’s Triumph, Usborne (2005)

6.             Lucky Break, Usborne (2005)

7.             Solo Star, Usborne (2006)

8.             Christmas Stars, Usborne (2006)

9.             Pop Diva, Usborne (2007)

10.         Battle of the Bands, Usborne (2007)

11.         Star Maker, Usborne (2008)

12.         Dancing Star, Usborne (2008)

13.         Summer Spectacular, Usborne (2009)

14.         Trick or Treat, Usborne (2010)



Mai Lewis Jones


Ballet School series


1.    Cassie at the Ballet School, Hodder (1994)

2.    Ghost at the Ballet School, Hodder (1994)

3.    New Friends at the Ballet School, Hodder (1994)

4.    Trouble at the Ballet School, Hodder (1994)

5.    On Tour with the Ballet School, Hodder (1995)

6.    Stars of the Ballet School, Hodder (1995)


Dance Club series


1.    Footprint in the Clay, Macdonald (1996)

2.    Double Trouble, Macdonald (1996)

3.    Skeleton in the Wardrobe, Macdonald (1996)

4.    Danger at the Castle, Macdonald 1996)

5.    Flowers and Fireworks, Macdonald (1996)

6.      Summer School Secrets, Macdonald (1996)


Mara Kay

 A Circling Star, Macmillan (1973) (historical

Jane Lawes


Ballet Stars series


1.      Perfect Pirouette, Usborne (2015)

2.      Amazing Arabesque, Usborne (2015)

3.      Sparkling Solo, Usborne (2015)


 Michelle Magorian

Impossible!, Ardleigh, Troika Books (2014)

Alexandra Moss [pseudonym for Sue Mongredien]


Royal Ballet School Diaries series


All books were published in the UK by Scholastic and in the USA by Grosset & Dunlap, who renamed a couple of the characters and retitled three of the books; the American titles are given in brackets. 


1.      Ellie's Chance to Dance Scholastic (2005)

2.      Lara's Perfect Performance Scholastic (Lara's Leap of Faith Grosset & Dunlap) (2005)

3.      Belle's Best Move Scholastic (Isabelle's Perfect Performance Grosset & Dunlap) (2005)

4.      Sophie's Flight of Fancy Scholastic (2005)

5.      Naomi's New Step Scholastic (2005)

6.      Bryony's Special Secret Scholastic (Kate's Special Secret Grosset & Dunlap) (2005)

7.      Grace's Show of Strength Scholastic (2005)

8.      New Girl Scholastic (2006)

9.      Boys or Ballet? Scholastic (2006)


Mary Elwyn Patchett

Evening Star, Lutterworth (1954)


Louise Rennison

Misadventures of Tallulah Casey series (stage school)

1.    Withering Tights:the misadventures of Tallulah Casey, HarperCollins 2011

2.    A Midsummer Tight’s Dream: more (boy snogging) misadventures of Tallulah Casey, HarperCollins 2012

3.    The Taming of the Tights: Tallulah Casey is set for wild times the misadventures of Tallulah Casey, HarperCollins 2013

Jean Richardson


1.    The First Step, Hodder (1979)

2.    Dancer in the Wings, Hodder (1981)

3.    One Foot on the Ground, Knight Books (1982)



Joan Selby-Lowndes                                                                                              


On Stage, Please, Collins (1952)

Sally Dances (career novel), Chatto & Windus (1956)



Holly Skeet: see Holly Webb



Noel Streatfeild


Ballet Shoes, Collins (1936)

Curtain Up, Collins (1944)

Wintle’s Wonders, Collins (1957)

Ballet Shoes for Anna, Collins (1972)



Veronica Tennant


On Stage, Please! McClelland & Stewart (Canada) 1977, Warne (UK) 1979



Jean Ure

Jamie series

 1.    A Proper Little Nooryeff, (Heinemann (1982)

2.    You Win Some, You Lose Some, Bodley Head (1984)


Nicola series

 1.    Hi There, Supermouse!, Hutchinson (1983)

2.    Nicola Mimosa, Hutchinson (1985)

Stevie Silver series (stage school)

1.    Stage Struck, Orchard (2006)

2.    Star Light, Orchard (2006)

Dancing Dreams series

1.    Star Turn, Hutchinson (1993) [Born to Dance,

2.    A Dream Come True, Red Fox (1994)

3.    Fandango, Red Fox (1995)


Dance Trilogy series


1.    Born to Dance, HarperColllins (2017)

2.    Star Quality, HarperColllins (2017)

3.    Showtime, HarperColllins (2018)



Holly Webb


Series set in Marcia Lane School of Drama and Dance, published under the name ‘Holly Skeet’


1.    Chloe Learns a Lesson, Bloomsbury (2007)

2.    Sara’s Big Chance, Bloomsbury (2007)

3.    Bethany’s Song, Bloomsbury (2007)

4.    Lily under Pressure, Bloomsbury (2007)


Republished under the series title of ‘Shine’ by Stripes, an imprint of Little Tiger group and retitled:


Chloe Centre Stage (2018)

Sara’s Dream Role (2019)


It’s probable that the other two will be reprinted as well, but I can’t currently find any information on that.



Constance M. White


Ballet School series


1.    The Ballet School Mystery, Hutchinson (1951)

2.    Dancer’s Daughter, Hutchinson (1955)

3.    New Girl at Ballet School, Hutchinson (1957)

4. Ballet School Rivals, Hutchinson (1958)



Holly & Kelly Willoughby


School for Stars series [stage boarding school]


1. First Term at L’Etoile, Orion Children’s Books (2013)

2. Second Term at L’Etoile, Orion Children’s Books (2013)

3. Third Term at L’Etoile, Orion Children’s Books (2014)

4. Summer Holiday Mystery, Orion Children’s Books (2014)

5. Double Trouble at L’Etoile, Orion Children’s Books (2015)

6. The Missing Ballerina Mystery, Orion Children’s Books (2015)

7. A Princess Rescue, Orion Children’s Books (2016)

8. Best Friends Forever, Orion Children’s Books (2016)



Robina Beckles Willson


A Time to Dance (career novel), Collins (1962)