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Celebrate DWTS’s New Season with These 5 Dancing Reads

by  | September 18

Dancing with the Stars (DWTS) is finally back on TV, with new celebrities trying to tackle tricky footwork and not step on their partners’ toes. If you love watching people grace the dance floor in beautiful costumes, along with immaculate choreography, why not bring some of those moves onto your TBR list? Here are five great reads all about community, passion, and, of course, dance.

What We Become

What We Become

by Arturo Perez-Reverte

Dancing is about passion, and Max certainly has a lot of passion for what he does. As a professional ballroom dancer aboard a large cruise liner, his loves in life are dancing with the unaccompanied young ladies on the ship…and then stealing from them. In 1928 and on the cusp of the Spanish Civil War, Max meets the married Mecha, whose husband is a famous Spanish composer. Their affair is cut short after a night in the Argentine underworld, but the two meet again, ten years later, as Max transitions from thief to spy. The elegance and tension with which Arturo Pérez-Reverte has written this tale of love, betrayal, and secrets feels itself like a tango, twirling the intrigued reader through a series of dizzy rendezvous and dangerous confrontations.

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The Girls at the Kingfisher Club

The Girls at the Kingfisher Club

by Genevieve Valentine

Who doesn’t love to get up and dance, whether at a club, in the privacy of your own home, or on national TV? That’s the sentiment that runs through The Girls at the Kingfisher Club. A retelling of the classic fairy tale “The Twelve Dancing Princesses,” the novel follows twelve sisters in Jazz Age New York, who are trapped by their domineering father. Their only means of escape? Leaving under the cover of darkness to frequent a number of different clubs where they can dance the night away. Genevieve Valentine has been praised for her magnetic prose, which draws readers into every gorgeously constructed scene, and this book shows off her talents like a perfectly planned and executed ballroom dance. The novel deals with love, sisterhood, agency, and the ability to choose more than just a dance partner.

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The Painted Girls

The Painted Girls

by Cathy Marie Buchanan

French painter Edgar Degas is best known for his work depicting ballerinas, gorgeous paintings of 19th-century dancers practicing and performing their craft. But his era was not all stage lights and pointe shoes. Cathy Marie Buchanan explores the seedier side of Paris through three impoverished sisters: Marie, Charlotte, and Antoinette. Each is drawn into the theater, but each finds herself embroiled in mystery, tragedy, and pain. Definitely for a reader intrigued by the darker world of theater and dance, this story will take you back in time and highlight the ways in which dance can lift people up…but also, sadly, keep them in the places they’ve always been.

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There There

There There

by Tommy Orange

For the most part, Dancing with the Stars focuses on traditional Western styles of dance, but dance is a universal language shared by peoples and cultures around the world. There There highlights the importance of community and dance through twelves characters who are making their way to Big Oakland Powwow. The book blends together the beauty of tradition and the reality of surviving in the modern age, and the nuances that come from dealing with a complex history of oppression, violence and erasure. Most endearing, and most fitting for this list, are the struggles of Orvil, who learns how to do traditional dances through YouTube in order to perform them for the first time in public—which not only highlights how much was lost in the destruction of a people but also the ability of the Internet to preserve what has survived. A must-read if you’re looking to expand your appreciation of how people move and connect through dance.

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Life in Motion

Life in Motion

by Misty Copeland

Dancing with the Stars is all about taking people who don’t dance professionally and teaching them all the right moves. For many, ballerina Misty Copeland is a natural: her grace and poise has captured the admiration of audiences around the world. But her teachers and critics didn’t always treat Copeland so kindly as she was trying to achieve her dreams. Starting at the age of thirteen, often considered too late to begin a career in ballet, she worked hard to learn all she could, and mastered some of ballet’s most difficult roles. Her book follows not only her rise to becoming the first African American soloist in American Ballet Theatre, but also her struggles to keep her personal and professional life in balance. If you’ve ever been interested in the kind of dedication and passion that creates the other half of the Dancing with the Stars duos, Copeland’s book is a great place to start.

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A reporter by trade, Sara Roncero-Menendez is a lover of horror, sci-fi, and all things pop culture. From indies to classics to even the strangest genre pieces, all movies, TV shows, and books are fair game for a binge-fest. Follow her on Twitter @sararomenen or at her website, www.sara-roncero-menendez.com