Another Way to Dance

Another Way to Dance

4.8 6
by Martha Southgate
     
 

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Fourteen-year-old Vicki Harris's dream has come true. She has been accepted into the summer program at New York City's prestigious School of American Ballet. It will be hard work and highly competitive, but Vicki feels ready. She is totally committed to dancing.

Vicki isn't prepared to be one of only two African-American students in the program. Nor is she

Overview

Fourteen-year-old Vicki Harris's dream has come true. She has been accepted into the summer program at New York City's prestigious School of American Ballet. It will be hard work and highly competitive, but Vicki feels ready. She is totally committed to dancing.

Vicki isn't prepared to be one of only two African-American students in the program. Nor is she expecting the racism she finds within the school. And Michael, from Harlem, takes Vicki completely by surprise. He shakes up her dream world—where Baryshnikov is her idol, her parents never really got divorced, and every pirouette is perfect—and shows her that the real world is bigger than a stage.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
At the prestigious School of American Ballet, African American Vicki experiences subtle racism. Southgate's debut is "a poignant account of self-discovery, convincingly hopeful and steadfast in its refusal to settle for easy solutions," said PW in a starred review. Ages 12-up. (Feb.)
VOYA - Hillary Theyer
Southgate writes a powerful novel of a girl coming to terms with her identity and her love for ballet in a field where African Americans are underrepresented. Fourteen-year-old Vicki is selected to study in the prestigious School of American Ballet's summer program in New York City. She is overwhelmed by absolute love for her art and largely blind to her parents' concerns about her straightening her hair, having white friends, and lacking racial awareness. Vicki lives for ballet and has elaborate fantasies about Barishnikov, her idol. She realizes that ballet is about symmetry, and she is different, but she ignores this to pursue her dreams. During the summer, she stays with her aunt, a struggling actress, and works toward getting offered a fall position at the school. Vicki meets Stacey, the only other African-American girl in the program, and begins to date a native New Yorker who shows her another side of her culture, taking her to church and to meet his mother, a woman who gave up dancing for her family. As Vicki begins to explore her identity as a dancer and an African American, an ugly incident with some other dancers makes her realize that she cannot ignore her race no matter how well she dances. Vicki is a realistic character, chasing a dream while all the adults around her try to keep her grounded in reality. This novel is a worthy follow-up for readers of Cynthia Voight's Come A Stranger (Atheneum, 1986) and a complement to other novels about ballet. VOYA Codes: 4Q 4P J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses, Broad general YA appeal, Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9).
School Library Journal
Grades 6-9
Vicki Harris, 14, is one of two African Americans accepted into the summer program at New York City's School of American Ballet. She is a compulsive dancer and feels ready for the competition of this time-consuming endeavor. She is not ready, however, to face the racism within the program and begins to doubt her ability. Vicki makes friends with the other black student and experiences her first love with Michael, a black teen from Harlem. Her obsessive adoration of Baryshnikov leads to disappointment when she finally meets him. Vicki spends her summer with her Aunt Hannah, who becomes a strong adult role model in place of her divorced parents. The story reads smoothly, the characters are well drawn, and readers feel satisfaction when Vicki accepts herself as a good, but not great ballet dancer. The author has written a fine first novel dealing with the challenge of trying to break into a profession that does not make much room for African Americans. She has also given readers a portrait of a young woman striving for perfection and, ultimately, feeling good about herself. - Judy R. Johnston, Auburn High School, WA
Kirkus Reviews
A probing ballet story about a young dancer who is untangling the differences between blending into the corps de ballet and subsuming her own individuality.

Vicki Harris is in love with Mikhail Baryshnikov. She's thrilled to be accepted into the summer program at the prestigious School of American Ballet—where she might run into Misha—but she's also worried: The school is extremely demanding. Vicki is one of two African-Americans in the program, pronounced the other "chip in the cookie," by sassy Stacey. They support each other in their rigorous classes but suspect that no matter how hard they work or how good they are, the subtle racism that pervades classical ballet and therefore the school has no room for anyone at the top who isn't white. Vicki has her own prejudices: Swept up in her ideal of the perfect ballerina, she has straightened her hair (over her mother's objections) and wears it in a bun; she's embarrassed at the "loud and crazy" antics of a group of black girls on the subway and dislikes the oversize clothing of "homies." She faces these prejudices while coping with the rigors of school, family relationships, and her growing feelings for a boy in this compelling first novel about growing up, a summer of dance, and the haunting, competitive world of classical ballet. Readers will be rooting for Vicki all the way.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780606128780
Publisher:
San Val, Incorporated
Publication date:
02/01/1998

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Another Way to Dance 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i absolutly loved this book. It is about a ballerina like myself and i was ably to relate to the story because of that!@!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
i loved this book because i am a dancer and she really goes through what dancers go through i loved it!!!!!!!!!!!!! i would highly recommend this to dancers and to many others too because it has a great plot and it can help you learn alot
Guest More than 1 year ago
I LOVED THIS BOOK. I MYSELF AM A DANCER AND I FEEL THE SAME WAY SHE DOES. YOU SHOULD REALLY READ THIS BOOK IT IS GGGGGREAT.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was about a young African American girl who moves to New York to join a summer dance school. In New York, she lives with her Aunt Hannah who is an actress. She meets a friend named Stacey and they are the only to black girls in the company. She was in love with a dancer whose name was Misha. He would be at Macy¿s on Monday morning and she was going to go meet him. She stood in line for hours and when she got up to him he didn¿t even look at her when he was signing her poster. She would be tuning 15 in a week so her aunt thew a party for her and had her divorced parents come up and not fight with each other. She ended up loving her party and all the presents everyone got her. On the last day of class her Stacey and their friend Debbie were all stretching together and discussing whether or not they think they would be invited back in the fall. They all had a good class so when they were done, they went up to Stacey¿s dorm room and waited for them to post the list of who was invited back. You should read this book and find out who got invited back to join the company!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book. I have slient reading time on day 3 and I forgot my book, so I went to my Language Arts teacher and asked her for a book and she gave me 'Another Way to Dance'. I started to read it and I really enjoyed it. I asked her if I could keep it to read the rest. I read it about 4 billion times before I gave it back.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! It kinda gave a description of what life at SAB is, and the truth behind a dancer. All I can really say is this book is AMAZING!