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Book Review: ‘Ballroom’ by Alice Simpson

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BallroomFrom the beginning, dance has been a part of life, a universal language of joy, communication, celebration, and even war across all cultures. The beauty of form and movement is mesmerizing. The intricacy of thought involved is second to none. It is no surprise that there are so many forms available.

Ballroom by Alice Simpson takes us into the hearts and minds of those who find this particular brand of dancing near and dear to their own hearts. The differing forms of Ballroom dancing give a broad perspective of movement that is both energetic and symmetric. The skill involved is laid out in detail as we follow the lives of a cross sampling of characters that are addicted to the dance.

Simpson has created a work of drudgery and beauty. The characters are from an array of backgrounds and ages and yet the dance creates a way to close the gap of differences. Ballroom dancing is also about the clothing as well as the shoes, and we are treated to a passion of brilliance as we strive to understand the draw. With center players such as Maria Rodriguez, a young woman, smitten since a very young age, and Harry Korn, an elderly man involved in dance also from a young age, you follow a glittering and eclectic group of characters from venue to venue as they try to perfect their steps.

There are layers of stories created for each character that tie them together. Ribbons of romance and despair thread their ways through the book and lives of those who escape the daily grind to find the beauty of symmetry and discipline involved in becoming the very best. Many find themselves looking for partners among the players, not just for dance but for life. In some cases the desperation seems so sad, and tragic, but with the slow decline of the dance venues available, they return time and again just to be around the music.

If you enjoy music and dance, and are intrigued by people and their behaviors you will find this work to be immensely satisfying. If you enjoy romance and energy twisted with human nature and tragedy this will be a great book for your library.

 

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About Leslie Wright

Leslie Wright is an author and blogger in the Northwest.
  • http://www.alicesimpson.com/ alice simpson

    Hi Leslie,

    Thank you for reading BALLROOM and writing your review.
    I was pleased that you recognized the layers—that on the surface the ballroom seems to glitter with romance and opportunity, but beneath that veneer is a shabby place where men and women, some with lives filled with disappointment, loneliness, and an inability to connect find solace for an evening or just one dance.