Monday, October 30, 2006

101 Ways to Dance

101 Ways to Dance, by Kathy Stinson
* blogger is being anti-photo right now, so there is no cover picture
YA/Canadian/Short Stories

14 short stories for teens, all about sexual awakening, questioning, and anticipation. From an author best known for early children’s picture books this may seem surprising. However, I think that of the short story collections for teens that I’ve read this year, this might be my favourite. It feels current. It is not too depressing. There’s a good mix of stories and we get many aspects of human sexuality covered. There are stories about the first time, forbidden love, teen pregnancy, fears of imminent death, not being ready, being ready, heterosexual love, gay and lesbian love, you name it. For the most part, the stories are allowed to tell themselves without any visible older person hand in there showing people what is what. There were a couple of stories that didn’t really do it for me, especially the last one which did feel borderline preachy, but on the whole I thought it was a great little collection.

The titular story actually involves the character being asked by his English teacher to write a list of 101 ways to dance. I thought this sounded like fun, so I tried. It was hard. This is the list I came up with, in stream of consciousness order:

  1. alone
  2. with abandon
  3. sky clad
  4. cheek to cheek
  5. in delight
  6. on tiptoes
  7. ballet
  8. tap
  9. jazz
  10. with a partner
  11. on stage
  12. in a ballroom
  13. in a classroom
  14. as if you haven’t a care in the world
  15. all night
  16. tango
  17. waltz
  18. polka
  19. lambada
  20. with a stranger
  21. with a friend
  22. with a brother
  23. with a lover
  24. mambo
  25. salsa
  26. meringue
  27. tango
  28. fox trot
  29. lyrically
  30. in costume
  31. socially
  32. awkwardly
  33. on the ceiling
  34. rhythmically
  35. together
  36. through life
  37. as if for the last time
  38. as if for the first time
  39. for money
  40. highland dancing
  41. Irish step dancing
  42. through pain
  43. as if you might take flight
  44. as if your life depended on it
  45. swing dancing
  46. like Fred and Ginger
  47. in the streets
  48. hip hop
  49. at a bar
  50. at a club
  51. in the backyard
  52. while cleaning the house
  53. at a stoplight in the car
  54. because you have to pee
  55. to the beat of a different drum
  56. because you’re happy
  57. because you’re sad
  58. liturgically
  59. with meaning
  60. in anticipation
  61. at a wedding
  62. cha-cha
  63. the twist
  64. the mashed potato
  65. while doing the white man’s overbite
  66. like at a grade 7 dance
  67. dirty dancing
  68. with spaghetti arms
  69. the jive
  70. badly
  71. beautifully
  72. professionally
  73. in a tutu
  74. like a robot
  75. break dancing
  76. because Moses supposes, like Gene Kelly and Donald O’connor
  77. Because someone asks you
  78. because you like the song
  79. in the full monty
  80. with seven veils
  81. like you’re in a Broadway musical
  82. in a recital
  83. at a competition
  84. with the stars
  85. to music you love
  86. in a line
  87. in a square
  88. because you think you can
  89. ritually
  90. at the prom
  91. in dreams
  92. with someone you love
  93. in bare feet
  94. to music only you can hear
  95. because you have to
  96. because you want to
  97. because you love to
  98. in the dark
  99. because your body has to move to the music
  100. for exercise
  101. because dancing is your life

The list in the story is, of course, better. But, this was a neat little exercise.

I also want to add that I can't wait for the parental complaints to start pouring in, because this will be a perfect time to tell the parents to actually read the book before complaining. It is, in no way smutty, and everything is dealt with honestly and openly. But, sex is sex, so I'm guessing this will be on a lot of challenge lists. As far as I'm concerned that shows you that a book is doing something really very right (as in good, not conservative).


kidletsmum said...

I want to read this book! Bet you I can't find it in Turkey... I'll have to hit the library when I'm home next summer!

Maggie said...

Don't forget Kathy Stinson wrote 'Becoming Ruby', which has one of the hottest Canadian YA sex scenes ever written. Heh. Heh. ;)

MadJenny said...

True - I should also have mentioned that an excerpt from "Becoming Ruby" is included as one of the stories. But I do think that when people hear the name Kathy Stinson they think of red paint putting singing in a little girls head.

KJB it just nicely came out here too, so it isn't even in the library yet. By next summer though, it should be there (the lib, not Turkey, unless some backpacker takes it over and leaves it in a restaurant where you happen to find it or something else equally unlikely).

Duffy said...

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