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Another Way to Dance Hardcover – October 1, 1996

15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

As in Erika Tamar's Alphabet City Ballet (reviewed above), the heroine of this impressive first novel is a minority student at a prestigious ballet school. Unlike Tamar's starry-eyed younger heroine, however, 14-year-old Vicki has experienced subtle racism in classes where "visual harmony" is as highly regarded as a perfect pirouette, and she has tried her best to fit in. Vicki's recently divorced parents have both worked hard to instill in her an appreciation of her African American heritage, but Vicki is more interested in ballet: "Everything that's important to me doesn't have much to do with the color of my skin." She is thrilled to attend a summer session of the School of American Ballet in New York, to work at her art as well as to nurse her elaborate, "color-blind" daydreams about Mikhail Baryshnikov. The friends she makes while at the school, especially a teenage boy from Harlem, help pull Vicki out of her narrow fantasies. She begins to face her daily frustrations in and out of Lincoln Center, and to realize that she cannot ignore the issue of race any more than her unhappiness with her parents' divorce. Southgate offers a poignant account of self-discovery, convincingly hopeful and steadfast in its refusal to settle for easy solutions. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 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
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 11 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 690L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers; First Printing edition (October 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385321910
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385321914
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,186,013 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Martha Southgate is the author of four novels. Her newest, The Taste of Salt, published by Algonquin Books, is in stores and available for pre-order now. Her previous novel, Third Girl from the Left, won the Best Novel of the Year award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association and was shortlisted for the PEN/Beyond Margins Award and the Hurston/Wright Legacy award. Her novel The Fall of Rome received the 2003 Alex Award from the American Library Association and was named one of the best novels of 2002 by Jonathan Yardley of the Washington Post. She is also the author of Another Way to Dance, which won the Coretta Scott King Genesis Award for Best First Novel. She received a 2002 New York Foundation for the Arts grant and has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Bread Loaf Writers Conference. Her July 2007 essay from the New York Times Book Review, "Writers Like Me" received considerable notice and appears in the anthology Best African-American Essays 2009. Previous non-fiction articles have appeared in The New York Times Magazine,O, Premiere, and Essence.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on March 10, 2004
Format: Hardcover
In the beginning of the story this girl named Vicki gets accepted to this school for young kids who love to dance, it is something like a Julliard for young kids. It was called School of American Ballet. Vicki has never really experienced racism before in her life. When she goes to SAB (School of American Ballet) she starts to experience it. She is one of only two African Americans at this school. She then meets this boy named Michel. HE shows her all of New York. The only thing is that he is white and Vicki is Black. His mother doesn't approve of there friendship. Towards the end Vicki really starts to learn that she has to live with the fact that she is black, and that she will have racism the rest of her life! She then feels happier then she did because she knows that no matter what she does she can't change who she is inside.
I really did like this book because it really showed me how much racism hurts African Americans. I knew that it hurt them really bad, but the way it affects them is how it helped me. I'm not racist but some people are; I think if they read this book then they would see how much there words have an affect on some people's lives! I loved this book so much that I would recommend it to anybody who wanted to see things through someone else's eyes.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 28, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book held my interest all the way. Especially if you like dance, then this book is for you. It's the story of 14 year old Vicki Harris as she tries to fit in at a prestigious ballet school in New York City. Now you may think this should be easy for any talented dancer, but it's not. Besides the challenging classes, Vicki is one of two Black students in the program, and she must overcome the prejudices of other dancers. Despite the racist comments she hears, she is able to keep coming back, but even so, things are difficult. This book is entertaining all the way up till the end, and I highly recommend it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on March 4, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Another Way to Dance takes place in a young black dancer's life, Vicki, who goes to dance with the American Ballet Theater in New York City. In New York Vicki learns from friends why she should be proud of who she is and how to forgive her parents for getting a divorce.
I really liked this book because it had to do with dancing. I am a dancer myself and could easily relate to many of the things that happened. I also like it because it showed many modern-day ways that people judge others. It also taught me that blacks are the same as everyone else and need to be treated as equals. Another Way to Dance was an interesting and fun way to learn an important lesson on judging people and how it makes them feel. If you are a dancer or interested in dancing, Another Way to Dance is the book for you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By "spoiled1959" on March 11, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book was beautiful. I really like to dance and there was something about Vicki I could relate to. I know how sometimes its like being isolated when youre the only African-American or the only other African American in your ballet group. I liked the romance in the book, I was kind of suprised at how Micheal and Vicki had an intense relationship where they could just talk like regular teens. I would definately recommend this book. For it to be Martha Southgate's debut novel, it was written like she had been writing novels for years.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 21, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Vikki Harris thinks that the summer program at the School of American Ballet will be easy. However, she is not prepared to be one of two African-American girls there. She suffers terrible racism, and she has never in her life been worked so hard. Meanwhile, her life is crumbling around her. She is crushed by her parents divorce, and her fantasies about the Russian dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov turn out to be just fantasies after all. Her only real happiness is a new little romance with a boy from Harlem who works in a Wendy's. This book is well written and touching. It's about dancing, growing up, and dealing with prejudice and everyday problems. I recommend it to anyone who has ever experienced prejudice, thought about dancing, or who just wants to read a book that is absorbing and enjoyable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A 12-year old reader on July 3, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In this Compelling story of African American influence you become captured in the misunderstandings and mishaps of Viki's summer. As she struggles to realize why her parents recenlty split up, why she doesn't just fit in with the rest of the ballet students, and why her plain to see talent is overlooked by so many Viki rides an enourmous emotional rollercoaster, jerking her in every which way. When she meets Michael, he helps her step off the coaster and put her feet on the ground as he opens her eyes to things she had never taken the time to see. Once you pick up this book you wont be able to put it down I guarantee. Viki finds many other ways to dance in the spotlight without ballet.
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A Kid's Review on November 19, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Vicki's big dream was to be accepted to the top school of dance located in New York. She has been a dancer for most of her life, as long as she could remember. When she was 16 years old she was accepted. She was so happy to be going to New York City; She was so happy not only to get away from her life where she was. Not only to be able to dance in the most competitive dance company in the world! But when Vicki arrived at the dance company she noticed things weren't as she expected. People there weren't very nice to her and she didn't know why well one day well getting ready for a practice she over heard someone talking and then she started to cry she realized that people treated her different because of the color of her skin. She was quite through practice that day and practices after that for a while she would sit by herself thinking what would it be like to be able to change the color of her skin, what would it be like to be white? Would her life be better or worse? And then something came to mind " what if I'm not able to dance" what if?
I really enjoyed this book it's more then just reading about someone who is different but if u think about it there not really that different. Yeah sure the color of there skin might be darker or lighter but they're just the same as you and me. When I read this book it was like I was apart of it. I liked it a lot.
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