Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Buy Used
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Solid used copy with visible wear.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Quick, Before the Music Stops: How Ballroom Dancing Saved My Life Hardcover – July 8, 2008

4.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

See all 4 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$3.55 $0.01

"Brave Enough" by Cheryl Strayed
From the best-selling author of Wild, a collection of quotes--drawn from the wide range of her writings--that capture her wisdom, courage, and outspoken humor, presented in a gift-sized package that's as irresistible to give as it is to receive. Learn more | See related books

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

A couple of decades ago, the author was a competitive ballroom dancer who chose to leave dancing to raise a family; at the time, there was the feeling that competitive dancing might not be what most people would consider an appropriate career for a young woman. Later, after she had become a successful magazine editor, with a husband and children, she nevertheless felt unfulfilled, as though her life was missing some vital part of herself. Then, on Valentine’s Day, her husband gave her a gift of ballroom-dancing classes, and Carlson took the first step on the road to finding herself again. This is one of those rediscovering-myself memoirs, capably written and occasionally moving, if ultimately familiar to readers familiar with the increasingly popular genre. Thanks to the recent high profile of competitive ballroom dancing—both on television and in films—it’s likely that the milieu of the story may attract more interest than the voyage to self-discovery. --David Pitt


With insight and humor, Janet Carlson shares the joy, exhilarations, and self-revelations that ballroom dancing has brought her. She draws the reader into her lessons, her partnerships, and her life, and in doing so reveals just how accurately ballroom dancing both reflects and transforms life.
-- Bruno Collins, Vice President, American Ballroom Company; previously National Dance Director, Fred Astaire Dance Studios

"How gratifying to read a book that uses dancing as a metaphor for life and shows how it inspires the steps forward that every woman needs to take. This riveting personal story is guaranteed to help anyone find their center and balance. Brava Janet!"
-Evelyn Lauder, Senior Corporate Vice President of the Esteé Lauder Companies, Inc.

"Janet Carlson beautifully describes ballroom dancing as intricate, joyful, athletic, and most importantly, a way to learn how to live life. If you can't hit the dance floor, read this book. Better yet, do both."
-Barbara Lazear Ascher, author of Landscape without Gravity and Playing After Dark

"It's like combining a gym membership and therapy. Plus you get to do it in heels."
-- Los Angeles Times

"Carlson is to be commended not only for getting out of her marriage and moving on, but also writing about it in such an open and liberating manner."
-- USA Today

"Carlson draws you into the experience until you feel you are in the arms of a muscular Eastern European in tight pants. Is that such a bad thing?"
-- New York Post

"While Elizabeth Gilbert [author of Eat, Pray, Love] traveled the world to suss out what she needed to know, Janet Carlson had only to buy the right shoes and show up at a local dance studio."
-- Daily News

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway; 1 edition (July 8, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 076792682X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767926829
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,852,997 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

JANET CARLSON is the Beauty & Health Director of Town & Country magazine, a blogger for the Huffington Post, a mother of two--and a ballroom dancer. She started dancing (modern, ballet and jazz) as a young girl, and took up ballroom during her college years at Yale University, where she majored in American history. After graduating, Carlson competed around the country for seven years. She then stopped dancing to pursue her career in magazines. Twenty years later, in 2001, Carlson returned to the dance floor, and entered the Manhattan Dancesport competition later that year, winning seven first places out of ten dances in her Latin Dance division. Carlson continues to dance in the New York City area. She lives in Westchester County, New York, with her two daughters.

Customer Reviews

5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
See all 6 customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There are too many books out there about how ballroom dancing changed an author's perspective on life. While I can appreciate each writer's experience and their desire to share with others, each of these books seems to read the same, with nothing of true depth and substance to really engage me. I typically finish these books out of obligation rather than interest. Despite this, I continue to read every new book on social or ballroom dance that I can find because I hold out hope that someone will offer something unique and remarkable.

Janet Carlson's book has validated that hope. Her story begins with the realization of an inner death, the result of a lifeless marriage and an endless cycle of quiet and obligation. What captured me immediately was her beautifully descriptive writing and unique voice. At first I felt Carlson was sharing a little too much detail about the inadequacy of her husband. I felt sorry that his dirty laundry was - both literally and figuratively - being left out for all to see.

However, I quickly found myself engrossed in Carlson's journey back into the world of ballroom dancing and how it changed her physical, mental, and emotional landscape. Most books that attempt self help or metaphorical parallels between dancing and life are too saccharine and simplistic. Carlson, however, touches on complex and rich life lessons without preaching or giving simplistic answers. Her strength in this book lies in her ability to put the truth out there in all its complexity, to admit undesired emotions or those we don't like to admit or talk about. This honesty and depth kept me hooked throughout the book.
Read more ›
Comment 8 of 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
Janet Carlson's "Quick, Before The Music Stops" spoke to my soul more than any book has in a long time. I cannot begin to convey how much I enjoyed Carlson's story, as it unfolded through the various stages of her life as a wife, mother and dancer. As someone who entered the world of ballroom dancing just a year ago, I understood profoundly Carlson's passion for dancing. Like Carlson, ballroom dance has become my therapy, my escape from daily life in suburbia.

I appreciated the honesty and introspection by which Carlson revealed all the facets of her persona in experiencing the ups and downs of her life at that time. Carlson's account of her experiences with her instructors, their interesting personalities and how they played roles in informing her dancing as well as her self-image was extremely realistic. And I truly loved the descriptive dance passages!

Carlson's story - one that remained with me long after reading it - left me the same way each and every ballroom dance lesson leaves me: refreshed, energized and joyful. The words flowed off the page as an extremely well-written account that proved so relevant to my own life. I recommend Janet Carlson's book to anyone who wants and/or needs a spark of inspiration or passion in any facet of life.
Comment 7 of 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
It's as if Ms. Carlson is throwing a lifeline to those of us whose marriages are in need of rescue, even though she acknowledges she learned her lessons too late to save her own. Having followed her columns in Town & Country over the years, I've found this author has always been really forthright about her own issues in order to help other women. The same compassion and surprising insights are in this book. I've already applied some of her wisdom...with good results. Not only that, for the first time, I'm beginning to understand America's fascination with Dancing With The Stars. Something that's always puzzled me! Now I'm on the lookout for dancing classes near my home...but will make sure my husband comes along! Thanks Janet!
Comment 6 of 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse