I just finished reading Learn to Speak Dance and I was pleasantly surprised at how well this book was put together, as well as how interesting it was. It is very current in that it speaks to kids as they are today–with contemporary language and a warm, engaging tone. Geared for children between the ages of 9-13, this 96 page dance book covers a lot of ground.
The author, Ann-Marie Williams speaks with serious authority. She is the director of the Movement Lab, a dance school for kids, and she is also a certified RAD (Royal Academy of Dance) instructor–and she has also written for The Dance Current. Williams has a knack for simplifying the information she shares about dance while still being interesting–a tough combination that she pulls off with considerable skill.
Some of the topics covered in this book include: what dance is, how to make dances, performing, promoting a show, making costumes and dance videos and information about several styles of dance, including ballet, contemporary dance and flamenco. Peppered throughout are a bunch of quotes from professionals in a variety of fields, which is a cool way to add interest to the book for kids of this age. It’s educational–but it’s fun too.
The language is right–hip and cool without trying too hard, and I think it addresses a lot of the questions that children this age may have about dance–especially if they don’t have a lot of prior experience or aren’t sure how to get started. The book helps to make dance accessible rather than mysterious, which I loved. It really was written in an encouraging tone.
The illustrations by Jeff Kulak were a nice touch as well. Visuals definitely help bring concepts to life, and the imagery worked very well here.
All in all I think this is a great book with mass appeal for the age group it was intended to serve. There’s a lot of information packed into the pages, and I think it is quite readable. A great resource for the dance community–and for parents.
If you’ve read it–I’d love to hear what you think!