Friday, November 18, 2011

Kismet Tour: Why I Dance by Carol Tanzman


Introducing the author of dancergirl, Carol M. Tanzman...

Carol M. Tanzman's performing arts career is eclectic. She was a dancing poppy in a production of the Wizard of Oz that toured to the Soviet Union, an abstract chicken in a New England mime company, and the assistant director for a play in Germany where her major responsibility was making sure the sheep entered and exited on cue. She's directed regional and Off-Broadway productions of new plays, was the artistic director of a children’s theatre company in upstate NY and has been honored (twice!) by the Bravo Awards for her work with the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Her first YA novel, The Shadow Place, was on YALSA's Quick Pick List of Recommended Books, the National Council of Teachers of English ALAN List of Best Books, and the CA Collection for Middle & Senior High Schools.

Onto the guest post...

"Why I Dance"

There’s a scene in my new YA thriller, DANCERGIRL, in which Ali, the sixteen year old main character, tries to explain why she dances. After struggling with the question, she finally comes to understand her motivation, exclaiming, “This is why I dance!” But Ali’s reasons for dancing, and mine, are not the same.

Unlike other writers who’ve written a dance-themed book, I’ve never been a professional dancer. I did, however, take tap lessons when I was five. I adored those shiny, patent leather shoes with the metal taps on the soles. I learned the Time step, Shuffle Ball-Change, the Shim Sham. I was making noise—and it was fun!

Soon after, my family moved from NYC to the suburbs and—shades of Footloose––there were no dance lessons. One happy day, Miss Maria moved into the neighborhood and turned her basement into a studio. Mom agreed to let me take tap again. Seeing how much I loved it, Miss Maria gave me a “scholarship” so I could also start ballet. Just like when I was five, I was sort of good at it. More importantly, dancing was fun!

When the teacher got divorced and moved away, my “dance career” went with her. But the lessons I learned about rhythm and moving to the beat stayed.

In college I took Beginning Modern to satisfy the physical education requirement (a very good option). Once again, I loved being in class, loved the moment when I “got” the day’s combination and could just let it flow. The closest I came to any type of “professional” dancing was in the university’s production of The Wizard of Oz that toured to the Soviet Union. I was cast as a dancing poppy who “dances” Dorothy to sleep before she gets to the Emerald City. Performing in Moscow was a transformative experience. It showed me that the arts cross boundaries and countries and ideology, bringing people together in so many ways.

After college, I became a professional theatre director. I used dance, movement, and music in many of my productions as a way of exploring “total theatre.” I worked with tap dancers, dancers who studied modern at Alvin Ailey, mimes and new vaudevillians who used the body in exciting ways. Together we created unique pieces that we hoped would bridge the gap between spoken word and movement, that which is seen and heard, and that which is felt.

That’s why I dance. I dance because it feels great to move to the beat, not thinking, just being. I dance because dance communicates with all kinds of people on so many levels. And I dance because, like the five year old that’s still inside of me, it’s a whole lot of fun.

Ali Ruffino loves to dance. When her friend posts videos of her online and they go viral, she thinks her unexpected fame might propel her straight to center stage. But along with some real admirers she gets some nasty detractors—and a stalker who isn't content to watch from afar.



Contest Info: Carol and Harlequin are offering two give-aways for this tour!

1.) The first give-away is copy of dancergirl. Enter by leaving a comment on this Tour Stop (and then confirm that you left a comment via Rafflecopter)

2.)The second give-away is an iPod nano, skinned in the dancergirl artwork!
Simply enter via the Rafflecoper widget and get extra entries for tweeting (once per Tour Stop), following Carol on twitter,"Like" her on facebook, leaving your mailing address (for faster shipment of the prize) and for leaving a comment at each Tour Stops (one extra entry for each Tour Stop).
See full contest rules here.




Make sure to stop by the rest of the tour stops:
Monday, November 14th - The Unread Reader
Wednesday, November 16st - YA Liberian Tales
Friday, November 18rd - ChicaReader

Monday, November 21st - Musings of a Reader Happy
Wednesday, November 23th - Alice Marvels
Friday, November 25th - A Cupcake and A Latte

Monday, November 28th - Fire and Ice Reviews
Wednesday, November 30th - Books with Bite
Friday, December 2nd - Well Read Wife

Thanks to both Carol and Heather & Danny!

LiLi