Arabesque: Dancing on the Edge in Los Angeles


Non-Fiction - Memoir
318 Pages
Reviewed on 08/17/2019
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Author Biography

Cherie Magnus, born and raised in Los Angeles, was a dance research librarian in the L.A. Central Library and a dance critic for local newspapers before moving to France, Mexico, and finally Argentina in 2003. The author of The DEATH DANCE DESTINY Memoir Trilogy , The Church of Tango, and its prequel, Arabesque: Dancing on the Edge in Los Angeles, and the newest, Intoxicating Tango: My Years in Buenos Aires, she returned to live in L.A. in 2014.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Astrid Iustulin for Readers' Favorite

There are real-life events that can be told like novels. They have so much joy, sorrow, and emotion that it is enough to pick up a pen and let the memories flow to tell a delightful story. This is the impression you have when you read Cherie Magnus’s Arabesque: Dancing on the Edge in Los Angeles. In this intense memoir, the author recalls growing up in Los Angeles in the 1960s. Dance is her whole life, and she wants to become a dancer and a choreographer. She reveals her hopes for her career and talks about friends, family, and love. However, she has to make choices that take their toll on her health.

After finishing Arabesque, I realized that this book has two major strong points. The first is the honesty with which Magnus pens her story. She hides nothing and shares her experiences, hopes, and dreams in a way that makes you instinctively like her. Her life has not been a bed of roses, and yet many passages of her book are joyous, especially when she remembers her early years and travels. The second aspect to consider is equally significant. Magnus does not only write her own story but remembers important events, such as civil rights fights, that took place in Los Angeles and America when she was growing up. These references offer an interesting cross-section of America in those years and add a touch of nostalgia to Arabesque. On the whole, this book is a fascinating read, and I recommend it to those who like good writing and stories of a recent past.