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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
Yes to Social Dance by Myra Kolm is the kick in the rear people need if they've ever considered dance as something they'd like to try, or if they are already on the floor but would like a little inspiration and encouragement. Kolm brings ten years of experience to literary fruition as the spirit of dancing in partners and groups is explored in the context of community, fun, exercise, and simply the joy of moving to music. The book begins with Kolm providing insight on the soul of dance and its purpose as a conversation—something that comes from within you as opposed to a series of just physical steps. The book then moves into the history of social dance, from the medieval basse to the shockingly indecent waltz, to the minuet, swing, and ballroom. Style and steps make way for the ultimate test: having the courage to get out there and just do it.
I remember with perfect clarity, watching in teenage horror as my mother swished her hips in the kitchen with an imaginary salsa partner. She was barely five-foot, East Asian, and without a care in the world as she took a Spanish dance and made it her own. The timing of Yes to Social Dance might not seem ideal in the time of pandemic quarantines, but it's actually quite perfect since we all have time to focus on a new hobby, right? Myra Kolm injects a distinct personal style into her writing and an inaccessible or downright scary topic is made wholly approachable. The writing is straightforward, tight, and encouraging with bits of whimsy and stories sprinkled throughout. I can tell you that for the past twenty years it has been a firm 'no' to social dance...but Kolm now has me thinking that I've been wrong all along. Very highly recommended.