Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Dancing On The Inside by Glen C. Strathy

Dancing On The Inside is a Children's Book for ages 9 - 12.

Twelve year old Jenny Spark has wanted to be a ballerina since her grandparents gave her a DVD of "Swan Lake".  However, Jenny is very shy and suffers from anxiety attacks whenever she is in a crowd.

Hiding under the piano on her first day of ballet lessons, she watches the rest of the kids practice.  Rose comes up with a plan so that she doesn't have to participate but can watch and secretly teach herself the moves at home.

When her parents catch her lying, Jenny is denied permission to continue with her lessons.  Not to be deterred, Jenny asks to volunteer at the dance school, which will enable her to continue with her dream without having to have everyone looking at her.

When Jenny meets Ara, a beautiful dancer without any grace, the two offer guidance and support to each other.  Ara agrees to make Jenny more open and Jenny agrees to help Ara become more disciplined.  After the two choreograph a ballet, their fates are set in motion and Jenny becomes to believe she may have bitten off more than she can chew.  Will she continue to dream of being a ballerina or will she give in to her self-conscious and walk away from her pointes forever?

I thought this was a very delightful read.  I thought the characters of Jenny and Ara were wonderful and encouraging to read.  Jenny's drive and determination to see her goals appear fruitful was interesting to read.  I loved how she overcame her obstacles with mature and organized thoughts and plans.

I did not like Jenny's mother.  I found that she was very discouraging and sometimes added to her daughters anxiety.  I could see that she felt just because she was a failure with her dreams, that Jenny would be also, and Jenny has carried that with her throughout life.  I didn't like the arguments that her mother shared, nor how she came across as obstinate and controlling.  Jenny's father was much more understanding and acceptable of his daughters dreams.

I liked how Jenny worked through the antagonists in the book.  She was always working to include everyone and in the end it appears everything will work out, however, there are many set backs and emotions shared that will leave the reader wondering if Jenny will make her dreams come true.

I would give Dancing On The Inside a four and a half stars out of five, I truly did not enjoy the mother, her dialogue wasn't impressive and her interaction with her daughter came across as cold and stiff.  This was a truly enjoyable read, especially for the positive message the author is trying to share and encourage.  I could see this go into a series as we watch all the girls come to terms with their lives and their careers, watching them grow through the dance school and beyond.

Ever since her grandparents gave her a DVD of Swan Lake, twelve-year old Jenny Spark has wanted to be a dancer. But on her first day of ballet class, she suffers a panic attack and makes a horrifying discovery. She's terrified of dancing in front of the other kids, and as for actually performing for an audience? Forget it.

Yet Jenny refuses to give up her dream. With determination and a little ingenuity, she finds ways to observe ballet classes without actually participating. She trains in the safety of her room, while hiding the truth from her parents. Then Jenny meets her exact opposite: Ara Reyes, an outgoing, spontaneous, and accident-prone girl who loves dancing but has always been overlooked.

The girls' friendship blossoms as they help each other uncover their real talents. Ara's dancing takes a leap forward and Jenny discovers she has an amazing gift for choreography. With the support of the school's newest teacher, Jenny's original ballet might just make it on stage ... but will she?

Charming and inspiring, Dancing on the Inside shows how pursuing our passions can often lead to wonderful and unexpected results.

** Disclosure: I did not accept any compensation from the sponsors other than review copies, my views are my own, reviewed by me..as I see it~!! **

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