I'm excited to be part of the blog tour celebrating Dahlia Adler's YA debut Behind the Scenes, which releases today! I met Dahlia online (through my friend Ghenet), and I can honestly say she is one of my social media idols. Not only are her tweets constantly cracking me up, she's also a passionate and prolific blogger and a die-hard advocate for YA literature and its authors. I was able to attend her super-fun book release party last night, and I am now the proud owner of my very own autographed copy of Behind the Scenes! I started it last night, and so far, I'm in love.
Here's what you need to know about Behind the Scenes:
High school senior Ally Duncan's best friend may be the Vanessa Park—star of TV's hottest new teen drama—but Ally's not interested in following in her BFF's Hollywood footsteps. In fact, the only thing Ally’s ever really wanted is to go to Columbia and study abroad in Paris. But when her father's mounting medical bills threaten to stop her dream in its tracks, Ally nabs a position as Van's on-set assistant to get the cash she needs.
Spending the extra time with Van turns out to be fun, and getting to know her sexy co-star Liam is an added bonus. But when the actors’ publicist arranges for Van and Liam to “date” for the tabloids just after he and Ally share their first kiss, Ally will have to decide exactly what role she's capable of playing in their world of make believe. If she can't play by Hollywood's rules, she may lose her best friend, her dream future, and her first shot at love.
In honor of her book's release, Dahlia has asked a bunch of people to give a "behind the scenes" glimpse into our own lives. All of the YA Buccaneers are sharing info about our writing spaces and routines this week. (My post is HERE! Read about the other Buccaneers' writing spots HERE, HERE, and HERE.) So, I figured for my personal blog I'd branch out and take a look at the other big passion in my life: dance!
I've written a little bit about being a contemporary dancer, and have shared some recent performance photos (for instance, HERE and HERE), but I haven't gotten down to the nitty gritty. And before you freak out and run away at the idea of seeing my dancer-feet up close and personal, I promise that I'm keeping the calluses and bunions under wraps! There are a few things that just don't need to be photographed and shared on my blog. :)
Let's kick things off with a shot of me sophomore year in high school. This is from an outdoor performance my ballet company did at the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina. (It ended up pouring down rain, thus the tent.) We were dancing to a selection of choral pieces by Brahms, sung live. Even (*ahem ahem*) years later, this is still one of my favorite performance memories!
Flash forward: I haven't taken a ballet class in a couple of years, and I keep meaning to get back to the barre. I do, however, take between two and four modern/contemporary dance classes a week, depending on my schedule and my mood. (I also take a yoga class or two a week, and all of that plus writing books and writing for work equals a pretty packed schedule.) Why do I keep at it? It isn't just that I love to perform, and need to stay in good shape to look my best onstage. It's also that I'm more productive with my writing if I take a break to fit in movement at some point in the middle of the day. Dancing takes me out of my head and puts me in my body. When class is over, I'm able to sit back down at the computer exhilarated, refreshed, and ready to focus. (And sweaty. Sorry, fellow coffee shop patrons!)
One of my favorite teachers, with whom I've been training pretty regularly since 2008, is Diane McCarthy. She was kind enough to let me take some photos in her class at the Mark Morris Dance Center in Brooklyn a few weeks ago. Yes, they're a little blurry. But this is behind the scenes, after all!
The new book I'm working on is about a teen dancer, which means all of my professional worlds are finally coming together. I'm drawing on my own experiences in the dance studio—especially my teen years performing with a regional ballet company—as well as things I've learned as a dance magazine editor and freelance dance writer over the past decade. I can paint my character's emotions, her physical sensations, and her studio environment on the page, because I've been there—and because I'm still there, as often as possible. Despite everything the character is going through in the book, I hope my love for dance shines through.
So there's your glimpse behind the scenes! Buy Dahlia's book!
And who am I kidding? It's not a behind-the-scenes-in-the-dance-studio post without a picture of my feet. But because I love and respect you all, I kept the socks on.