Tuesday 13 January 2015

A Time to Dance

A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman (Penguin Random House) 
HB RRP US$17.99                                              
ISBN 9780399257100                                                                    

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

With starred reviews in Kirkus, SLJ, Booklist and other literary magazines, this jacketed YA verse novel comes highly recommended by numerous overseas reviewers.  It tells the story of an Indian girl, Veda, a dance prodigy who lives and breathes dance, specifically the Bharatanatyam which is complex and classical. Sadly, an accident leaves her a below-knee amputee, shattering her dreams.  

However, Veda is undeterred and in a first-person story that is believable, inventive and powerful, the reader follows this one-legged girl’s determined journey of major adjustment as she takes beginner classes with young dancers to re-learn the dance with its many different poses and stances.
Then Veda meets a young man who approaches dance as a spiritual pursuit. As their relationship deepens, Veda reconnects with the world around her, and begins to discover who she is and what dance truly means to her.

During the novel, the spiritual and religious meaning of Bharatanatyam is explored, as well as what that means for Veda and her own relationship with Shiva.

A Time to Dance is sure to provide an inspiration to YA readers who aspire to reaching for a dream, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Believing in oneself, perseverance, love and resilience are some of the themes explored in this strong and well-written novel.

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