Summer Reading for Dancers
July 14, 2020, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada—When Lori Wolf-Heffner set out to write a series of novels about dance, she set two rules for herself: The series would not be about “making it” and she would avoid casting fellow dancers as antagonists. For dancers and their parents who are looking for fresh and inspirational dance novels to read for the summer, Between Worlds might be right en pointe and be suitable novels for summer reading.
“I wanted to write a series that celebrates the role dance plays in a young adult’s life,” says Wolf-Heffner. “Everything I read about dance while growing up was about turning professional, so I believed that was the only goal for a dance student. But deep down, I knew it wouldn’t be for me. Now that I’m older, I have the hindsight to see how I benefited from dance. I wanted to write a series that focused on that instead.”
Wolf-Heffner released the first instalment of Between Worlds in 2018. The seventh book is due out October 2020. The series follows 14-year-old dancer Juliana after she moves from Calgary, Alberta, to Kitchener, Ontario: Her grandfather is in the early stages of dementia, and her mother’s family thought it best that Juliana and her parents move in with him instead of placing him in a home.
Juliana struggles in many ways and relies on dance to help her through.
“Another stereotype I wanted to move away from was that the protagonist was an elite dancer,” says Wolf-Heffner. “Although Juliana may strive to be that good, she still has a good foot or so to go before she gets her splits.”
But as we all know, none of the arts exists as its own entity; there’s always overlap, which is why these novels celebrate dance and the arts. For Juliana, it comes in the form of drawings completed by her great-grandmother, Elisabeth, when she was the same age but in 1920, in Eastern Europe.
“Part of dancing involves feeding your own story into your movement,” says Wolf-Heffner. “Juliana experiences that as she discovers family stories not even her mother has heard before.”
So that the reader sees the full story and how it changes through the generations, the chapters in each book alternate between Juliana today and Elisabeth 100 years ago, using Elisabeth’s drawings and the memories of her son—Juliana’s grandfather—as the conduit between the two girls.
Wolf-Heffner studied dance for over 20 years, was one of the original members of the Canadian National Tap Team (1996 & 1997), competed for over 10 years in her youth, and taught dance until her early 20s. She now has both sons in dance and occasional takes adult lessons at her sister’s studio.
For lovers of dance looking for summer reading for dancers, Between Worlds is available worldwide via Amazon, in the US via Barnes & Noble, and in Canada via Indigo. It can be ordered through many independent bookstores, too, and enjoyed as ebooks on many platforms. The series is also available in large print for the visually impaired. For more information, visit this page. Images can be accessed here.
Contact: Lori (Wolf-Heffner) Straus
Phone (8AM-10PM EDT): (519) 503-7098