And Then We Danced: A Voyage into the Groove

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“Captivating…equal parts memoir and cultural history, Henry Alford seamlessly interweaves heartwarming and hilarious anecdotes about his deep dive into all things dance” (Misty Copeland, The New York Times Book Review).

When Henry Alford wrote about his experience with a Zumba class for The New York Times, little did he realize that it was the start of something much bigger. Dance would grow and take on many roles for Henry: exercise, stress reliever, confidence builder, an excuse to travel, a source of ongoing wonder, and—when he dances with Alzheimer’s patients—even a kind of community service.

Tackling a wide range of forms (including ballet, hip-hop, jazz, ballroom, tap, contact improvisation, Zumba, swing), Alford’s grand tour takes us through the works and careers of luminaries ranging from Bob Fosse to George Balanchine, Twyla Tharp to Arthur Murray. Rich in insight and humor, Alford mines both personal experience and fascinating cultural history to offer a witty and ultimately moving portrait of how dance can express all things human. And Then We Danced “is in one sense a celebration of hoofer in all its wonder and variety, from abandon to refinement. But it is also history, investigation, memoir, and even, in its smart, sly way, self-help…very funny, but more, it is joyful—a dance all its own” (Vanity Fair).
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About the author

Henry Alford has written for The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, and The New York Times for two decades. His books include And Then We Danced, How to Live, and Big Kiss, which won a Thurber Prize for American humor.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Jun 12, 2018
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Pages
256
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ISBN
9781501122279
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
Humor / General
Humor / Topic / Adult
Performing Arts / Dance / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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“I’ve been dancing steadily since that Valentine’s Day. I have taken countless lessons and classes, passed a professional certification exam, done several shows and a competition—yes, dressed in those outrageous gowns and false eyelashes—and then gone back home to the kids, the soccer, the housework, and to work the next day. It hasn’t been easy to make room in the schedule for my passion, but I have done it, because I’m certain now that it is necessary for life. This new period is rich—as rich in some ways as having my two children because it has been a kind of birth—but it has also been extraordinarily painful thanks to the self-examination that dancing has provoked in me. And so, because of dance, I can say, unequivocally and gratefully, that I am alive at last.”
– From Quick, Before the Music Stops


“There is no time for regret in dance. You have only now, this moment, for your performance, your glorious movement. Whatever you’re going to do, do it now, quick, before the music stops.” – Janet Carlson

In her twenties, Janet Carlson was a successful competitive ballroom dancer, but she abandoned dancing to raise a family and pursue a more conventional profession as an editor for a luxury lifestyle magazine. Twenty years later, she seemed to have it all: two beautiful daughters, a glamorous job, and a handsome, talented husband. Despite all of her successes, she felt a terrible void - her marriage was deeply troubled, and she was somehow withdrawn in the very midst of her own life and the lives of her children. Then, one Valentine’s Day, her husband gave her ballroom dancing lessons as a gift, and everything changed. She discovered the joy, passion, and confidence she hadn’t realized had gone missing for so long.

Over time, Janet discovers that ballroom dancing also contains the secrets to life and love: the give-and-take of dance, two bodies in rhythm and harmony, mirrors the reciprocity of human relationships. Total trust between partners is as vital on the dance floor as it is within a marriage. And yet, both partners - in dance and in life - must stand on their own two feet. The unadulterated joy Janet feels as she intuitively moves to the music speaks to the kind of absolute, whole-body happiness we were born to have. On the dance floor, she finds resolve in the waltz, self-confidence in the tango, and passion in nearly everything. Embracing dance once more allows her to let go of a marriage that was completely out of sync; put more heart and emotion into her work; find more time to truly be with her children; and ultimately rejoice in her intrinsic balance and poise.

Told with precision, grace, and painstaking honesty, Quick, Before the Music Stops is the tale of one woman’s midlife renewal through dance, and how her newfound empowerment transcends the dance floor and becomes immediate and relevant in every aspect of her life. It shows us how to recognize and celebrate both our strengths and our flaws, reignite passion for the everyday, and how to step from the periphery into the light and surrender to the music.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The unapologetic, laugh-your-ass-off military memoir both vets and civilians have been waiting for, from a five-tour Army Ranger turned YouTube phenomenon and zealous advocate for veterans
 
Members of the military’s special operations branches share a closely guarded secret: They love their jobs. They relish the opportunity to fight. They are thankful for it, even, and hopeful that maybe, possibly, they’ll also get to kill a bunch of bad guys while they’re at it. You don’t necessarily need to thank them for their service—the pleasure is all theirs.

In this hilarious and personal memoir, readers ride shotgun alongside former Army Ranger and private military contractor and current social media phenomenon Mat Best, into the action and its aftermath, both abroad and at home. From surviving a skin infection in the swampy armpit of America (aka Columbus, Georgia) to kicking down doors on the outskirts of Ramadi, from blowing up a truck full of enemy combatants to witnessing the effects of a suicide bombing right in front of your face, Thank You for My Service gives readers who love America and love the good guys fresh insight into what it’s really like inside the minds of the men and women on the front lines.

It’s also a sobering yet steadying glimpse at life for veterans after the fighting stops, when the enemy becomes self-doubt or despair and you begin to wonder why anyone should be thanking you for anything, least of all your service. How do you keep going when something you love turns you into somebody you hate? For veterans and their friends and families, Thank You for My Service will offer comfort, in the form of a million laughs, and counsel, as a blueprint for what to do after the war ends and the real fight begins.

And for civilians, this is the insider account of military life you won’t find anywhere else, told with equal amounts of heart and balls. It’s Deadpool meets Captain America, except one went to business school and one went to therapy, and it’s anyone’s guess which is which.
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