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Dance Your Way Home: A Journey Through the Dancefloor

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There are countless books on nightlife out there – ones that summon images of sweaty, swaying bodies in illegal raves, trace the impactful origins of techno in Detroit, and make Berlin’s underground club scene sound like ahardcore orgy (not so far off, to be fair) – but Warren’s second book places direct emphasis on movement. It’s not all about clubs; it’s about dancing as aprimal need. As someone who has been on the dance floor for decades, Iwas in agood position to be able to share some of the things that those of us that have spent some time at the dance truly know and believe,” she says. ​ “We know what we’re doing and why we’re doing it.” Still, Warren makes a strong argument for the preservation of cultural spaces that foster “genuine connections” in a city where individualism and isolation are on the increase. “If you can create space do it,” she writes. In this way, Make Some Space fulfils its own remit – creating an enduring legacy for the TRC and encouraging other creators to live out their own dream.

The wiry, animated figure of Blondin, who arrived in Paris from London in 2005, is central to Warren’s analysis of the creation of the club and the ensuing fame of the musicians who used it, among them saxophonists Nubya Garcia and Shabaka Hutchings (leader of the Mercury prize-shortlisted jazz act Sons of Kemet) and drummer Yussef Dayes. I am often an enthusiastic presence on a dance floor. There are photographs and videos of me as a chubby toddler wriggling to my parents’ Bollywood tapes, I did standard sparkly childhood ballet, I was a huge fan of making up dubious choreographed routines at school discos; and, even now, I love being in the club with the bass reverberating in my chest, laughing with friends as they catch wines in a humid crowd at carnival, or else dancing alone, swaying my hips in the company of my reflection in my bedroom mirror. Generously and warmly written, Warren’s book encourages us all to unabashedly express ourselves, to feel the rhythm as best we can, and work alongside one another to make sure there are always spaces for us to keep dancing, resisting, and be in community. As she puts it: ‘To dance you must let go of self-consciousness, embarrassment, pride and prejudice, and embrace what you actually have. […] We’re dancers because we’re human and we’re more human – or perhaps more humane – if we dance together, especially when we make it up on the spot. Goodreads Librarians are volunteers who help ensure the accuracy of information about books and authors in the Goodreads' catalog. The Goodreads Libra Goodreads Librarians are volunteers who help ensure the accuracy of information about books and authors in the Goodreads' catalog. The Goodreads Librarians Group is the official group for requesting additions or updates to the catalog, including:The idea for the book, called 'Dance Your Way Home: A Journey Through The Dancefloor', emerged after Warren focused on some specific lines from her last book, 'Make Some Space', which was about the community around London venue Total Refreshment Centre. The lines, which Warren said "a few people honed in on" was that "dancing in the dark is a human need, that we've been doing this forever, and that it's a kind of medicine". Why do we dance together? What does dancing tells us about ourselves, individually and collectively? And what can it do for us? Whether it be at home, '80s club nights, Irish dancehalls or reggae dances, jungle raves or volunteer-run spaces and youth centres, Emma Warren has sought the answers to these questions her entire life. Emma Warren’s ‘Dance your Way Home: A Journey Through the Dancefloor’ — our Book of the Month for March — is an ode to the power and necessity of movement, writes Tara Joshi.

There’s a monthly club party I go to in Berlin with the promo slogan “nothing matters when we’re dancing”. Contrary to what you’d expect, its demographic is not students and twentysomethings: it’s mainly thirty-plus and mixed in gender, occupation and race. In Berlin the dance floor’s been a democratiser since the Berlin Wall came down; it’s often said that it was on dance floors that German reunification first happened. Publisher Faber's blurb about 'Dance Your Way Home' reads: "This book is about the kind of ordinary dancing you and I might do in our kitchens when a favourite tune comes on. It's more than a social history: it's a set of interconnected histories of the overlooked places where dancing happens... Why do we dance? What does dancing tells us about ourselves, individually and collectively? And what can it do for us?Authors, if you are a member of the Goodreads Author Program, you can edit information about your own books. Find out how in this guide. Warren is for the most part deft and light in her writing style. You can feel the giddy feet bouncing off wooden floors, the sly breeze of the Electric Slide (which, she correctly surmises, a generation of people – myself included – have never known as anything but the Candy Dance), the tenderness of a grandfather on his deathbed asking his granddaughter to dance while he passes, the joy of Warren and some peers encouraging schoolchildren in a conga line. And like the dancers – of whom you are now one – you feel compelled, perhaps propelled, to action with each history you read. All of these powerful dancefloors [in the book] happened from the street up,” Warren says. ​ “It was often made by people who were living in aversion of the state that did not operate in their interests. Grassroots creativity is always present. We need amuch, much bigger appreciation of the way that communities of colour built post-war culture, because it’s absolutely true in every single way when it comes to music.” This book is about the kind of ordinary dancing you and I might do in our kitchens when a favourite tune comes on. It’s more than a social history: it’s a set of interconnected histories of the overlooked places where dancing happens . . .

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