When Emma first contacted me a few years back with her idea for a new a book about social dancing, I wasn’t sure how All Crews would fit into a book about clog dancing and the Charleston…
However, when it hit my doorstep a few days ago, I literally haven’t been able to put this book down. When I have, I’ve had the audio book version flowing through my headphones. It’s a Braindance of a hardback.
Dance Your Way Home is for and of our generations. Jungle Drum and Bass is woven throughout the book’s two-step tapestry. Emma even takes us down to the infamous Music House pressing plant.
Dance Your Way Home and All Crews speak to each other. The two titles are a conversation that reinforces our shared knowledge of these vibes and times.
From reggae to rave, Emma is a writer firmly rooted, committed to approaching dancing from different directions. With this flavour of non-fiction title, there is always the trap of hearing the same old stories (and yet another aimless ode to Paul Oakenfold).
But Emma dares to give us an alternative topography. We’re taken to dances in Dalston, chilled sessions at home with Jazzy B or out raving with Philip Glass. Yes. Philip Glass.
Emma’s amazing access to artists and analysis takes us way beyond the standard scholarly discussions that surround the dance floor. Not afraid to delve into the politics of Dance, evident from the number of times she touches on police arriving to put a stop to moving sessions of all sonic flavours throughout the book.
Dance Your Way Home is exciting and engaging, detailed without being drab. It’s a social history of the past four decades of dance. It’s as fluent and fluid as the dancers themselves. If this were a degree it would be 1st class with a distinction… Make that two distinctions, followed by a headspin and some footwork.
It may seem like quite a tome, but there are no wasted words here. Emma focuses on what she calls lived experience. While Emma is a bonified music journalist, and the book is out on the prestigious Faber, this isn’t a book written by a dry journalist just parachuted in by money-mad media men. Emma was at the last night of Shoom, when she should have been in school. Although she owned up to having dumped her friends at the door to get in, It speaks to Emma’s hard-wired determination to be in the right place at the right time.