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Tag: dance

New Zealand Dance Week interview: Olivia Morphew

We chatted with local Wellington dancer Olivia Morphew about her dance inspirations, library love and, of course, what she’s reading at the moment:

What inspired you to be a dancer?
Really, there wasn’t much to it when I decided to start. I got put in ballet classes by my mum just like every other four year old. For a long period of time, I wanted to quit, but my mum wouldn’t let me. I persevered, and eventually found out how much I loved to be able to express myself through movement. The biggest moment for me was actually my first contemporary class, at the age of 10. I discovered how dance can really be used as a form of communication in many different ways. I brought this to all forms of dancing, and this is what still inspires me now.

What do you love about the library?
The biggest thing I love about the library is the community. It can be used for so much; relaxation, time to lose yourself in a book, quiet time, a safe place to go and sit, a meeting place with friends, or a place to just chill out. Everyone is so kind and welcoming, not only in the wonderful staff but the amazing Wellington Library community. It really feels like a place of home.

Who is your all-time favourite book character?
I would have to say my all-time favourite book character would be Holden Caulfield, from The Catcher in The Rye. The reason for this is that he is just such a complex, relatable character. He not only emits to others this about himself, but also to the reader. His development in the story just blows my mind every time I read it.

What inspired you to take come to the library for this photo shoot?
Well, some friends and I went out for this fun town photo shoot, and met up in the library. We thought that it was actually a really comforting and creative place to take some shots, and that was it really! It was just the ambiance of the library and the community feel that made us decide to take photos there I guess.

Do you have a favourite dance book or magazine?
This might sound weird, but I have honestly never ventured out into the world of books in communication with dance. Obviously the Secret Lives of Dancers was a huge thing for me when that was on TV, but I really have never read any books that relate to dance. It’s something that I really want to do and think I’ll look into in the future.

What are you reading at the moment?
At the moment I’m re-reading An Abundance of Katherines by John Green. John Green is one of my all-time favourite authors, and I absolutely love his work. Next I really want to read Turtles All The Way Down as I’ve heard so many good things about it, and I’m always the first to jump at a new(ish) John Green book!

What is your favourite book to recommend?
My favourite book to recommend would be without doubt The Catcher in The Rye. This book is so appealing to me because at first glance it isn’t really about anything terribly exciting, but has so much meaning to it and symbolism that it encompasses. I have re-read this book many times, and highly recommend anyone young or old who hasn’t read it to give it a try!

An assortment of upcoming fiction

This week, TV, dance, and a literary legend.

Homecoming, Kass Morgan. This is the final in the 100 trilogy, which the TV series The 100 is based on, so cover your eyes maybe because there might be spoilers! “Weeks after landing on Earth, the Hundred have managed to create a sense of order amidst their wild, chaotic surroundings. But their delicate balance comes crashing down with the arrival of new dropships from space. These new arrivals are the lucky ones – back on the Colony, the oxygen is almost gone – but after making it safely to Earth, Glass’s luck seems to be running out. Clarke leads a rescue party to the crash site, ready to treat the wounded, but she can’t stop thinking about her parents who may still be alive. Meanwhile, Wells struggles to maintain his authority despite the presence of the Vice Chancellor and his armed guards, and Bellamy must decide whether to face or flee the crimes he thought he’d left behind. It’s time for the Hundred to come together and fight for the freedom they’ve found on Earth, or risk losing everything – and everyone – they love.” (goodreads.com)

Dance of Fire, Yelena Black. The sequel to Dance of Shadows. “All dancers dream of the chance to try out for the Royal Court Ballet Company. Only two dancers from the elite New York Ballet Academy will have this honour. Vanessa is one of them. She dances with grace and elegance, and a fury that is unmatched. Justin – strong, sexy and caring – will be her partner. But the thrill of travelling to London for this once-in-a-lifetime competition is shrouded by their past and the demands of an ancient organisation. The Lyric Elite needs them to win the contest and to infiltrate the Royal Court Ballet in order to seek out a dark society of Necrodancers. Vanessa will dance like she has never danced before, but not for them. Vanessa is there to find her missing sister, Margaret, and she won’t let anything get in the way of that … Fierce rivals, dark forces and hidden motives weave together in a gripping thriller for fans of Black Swan and Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments.” (goodreads.com)

A Study in Scarlet, Arthur Conan Doyle. This is the first Sherlock Holmes mystery, first published in 1887. This edition is unabridged. “See how Holmes and Watson met for the first time. A baffling murder with puzzling clues and evil villains takes place and the … cold and quirky detective, with his razor-sharp deductive mind and obsessive attention to detail, is on the case. Told from the journals of his faithful companion, Dr. John Watson, join us for a trip to 221B Baker Street and the beginning of the legend of Sherlock Holmes.” (goodreads.com)

Some New Books

Cupcake, Rachel Cohn (310 pages) – if you’ve read Shrimp and Gingerbread then you need to read this! CC has moved to New York, leaving behind Shrimp. She’s on a mission to find the best job, the best coffee, the best cupcake (we hear you), and a new love. But then, oops, Shrimp shows up, and CC must decide whether to continue the New York dream, or follow the surf with Shrimp.

First sentence: A cappucino cost me my life.

Frost, Wendy Delsol (376 pages) – the sequel to Stork. Katla is adjusting to life being a Stork and her mystical abilities, and to snowy Minnesota. The attentions of Jack help, however when a snowstorm brings environmental scientist Brigid to town, Katla finds there’s competition for Jack’s attentions. Worse, on a trip with Brigid to Greenland, Jack goes missing, and Katla knows she’s the only one who can find him.

First sentence: There was one thing, and one thing only, that could coax me into striped red tights, a fur vest, and an elf cap: Jack Snjosson.

Dust & Decay, Jonathan Maberry (519 pages) – the sequel to Rot & Ruin. Benny and his friends are ready to leave in search of a better future (on a road trip!), but this is not so easy! Zombies, wild animals, murderers, and the rebuilt Gamelands are in their way, plus also possibly Charlie Pink-eye (who is supposed to be safely dead!).

First sentence: Benny Imura was appalled to learn that the Apocalypse came with homework.

My Life Undecided, Jessica Brody (299 pages) – Brooklyn can’t make decisions, so she blogs in the hopes that her readers will make up her mind for her. But things get messy when love gets involved.

First sentence: The sirens are louder than I anticipated.

Audition, Stasia Ward Kehoe (458 pages) – Sara moves to a new city and joins the prestigious Jersey Ballet. As she struggles to adapt she spends time with Remington, a choreographer on the rise, becoming his muse and creating gossip and scandal that may make it all seem not worth it. A novel in verse.

First sentence: When you are a dancer / you learn the beginning / is first position.

This Dark Endeavor, Kenneth Oppel (298 pages) – subtitled The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein and therefore the prequel to Mary Shelley’s classic Frankenstein. Sixteen year old Victor’s twin, Konrad, falls ill, and Victor is desperate to save him. He enlists the help of some friends in creating the Elixir of Life, but in the process pushes the boundaries of “nature, science and love”.

First sentence: We found the monster on a rocky ledge high above the lake.

Dead End in Norvelt, Jack Gantos (341 pages) – Over to the rather good catalogue description: “In the historic town of Norvelt, Pennsylvania, twelve-year-old Jack Gantos spends the summer of 1962 grounded for various offenses until he is assigned to help an elderly neighbor with a most unusual chore involving the newly dead, molten wax, twisted promises, Girl Scout cookies, underage driving, lessons from history, typewriting, and countless bloody noses.”

First sentence: School was finally out and I was standing on a picnic table in our backyard getting ready for a great summer vacation when my mother walked up to me and ruined it.

A Need So Beautiful, Suzanne Young (267 pages) – Charlotte is a Forgotten, an earth-bound angel compelled to help someone. She’d rather spend her life with her boyfriend, so she must make the difficult, wrenching choice between her destiny and her love.

First sentence: I sit on the front steps of St. Vincent’s Cathedral and pick at the moss nestled in the cracks of the concrete.

Top 10: Ballet Fiction

Thanks to Natalie Portman and Black Swan and whatnot, ballet is resurgent and popular! There is plenty of storyline potential in ballet, with dancers driven to succeed, and the mysterious inner workings of dance companies and schools. This list is a sort of companion to the theatre list, and also as a salute to mum, a ballet fiend, and other ballet fiends like her:

  1. Bunheads, Sophie Flack – Great cover! Nice title! Hannah is consumed by her ballet – the hours of rehearsals, the performances – until she meets Jacob, a free-spirit musician. Her growing relationship with him helps give her a new perspective on life, and ballet’s place in it.
  2. Ballet Shoes, Noel Streatfield – this is a classic children’s book, so if you haven’t read it maybe you must? Either that, or you could cheat and watch the DVD with Emma Watson of Hermione fame.
  3. Dancing in the Dark, Robyn Bavati – not the song by Bruce Springsteen. In this a girl born into a strict Jewish family is not allowed ballet lessons, so (as often happens with forbidden things) she learns in secret and begins to question the world she lives in.
  4. The Splendour Falls, Rosemary Clement-Moore – with a supernatural twist! Sylvie’s broken leg ruins her ballet career, and after her father dies her mother ships her off from New York to Alabama. Everyone knows that mysterious, unexplainable things happen in the deep south.
  5. Rose Sees Red, Cecil Castellucci – set in 1982, when the USA was at loggerheads with the USSR. Rose is an American teen who lives to dance, and Yrena is her next door neighbour, a Russian ballet dancer performing in New York and sick of being confined in her apartment. One night, Yrena makes a bold escape, out her bedroom window and into Rose’s, and what follows is a night out on the town, which would be great in New York.
  6. Fish Feet, Veronica Bennett – not exactly a title the screams ballet, but nonetheless! Erik loves ballet and football, but when he decides to audition for the Royal Ballet School he faces the prospect of letting down his football team: you can imagine how understanding they are. A book about branching out, taking a risk, and being different.
  7. A Company of Swans, Eva Ibbotson – Swan Lake in the Amazon jungle! “Defying her father, Harriet runs away to join the ballet on a journey to the Amazon. In a grand opera house, deep in the heart of the wild jungle, she performs Swan Lake – and falls in love with a mysterious British exile. But Harriet’s father has tracked her down… and her new life is under threat.” (catalogue)
  8. The Melting Season, Celeste Conway – “Giselle, the sheltered daughter of two famous ballet dancers, comes to terms with her relationships with both her late father and her mother, realizing some important truths that help her move forward both in her life and with her own dancing.” (catalogue)
  9. The Kings Are Already Here, Garret Freymann-Weir – Phebe takes the summer off from training to be a ballet dancer to stay with her father in Switzerland. There she meets Nikolai, a young chess champion on his own quest to find legendary chess player Stas Vlajnik. Phebe organises a search to find Stas, and together with Nikolai and her father, travels across Europe following her leads.
  10. Audition, Louise Kehoe. Sara wins a scholarship to study ballet. Her life as a full-time dancer in training is hard, but enjoyable (including being the muse of Remington, choreographer), but she starts to question her life’s direction when she discovers a love of writing.

More New Books

Rose Sees Red, Cecil Castellucci (197 pages) – It is 1982 in New York and Rose is a ballet dancer who attends the High School of Performing Arts. Yrena is Rose’s neighbour, a visiting Russian dancer who, due to the Cold War between USSR and the United States, is all but a prisoner in her apartment. One night Yrena, intent on experiencing New York life, escapes through Rose’s apartment window, and the two hit the town for a wild night of adventure.

First sentence: I was black inside so I took everything black.

The Children of the Lost, David Whitley (357 pages) – the second book in the Agora trilogy that began with The Midnight Charter. Mark and Lily are exiled from the city of Agora, and find refuge in a small nearby village. Lily is happy, but Mark longs to return to Agora to take revenge and find answers.

First sentence: Gradually, Lily became aware that she was being watched.

Kick, Walter Dean Myers and Ross Workman (197 pages) – Ross Workman wrote to Walter Dean Myers saying he was a fan of his books and Walter Dean Myers replied saying let’s write a book together, so they did. True story. Kick is about a troubled boy who’s an excellent football (soccer) player, on his way to the state cup final, until he ends up in jail. Can he and his mentor, a policeman called Sergeant Brown, turn his life around?

First sentence: Bill Kelly and I had been friends since we played high school basketball together.

I Was Jane Austen’s Best Friend, Cora Harrison (342 pages) – Jenny Cooper is Jane’s cousin, and goes to live with the Austens, which is an education in the world of balls, beautiful dresses, turns about the room, gossip, and other such things. When she (Jenny) falls in love, Jane is there to help her out.

First sentence: It’s a terrible thing to write: Jane looks like she could die – but it’s even worse to have the thought jumping into your mind every few minutes.

Pathfinder, Orson Scott Card (657 pages) – Rigg is able to see into people’s paths, a secret he shares only with his father. When his father dies, Rigg learns that he’s been keeping a whole lot of other secrets, about Rigg and his family. Rigg has other powers…

First sentence: Rigg and Father usually set the traps together, because it was Rigg who had the knack of seeing the paths that the animals they wanted were still using.

Firespell, Chloe Neill (278 pages) – Lily is a new girl at an exclusive academy and she doesn’t fit in and has no friends apart from her roommate Scout. When she discovers that Scout has magical powers and protects the city from supernatural monsters, Lily is keen to help, but can she, if she has no powers of her own?

First sentence: They were gathered around a conference table in a high-rise, eight men and women, no one under the age of sixty-five, all of them wealthy beyond measure.

The Body at the Tower, Y S Lee (344 pages) – the second book in the Agency Victorian detective series (the first is A Spy in the House). Mary Quinn, under cover, investigates the mysterious scandals surrounding the building of the Houses of Parliament, but there are distractions (suspicious workmates, past secrets, and the return of James Easton).

First sentence: A sobbing man huddles on a narrow ledge, clawing at his eyes to shield them from the horror far below.

The Doomsday Box, Herbie Brennan (328 pages) – a Shadow Project book. Time travel is possible, trouble is someone (secret codename Cobra) has used it to transport the black plague into the 21st Century. The supernatural teen spies of the Shadow Project must avert disaster, while also averting their own disaster, on the run from the KGB in Moscow in the 1960s.

First sentence: Opal fastened the strap around her ankle and stood up to admire her new shoes.

Zora and Me, Victoria Bond and T R Simon (170 pages) – based on events in the life of author Zora Neale Hurston. When a young man’s body is found on train tracks in a small Florida town Zora thinks she knows who did it, so she and her friends set out to prove her theory and search for the truth. Narrated by Zora’s best friend Carrie, hence the title.

First sentence: It’s funny how you can be in a story but not realise until the end that you were in one.

The False Princess, Eilis O’Neal (319 pages) – Nalia believes herself to be princess of Thorvaldor, but discovers she’s actually a stand in. She’s cast out, called Sinda, and sent to live with her unwelcoming aunt in a village where she (Sinda) learns she has magic, which is Sinda’s ticket out, albeit a dangerous ticket. This one is called “A dazzling first novel” and “an engrossing fantasy full of mystery, action, and romance”, which sounds great.

First sentence: The day they came to tell me, I was in one of the gardens with Kiernan, trying to decipher a three-hundred-year-old map of the palace grounds.

Fallout, Ellen Hopkins (663 pages) – the companion to Crank and Glass. About Kristina’s three oldest children, who must climb out from under their mother’s meth addiction and the hold it has over the family. Novel in verse form.

First sentence: That life was good / before she / met / the monster, / but those page flips / went down before / our collective / cognition.

Accomplice, Eireann  Corrigan (259 pages) – Two friends stage a kidnapping as a joke and in order to gain notoreity. Of course this is going to be a very bad idea indeed.

First sentence: The picture they usually use is one from the Activities spread of the yearbook.

Pride, Robin Wasserman (231 pages) – one in the Seven Deadly Sins series, and we have the complete set.