Dance. Even the word sounds romantic. So it only makes sense that my favorite scenes to read and write are the ones involving this age-old act.
Some may call them cliché. I’ve even chided myself for included a dance in every story I write. Robbie and Keira swing-danced around a hotel room. Shane and Ryann slow-danced on their first date in the River’s Edge Café. Thomas and Blue embarrassed themselves with a choreographed performance from Singin‘ in the Rain at a wedding. Benjamin and Elodie lindy-hopped at the 1945 Christmas Ball. You know what? I don’t care if it’s cliché. Because whenever two characters dance in a book, it means something completely different. Yet, they all played an essential role in the characters’ relationships. Some dances were expressions of love, and some were expressions of joy. Still, others carried secrets, denial, or bitterness in their steps. Nevertheless, the characters were changed by the dance in one way or another.
I also love these scenes because dancing is incredibly relatable. While we may not have tracked a murderer alongside a romantic interest or gotten trapped in an elevator with them, chances are we’ve all danced with someone at least once in our life. If you’ve been fortunate enough to dance with someone you like or love, those powerful emotions resurface as we read dance scenes. We KNOW what they feel because we’ve likely felt it, too.
In my upcoming release, Aspen Crossroads, Jace and Haven have been dancing in circles around each other since they first met, trying to reconcile their feelings as circumstances demand they keep apart. At the town’s Harvest Dance, Haven turns to run from her haunting past, only to find Jace there, ready to rescue her with a two-step.
One of Jace’s arms slid around her waist and tugged her against his chest. He took her hand, holding it up in a dancing pose. Without a word and without taking his eyes off hers, he walked her backward to the dance floor. Once there, he led her in a two-step around the dance hall, riding the whispers of the spectators. Of course, they were ogling. Jace was the gorgeous new face in town. And his lack of a wedding ring surely held every single gal’s attention.
Even Haven felt it—this magnetism pulling her closer to him than necessary. And it wasn’t his good looks or even the muscular arms that held her now. No, it was the way he planted flowers with Elijah and mended baby chicks. And the way he worked sunup till sundown, all so three women who’d been mistreated by so many would have a second chance at life. Not to mention the way he looked at Haven—like she could single-handedly mend the world.
Finally, I love to read and write dance scenes because there is honesty to dancing. If you’re a good dancer, people are going to know. If you’re a bad dancer, they’ll know that, too. If you love someone or hate someone, it will be obvious to anyone watching. Sometimes it reveals to one of the dancing partners how they truly feel. And if we’re lucky, we’ll get a moment like this:
“My heart almost stopped when I saw you in this dress. Cherry red?” Jace squeezed his eyes tightly closed. “You’re killing me, Haven.”
Her cheeks warmed, either from blushing or smiling so big. She wasn’t sure. “Do you like it?”
He nodded. “You’re beautiful.” With no warning, he spun her one and a half turns, then put his arm around her shoulder in a promenade. “Don’t let it go to your head.” He turned her again until she was once again facing him.
She pressed closer to him, hoping it might keep her thrumming heart from bursting through her chest.
If you want to get to know Jace and Haven better and experience their story, it is available for preorder here and will be delivered August 24th.
What other books have great dance scenes?
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