Professional dancers Corky Ballas and Carolina Orlovsky have partnered to create a children’s picture book that combines a warm story of youthful determination with directions for dancing the Cha Cha.
Canadian Chloe, 10, longs to join her older brother George, 12, in London, where he’s studying dance with the famous Mr. and Mrs. Spin. Her parents finally allow Chloe to make this bold step, and she’s sent to England and taken by taxi to the Spins’ studio with “butterflies dancing in her tummy.”
After dragging her luggage up six flights of stairs to the studio, she’s greeted lovingly by George and introduced to Alex Spin, a boy about her age who will be her dance partner. Chloe dresses in her dancing togs and shoes and, asked to demonstrate her Cha Cha, shows off her ten steps. Then Alex dazzles her with his demo, much faster and more confident than hers. She rushes back into the dressing room in tears. But George explains that “it’s not okay to quit,” and Chloe rallies, realizing that “with enough hard work…it would all be possible one day!”
The authors have doubtless lived through some of the discouragement Chloe experiences before they became award-winning, professional dancers and teachers (Ballas has appeared on Dancing with the Stars), and their well-chosen words make their heroine’s hopes and dilemmas come alive. The colorful, action-filled book finishes with David Estrada’s detailed illustrations, providing the precise moves for Chloe (and readers) to dance the Cha Cha. Nosey, the studio dog, adds a smiling flavor to almost every page.
Chloe’s introduction to the world of dance in London is the first of what Orlovsky and Ballas plan as a 22-book series, each taking place in a different country and all including instructions for new dance moves. It’s a fun concept that’s bound to enchant young readers (and maybe some parents and grandparents, too), who will enjoy trying out these dance moves for themselves.