Vanessa Blakeslee Recommends...

“When I was in the thick of writing my novel, Juventud, I took dance classes two or three times a week. This provided obvious physical benefits, prying me from the long day otherwise spent on the couch, pecking away on laptop keys until my neck and back ached. Any style of dance would do—modern, ballet, jazz, Bollywood, Polynesian, Middle Eastern. I chose the latter, or maybe it ended up choosing me; the studio was only a fifteen-minute drive from home, the lesson package affordable. Rules of thumb if you try a dance class: Find a style that won’t frustrate you too much, because this is supposed to be an invigorating break, not another means to bang your head against the wall. Let that hour yank you from the world of words and bring you back into the body, into the senses. Like yoga, dance offers its own kind of meditation. Learning choreography—even simple combinations—will keep your brain sharp, the synapses firing. My dance practice led me to figure out strategies for scenes left stuck, and elusive plot points snapped to clarity.”
—Vanessa Blakeslee, author of Juventud (Curbside Splendor, 2015)