Books that influenced Emma Warren's book Dance Your Way HomeBy Faber
I've been reading books about music since my teens, starting with a copy of Stephen Davis and Peter Simon's Reggae Bloodlines which I borrowed from the library at Manchester Poly and which I kept renewing for over a year. I now understand why the lens of the Rolling Stone staffers who wrote it skewed the story but at the time it gave me a much-appreciated picture of Jamaican music and culture in the late 1970s. Most music books, even today, focus on artists rather than expanding outwards to the communities on the dancefloor that contribute so much to the music and culture. These books do some justice to the dancers.
Emma Warren£18.99 £18.04
Barbara (Y) Ehrenreich£10.99 £10.44
Dance academics call ordinary dancing ‘social dance’ and the addition of the word ‘social’ explains what dance academia considers to be central – dance as performance rather than participation. Dancing In The Streets is the gold standard examination of participatory community movement to music.
James Kirk and Two Fingas£10.99 £10.44
Written chapter by chapter after nights out raving in 1994, Junglist contains descriptions of the dancefloor that are informed, immediate and unfiltered. Some parts of the story are disturbing by today’s standards but it’s as close as you’ll get to a dancefloor time machine.
University of Ca Associate Professor of Women and Gender Studies Maxine Leeds (Associate Professor of Women and Gender Studies£33.99
This brilliant book about why (some) men don’t dance transcends its academic roots – the author is an eminent American sociologist – in the sense of being highly readable and genuinely mind-expanding.
Christian Adofo£9.99 £9.49
This first book about the genre of afrobeats centres the dancers. This includes descriptions of his own experiences at British-Ghanaian hall parties, of the role of university Afro-Caribbean Society raves and interviews with key dancers.
Mid-century dance critic and friend of poet Frank O’Hara paid as much attention to the way people walked down the street as he did his reviews of the New York City ballet. This collection of essays contains gems.
Lloyd Bradley£25.00 £23.75
Bradley’s brilliant books (Bass Culture, Sounds Like London) always include the dancefloor. His forthcoming book is no exception, expanding the history of funk to include the Black Arts Movement and movement more generally.
Culture and Tourism) Salkind The Providence Department of Art Special Projects Manager Micah (Special Projects Manager£39.08
Another dancefloor-academic, Salkind hones in on the queer roots of house music and in doing so, brings us closer to the dancers who helped shape the sound.
Lavinia Greenlaw£9.99 £9.49
Greenlaw’s teenage dancefloor excursions stuck in the back of my mind and helped give me some early language and context for the way that our experience of music and movement can be gendered.
Ntozake Shange£17.99 £17.09
This essential collection celebrates Black dance through a series of interviews with pioneers and luminaries and which explores the esteemed choreo-poet’s own relationship with motion, movement and freedom.
This history of bleep – a form of music that combined house and techno from Chicago and Detroit with a distinctly Northern flavour – brings the dancers centre stage, and brings important historic dancefloors to life.
Dance Your Way Home is available in hardback.