Reviewed by Poppy Johnson

Tango lessons provide a backdrop to the rules of etiquette and other life lessons in Shut Up & Dance! by Jamie Rose. The book highlights life lessons learned in partner dances and shows the reader how to manage relationships – professional, romantic or otherwise.

Rose discusses her personal life and how she has embraced professional dancing as an important part of that life. She uses a glossary of terms, short quotes about the joys of dance, photos and funny stories about her own life to explain the power of dance to the reader. All the while, her childhood with famous show business parents is the true inspiration behind the story. Her parents worked hard but kept the most important priorities in sight: taking care of the family and meeting the needs of their children as best they could.

Rose is very honest through the book; her life lessons start with guiding the reader to self-love, then move to showing the reader how to find her inner goddess. She then goes on to describe how important it is to listen to your own heart, and to practice active listening in your life. Rose admits that she enjoys allowing men to take the lead on the dance floor and in her personal relationships. To this end I agree. If we are not allowing ourselves to live in the moment and enjoy the relationship, we get ahead of ourselves and risk ruining it with over-thinking what every gesture could mean. Dancing and tending to relationships should be instinctual and are best enjoyed when we let nature take its course.

Rose also explains how the best dancers in the world dance with intention. Dancing is an art, but it is also a conversation that one partner has with the other, and which both partners have with the audience. She says that even novice dancers can tap into this magic, if they allow themselves to let go and embrace the dance to its fullest measure. I have taken professional dance classes in the past and I was always amazed by how light on the feet the professional dancers were – it was as if they glided on air! Shut Up & Dance! gives the reader a glimpse into this special world.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

After a decade of working in several NYC law departments and teaching, Poppy decided she enjoyed writing full-time. She currently works as a freelance writing consultant, and lives with her husband and sons on the East Coast.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Tarcher. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.