I met Olivia Berrier at Confluence in Pittsburgh last year and picked up the printed format of her short story The World That Forgot How to Dance (Fantasy 72 pages).
“Dancing destroyed a village … Ellsie lives in a world where magic is controlled by dancing, and both have been illegal for the past three centuries. No one really knows what happened when the village of Laenin was leveled, but the magic of dancers hasn’t been trusted since. The world is better off, they say. The loss of dancing is a fair price for protection against magic so powerful and unexplainable. Ellsie, however, still dances in secret, and she figures she can’t be the only one.”
I read this as a break from a lot of really intellectually and academically heavy work I’m involved with because of a class right now and it was a welcome break. This book also created a very unanticipated emotional reaction in the sense that I again felt the loss of a friend I miss very much. While we never danced, I think that we would have had a lot of fun and laughter if we had. The World That Forgot How to Dance made me yearn for someone I care about to be around so that I could ask them do dance, which would be highly amusing because I have the gracefulness of a dying cockroach 🙂 But the feeling was there, all the same. And maybe, just maybe, someday, that individual will give our friendship another chance. This is a book about hope and dancing, after all 😉
There was a part of the story, as I continued to read, that made me concerned that the story was going to take a very dark turn and I would have been upset if that was the case because I really needed something positive to read with where I’m at right now. As a point of reference, today is the four-year anniversary of when I walked again for the first time after being on crutches for three solid months. I mean, I was on crutches to the point of not being able to use or touch my leg at all. I clearly remember how it felt, four years ago, to walk again for the first time. I remember how hard it was, but how much I wanted to dance and move and express my joy at movement, especially after such a lengthy constriction to my ability to walk, let alone dance.
This story was a perfect testament to both my memories of that day and where I’m at now in my life.
It was an interesting story with an intriguing premise and it really made me want to dance and long for someone to dance with. So because of the unanticipated emotional reaction to this story, I would rate it as a high three on my rating scale. I’m glad I picked up the story and even more moved by how odd my timing was to be reading something like this at such an auspicious time.
Berrier, Olivia. The World That Forgot How to Dance. Unknown: 48HrBooks, 2015.