“A Time to Dance” by Padma Venkatraman
Padma Venkatraman’s Young Adult novel A Time to Dance is a powerful and inspiring story told in verse about a young woman’s struggle to regain her passion for life through the ancient art of the bharatanatyam dance.
Veda is a classical dance prodigy who suffers a tragic accident and has to have a below-the-knee amputation, which shatters her dreams. Despite this setback, Veda stubbornly re-enrolls in dance classes and meets a young man named Govinda who teachers her to view dancing as way to honor the Hindu God Shiva and helps her forge a new identity for herself.
Using riveting verse, Venkatraman shows how dance can help lost souls find healing and re-connect with their passion for life. Veda’s disability brings her new awareness of life’s twists and turns, which makes her dancing that much spiritually charged since she uses her classes the way a Catholic would use their rosary beads: to bring themselves closer to the Divine. Even if you have never taken a dance class before, thanks to Venkatraman’s poetic writing, you too will walk away from this novel with a new appreciation for spirituality, culture, and the triumph of the human spirit.