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March 27, 2018

Essay: Dancing Lessons for Writers

by N@ncy

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor fred astaire and gene kelly


  • Author: Zadie Smith
  • Title essay:  Dancing Lessons for Writers
  • Book:  Feel Free (collection essays)
  • Published: February 2018



  1. Chores  and grocery shopping are done!
  2. Now I have time  to read…Zadie  Smith’s essay before my coffee break.
  3. Dance Lessons for Writers
  4. I see directly that this essay is laying the groundwork
  5. …for Smith’s  newest book Swing Time (2016)
  6. She wants to investigate the
  7. …connection between writing and dancing.
  8. Quote:
  9. What can an art of words take from the art that needs none?”


  1. This essay was written 29.10.2016 in The Guardian.
  2. Her book was  written in 2015 and released 1 month after this article.
  3. Dance lessons for writers would include:
  4. position, attitude, rhythm and style.


  1. Smith makes a wonderful comparison between
  2. Fred Astaire (free-floating, aloof, appears to skim across the surface) and
  3. Gene Kelly (low center of gravity, bends his knees, hunkers down).
  4. Now Smith  lays this comparison over language!
  5. Gene Kelly: commonsense language, language of TV,
  6. …supermarket, the advert, newspapers, the government.
  7. GK- type writer? One whose natural talents are
  8. ….combined with hard-earned skills. (Raymond Carver)
  9. Fred Astaire: (poetry in motion)
  10. FA- type writer? One who barely puts a toe in
  11. …daily public conversation, prefers the
  12. …literary language a literal aristocrat. (Vladimir Nabokov)


  1. Smith goes on to find what  the
  2. …writer can learn from the dance moves of
  3. Michael Jackson and Prince.
  4. Prince is an ode...try to capture a passing sensation.
  5. Jackson is a graphic novel, all very visible
  6. …and sometimes ALL CAPS.
  7. But there are many more comparisons
  8. …this is a essay worth your reading time!
  9. #MustRead
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