Every Step You Take [Book Review]

“Sometimes a series of small steps will bring you to the biggest leaps.” p. 191*

Title: Every Step You Take
Author: Jock Soto
Genre: Memoir
ISBN: 0061732389
Pages: 288
Year: 2011
Publisher: Harper
Source: Review Copy from Publisher
Rating: 3.5/5


I’ve said this before but I will once again admit I find it really hard to critique memoirs. It’s someone’s life and who am I to judge it? Jock Soto has had an interesting life. He’s a half-Navajo, Half-Peurto Rican, openly gay dancer who left his nomadic family at 14 to live on his own in New York City and quickly became a star of the New York City Ballet. That’s an interesting life. The book begins before he is born, when his parents are young, and ends as he figures out life in his post-retirement world.

As you know, ballet has also been a huge part of my life. But I never once thought I would dance professionally, so I really have little knowledge about the life of a professional ballet dancer. It’s a lot of hard work filled with a little bit of glamor, and it was enlightening to spend some time in that world.

Unfortunately, I struggled with the writing style a bit. Soto is not a writer (in fact, he left school at a very young age) so I try to cut him a little slack. But there is only so much past perfect tense (“I had [verb]ed”) that a girl can take. I also think I wanted a little more action and a little less reflection. But that may be an unfair criticism.

Despite these flaws, I did enjoy the book overall.  If you are a fan of dance, or of coming-to-terms-with-my-identity stories, you will probably enjoy it too.

Buy It Now: Amazon; IndieBound

For Fun:

Watch Jock Soto perform on Sesame Street.

*Page numbers are from the ARC and may differ in the finished book.


My Favorite Dances from SYTYCD Season 7

If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I spend my Wednesday and Thursday evenings watching So You Think You Can Dance (and discussing it with many of you). As a nonbookish extra, and in honor of tonight’s finale, I thought I would share my favorite dances from this season with you. These do not include the finale (because they aren’t up yet) which had some awesome dances. They are very contemporary and hip hop heavy – that’s just my taste (although I’m surprised at the lack of jazz). And I’m sure I’m missing some good ones but I can’t include them all. Enjoy.

Note: The videos may have a short (like 10 second) commercial at the beginning, but I wanted to link to the fox videos because (a) that’s the legal way and (b) they’re better quality than youtube. Sorry for the ads.

#1 – Kent and Lauren – contemporary

This is my absolute favorite video from this year. I love both Kent and Lauren. I would like them to get married and have lots of babies. You know, when they’re done dancing. Also, I think my life would be complete if I could dance one of Travis Wall’s pieces. He’s amazing. And it’s Howie Day.


#2 Alex and Twitch –  Hip-Hop

Ah Nappytabs, how I love you. And want to be just like you. Also, Alex is a BALLET dancer. Ballet! If only he didn’t get hurt.

Sorry – I can’t embed this one. But click through – it’s really good.

Alex and Twitch

#3 Robert and Dominick – Hip-Hop

Kind of creepy. Kind of awesome.

#4 Billy and Katee – Broadway

Billy might not have lived up to our expectations, but he was pretty amazing in this one. And I love Katee – she was from the first season I watched.


#5 Lauren and Twitch – Hip Hop

Did you expect that from Lauren? I bet you didn’t.

#6 Kent and Neil – Contemporary

Love that the boys got to dance together so much this season.

#7 Billy and Ade – Contemporary

Ok, nevermind. Billy’s an amazing dancer.

Bonus – My Favorite Group Dances

And I love this last one because it features Mark. And I love Mark and his quirkiness.


SYTYCD newbies, which is your favorite of these?

SYTYCD watchers, did I miss one of your favorites?

National Dance Day

As you all must know by now, dance is a big part of my life. I started taking lessons when I was 2 years old and I never stopped. I still make it to ballet class at least once a week. And I wish I had the time and money to go every day. I was never good enough to do anything serious with dance but it cheers me up on a bad day and I hope it is always a part of my life.

Fans of So You Think You Can Dance will know that today is National Dance Day. And I think I heard that today is actually officially recognized by Congress as such. In honor of dance, I wanted to share with you my oldest dance picture. But I’m not really sure what happened to it. I’m hoping a parent has it because it is adorable (way cuter than this one) and I would hate for it to be lost. What you get instead is 5-year-old Michelle, dressed up in sequins and tutu, and sporting a pretty good skinned knee (tights and skinned knees to not mix well). It’s an iPhone picture of a 1988 photograph so I apologize for the quality.

This was actually the first year I took ballet classes. I was forced to make the switch when we moved to Michigan (I was too young to tap) and I never looked back. I continue to try other forms of dance, but I always return to ballet.

So get out there and dance today. Or leave a comment about how dance has impacted your life. Or tell me who you want to win on So You Think You Can Dance. Just celebrate dance.