An elderly, misanthropic dance instructor... A painfully shy bachelor... An unhappily married man... A restless divorcee... A beautiful, studious young woman and her ambitious dance partner... Though strangers, each with a shameful secret, they all share one passion: dance. In her debut novel, Ballroom, Alice Simpson draws readers into the lives and yearnings of six lonely souls who seek solace every Sunday night in the faded grandeur of a New York City dance hall. By 1999, the ballroom, across from Union Square Park, has seen better days. The upholstery is torn; the ceiling is leaking; even the floor is in need of repairs. Still, in the dim light and dazzling blur of dance after dance—Viennese waltz, giddy Peabody, and quirky quickstep, the provocative pulse of mambo, fox-trot, and tango—ordinary men and women can escape reality, with all its drudgery, disappointments, and torments, to search for their dreams. Told in interconnecting stories, Ballroom reveals the troubled pasts and hidden demons of ballroom regulars as their paths cross, in poignant and startling ways, both on and off the dance floor.
Alice Simpson is an accomplished visual artist who has taught drawing and design at FIT, the School of Visual Arts, the New School, and Otis-Parsons. She has been widely exhibited and won international acclaim for her works of sculpture and series of handcrafted artist books about dance, including Swing!, Dirty Dancing, Rumba, Urban Motion, and Tango Bar.
Told in interconnecting stories, Ballroom is a beautifully crafted debut novel--reminiscent of the works of Elizabeth Strout and Jennifer Haigh--about a group of strangers united by a desire to escape their complicated lives, if only for a few hours each week, in a faded New York City dance hall.