What to Read if You Love Center Stage


Center Stage is one of the greatest dance movies ever and it’s about to turn 20 years. Don’t worry, I also feel incredibly old. The movie follows 12 teenagers through their first year of ballet training. Not only is the dancing phenomenal, but that on-stage costume change is still talked about in the dance world (really, ask any dancer!). So here are five books that will remind you that no matter what, there is a dancer in all of us. 

Second Position by Katherine Locke 

Four years ago, a car accident ended Zedekiah Harrow’s ballet career and sent Philadelphia Ballet principal dancer Alyona Miller spinning toward the breakdown that suspended her own. What they lost on the side of the road that day can never be replaced, and grief is always harshest under a spotlight…

Now twenty-three, Zed teaches music and theatre at a private school in Washington, D.C. and regularly attends AA meetings to keep the pain at bay. Aly has returned to D.C. to live with her mother while trying to recover from the mental and physical breakdown that forced her to take a leave of absence from the ballet world, and her adoring fans.

When Zed and Aly run into each other in a coffee shop, it’s as if no time has passed at all. But without the buffer and escape of dance—and with so much lust, anger and heartbreak hanging between them—their renewed connection will either allow them to build the together they never had…or destroy the fragile recoveries they’ve only started to make.

I Wanna Be Where You Are by Kristina Forest

When Chloe Pierce’s mom forbids her to apply for a spot at the dance conservatory of her dreams, she devises a secret plan to drive two hundred miles to the nearest audition. But Chloe hits her first speed bump when her annoying neighbor Eli insists upon hitching a ride, threatening to tell Chloe’s mom if she leaves him and his smelly dog, Geezer, behind. So now Chloe’s chasing her ballet dreams down the east coast―two unwanted (but kinda cute) passengers in her car, butterflies in her stomach, and a really dope playlist on repeat.

Filled with roadside hijinks, heart-stirring romance, and a few broken rules, Kristina Forest’s I Wanna Be Where You Are is a YA debut perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Sandhya Menon.

the studio by judith erwin
The Studio by Judith Erwin

Commander Matt Emerson, son of a navy admiral, enrolls his five daughters in ballet classes at Kaci Connelly’s dance studio in Florida. His wife has mysteriously disappeared at his last post in Viriginia, and he transferred to Florida to remove his children from the gossip and speculation about their mother. Matt is a suspect in his wife’s disappearance and has no alibi.

Kaci, a former ballerina, is still in recovery for the trauma of a horrendous tragedy that ended her performing career years before meeting the Emersons. She is a devoted teacher, who becomes attached to the motherless girls while subconsciously becoming attracted to their handsome father.

When Matt exchanges his labor for extra classes for his daughters, creating close contact with Kaci, he finds himself becoming more and more attracted to the pretty dance instructor.

While all the girls are grieving for their mother, the oldest, a talented young teen, is the most disturbed and harbors a belief that her father was responsible for her mother’s disappearance.

The stakes increase when the remains of Matt’s wife are found on Federal parkland in North Carolina, and the FBI targets Matt.

Readers will be intrigued by Matt’s plight to prove his innocence and win the love, respect, and trust of his children, and by Kaci’s struggle when falling in love with a murder suspect.

The Romance Dance by Allie Burton

After being abandoned by his fiancée and his fans because of a disfiguring accident, former classical pianist Reed O’Donnell returns home to hide. He’s pieced his life back together becoming a landlord and remodel construction specialist, but shies away from a social life.

Ex-ballerina Quinn Petrov moved to Castle Ridge and invested her money to start a dance studio with plans to put down roots. She wants to get involved in the community to promote her business and make real friends, not the acquaintances she’d made in New York. When she meets her secretive and sexy landlord, she’s intrigued but he always seems to be hiding behind a mask.

Reed can’t stop the attraction he feels toward his new tenant, but she’s beautiful and outgoing, while he is not. When his younger brother begs him to help impress Quinn, Reed can’t say no. Using the musical language of love, he woos Quinn for his brother, but when his own mask slips will he reveal his secrets?

In this modern take of Cyrano de Bergerac meets Beauty and the Beast, Quinn and Reed dance their way into each other’s hearts.

We hope these titles satisfy your dance romance cravings!

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1 thought on “What to Read if You Love Center Stage”

  1. Wait how do you NOT have Amour Amour by Krista and Becca Ritchie on this list?! It literally says in the synopsis: “Center Stage meets Cirque du Soleil” and it has MAJOR Center Stage vibes

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