Arabesque: Dancing On the Edge in Los Angeles by Cherie Magnus

78377AF4-04F5-482A-8098-F70C77486DF7_4_5005_cArabesque is a memoir that depicts the author’s early years. In many ways it may be viewed as a coming-of-age account. One aspect arising almost immediately is Cherie’s passion for dance. A passion that developed early on. A passion that has never abated and continues to the present day. Indeed, for lover’s of dance in all its forms this will prove an enjoyable read. However, the memoir is by no means limited to dance. The reader is treated to a variety of insights into family, and other, relationships and the foibles and difficulties that frequently accompany them. The author’s own background presented challenges which are related in visual format.

Beside recounting her own development from child to young adult, Cherie also shares the frustrations and disappointments of loving someone with a different perspective on life. Her love was so deep she willingly compromised on much, including, for that immediate future, abandoning her early dreams of a dance qualification. It should be pointed out, though deeply in love, Cherie was by no means empty-headed. She proved pragmatic, acknowledging the need for ‘proper’ qualifications to secure a viable future. Therefore, despite the various challenges, she determined to obtain the best she could from what was available, though her love of dance never diminished.

As indicated, this is a tale of mixed hopes, challenges, and emotions. The stresses and strains of the various incidents did take a toll, leading to personal difficulties, some very serious. These are shared eloquently enabling the reader to sympathise and empathise with the author’s fears, emotions, and concerns and to hope they never suffer the same.

This personal tale is set against the social background of the time, both world and local which, will bring back memories for those who lived through the time, and should be of interest to younger readers interested in learning more about their ancestor’s lives. The period is primarily the nineteen-sixties. In addition, the detailed information and description of localities will assist those who have knowledge of the areas, principally Los Angeles, though visits to other places are also described, identify and follow the author’s journeys, especially her regular daily commutes.

This is a very well written account nevertheless, it is not an unusual or remarkable tale. Undoubtedly, some readers will be able to identify with the issues and frustrations of teenage life this story brings out.

Though the book stands on its own, readers should note it is in fact a prequel to the author’s first published memoir The Church of Tango.

Arabesque is available in paperback and digital (e-book) formats.

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