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A Time to Dance

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  2,557 Ratings  ·  487 Reviews
Padma Venkatraman’s inspiring story of a young girl’s struggle to regain her passion and find a new peace is told lyrically through verse that captures the beauty and mystery of India and the ancient bharatanatyam dance form. This is a stunning novel about spiritual awakening, the power of art, and above all, the courage and resilience of the human spirit.
Veda, a classica
Paperback, 336 pages
Published May 12th 2015 by Speak (first published May 1st 2014)
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Carrie I think it's a small piece, but not the most important part. As Reem said, the importance lies in Veda renewing zest in her life through the…moreI think it's a small piece, but not the most important part. As Reem said, the importance lies in Veda renewing zest in her life through the circumstances. It's actually more realistic that romance plays some part, but isn't the only part.(less)
Upneet The name of the guy is Jim, but when he leaves the person who takes care of Veda's leg is Dr. Murali.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Pineapplez & Coconutz ♡
Jun 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The simplest words are the most beautiful.

Padma Venkatraman has introduced a new writing-style to me that's allowed the simply beautiful story of Veda to dance into my life and enter her dauntless journey of pain, growth, acceptance, and spirituality.

❃ Namaskaram ❃

I am absolutely speechless.

Veda's story is like a whimsical melody on a loop page after page. Each page opening our eyes to the beauty of Indian culture and Hinduism as she expresses her passion for Bharatanatyam dance, a classica
This is only the 2nd verse novel I've ever read, and what a good one! Not only did it introduce me to the art of Bharatanatyam dance, but I loved the very real struggles Veda has as dancer, artist, amputee, daughter, and friend. I especially love the way this book explored dance as a spiritual (as well as artistic) form.

I think the verse format helped tell the story, focusing us in on specific moments, images, and emotion. Venkatraman does much with few words, painting vivid pictures of Veda, he
Feb 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Glaiza by: Nafiza
One of the most beautiful verse novels I've ever read.
Book Concierge
Veda has been studying classical dance with a master in Chennai India. She lives and breathes dance. She is dedicated and works hard, but her mother feels she should be applying herself to a goal of being an engineer or doctor. When a devastating injury requires the amputation of her leg Veda is at first defeated and angry, but soon vows to learn again how to use the gifts she has. With renewed determination she begins again, following her dream to become the best interpreter of the Bharantanaty ...more
Sep 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
WOAH. Beautiful. I loved how it talked about dance because that's how I feel about when I act. Awesome. I'm recomending everyone read this especily if theyre a creative person.
A beautiful and very spiritually uplifting novel in verse featuring a differently abled protagonist and set in contemporary India.
Jul 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

The priest's laugh rumbles up into my ears.
"Place a hand on your chest.
Can you feel Shiva's feet moving inside you?"
I press on my chest. Feel bony ribs. Under them, thumping,
faint echoes of a dance rhythm.

A Time to Dance tells the story of Veda, who lives for Bharatanatyam, the classical Indian dance form she excels at. Her rising talent is starting to draw in all sorts of challenges: rivalry with other dancers, distance from her friends, and anger from her mother, who wants her to be an engi
I just read the most quiet, sweet novel, my friends. A Time To Dance by Padma Venkatraman is a young adult verse book that doesn’t loudly declare itself, but kind of whispers. As weird as that sounds, it makes sense when you read it. Venkatramana’s book explores dance, growing up, and India. It’s a book that does not feel over the top at all, but rather subdued in a calming kind of way. I know I am being super cryptic, but A Time To Dance was really a peaceful kind of read for me. Don’t mistake ...more
Rylie Sewell
Dec 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Time to Dance is an amazing novel. This teenage girl named Veda is an amazing dancer, the best in her class in fact. But, one day she experiences a terrible accident that could ruin her dance career forever. So many bad experiences turn the course of her life. Will she fight through the pain? And will she reach back to her full potential? Or will she suffer?
I plucked this book off of a shelf at my local library because of the cover. The title didn't seem interesting to me but I thought it was intriguing that the book was such a warm color and that the girl on the cover wasn't white and that she was dressed in very cultural clothing. The synopsis didn't appeal to me, either, because this trope in books about someone with a disability finding the will to live their lives despite that injury or defect is overused and worn out. Yet. Something about thi ...more
Amrita Desmet
I read this in three sittings because I could not put it down. I love this book because it is like nothing I have ever read before. It took a deeper look into something magical that I really enjoyed and understood. I've never read a book where the main character was so passionate and ambitious about what they wanted to do and it was highly inspiring. The author crafted the story really well and she used a great way of writing. I hadn't read a poetry story before this one but I quite enjoyed the ...more
Disability in Kidlit
"Veda isn’t a two-dimensional disabled vehicle for the able-bodied reader’s gaze. Yes, amputation takes a toll and Venkatraman explores that, but she goes beyond that too. Veda is a fully formed, likeable, realistically flawed teenager, building and navigating complex relationships with family and friends, dealing pretty well with an awful situation, and having all kinds of normal teenager-y experiences.

The parts of the book that do explore losing a leg were difficult for me to read, but very re
Jun 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a really cute and inspirational book written in verse.
Veda, a bharatanatyam dancer, relearns how to dance after her right knee and lower is amputated after an accident.
The book was set in India and I love how without even checking for where the author lives, I could tell she had first hand knowledge on India because the entire book felt so authentic and realistic.

Rating: 85/100
Age: 12 & up
Warnings: death, car accident
Padma Venkatraman
Jul 26, 2016 added it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
This is my third novel!
Kim Clifton
Jun 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So lovely
John Clark
Mar 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Despite her mother's disapproval, Veda lives to dance. She shares in an apartment with her parents and her grandmother. Gram was widowed early and at a time when Indian women had a hard time working, she went back to school and became a teacher. Veda's parents bucked tradition, too. Her mother came from a wealthy family, but was disowned when she married someone from a different caste. Dad is a librarian, Mom works in a bank. They aren't rich, but are happy, even though Mom struggles with Veda's ...more
Emily Knapp
Jan 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

In the heart-warming book A Time To Dance, written by Padma Venkatraman, a young girl is forced to relearn the Indian dance bharatanatyam. Veda has worked on her dancing skills for a long time, and she finally won a competition, but shortly after she encounters an accidents that causes her to become a below-knee amputee. Veda has to work hard to relearn bharatanatyam, but she is willing to do that even if it means finding a different meaning to dance. I loved this book for many reasons, and one
Jun 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Veda is a Bharatanatyam dancer in Chennai who has just won an important competition, one that could maybe convince her parents that she's serious about becoming a professional dancer. A car wreck on the way home destroys her foot, and her leg is amputated below the knee. Veda struggles to recover when she's offered the chance to join a medical trial and get an advanced prosthetic.

I know the barest bit of Bharatanatyam from my lessons on South Indian music. Author Padma Venkatraman allowed me to
Aug 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“ A below-knee amputee
with faith in herself
is two-legged, not one-legged,
as far as I’m concerned.”

A light incense scented story, this is what I was looking for. It tells us about the Passion of dancing a special type of Indian dancing (I forgot what it is called actually but it is a strange name) and a girl who has faith in her surroundings. I liked how Padma tackles the love issue ; so lightly as the breeze in the night by the lake which holds the lotus aloft

I feel I can see his soul shini
A Time to Dance was pretty good. I loved that it was set in India. I may live in North India, but I have South Indian heritage, while I'm not Hindu, and this made me proud. I loved the dancing element, which was pretty fun and interesting. I thought the verse aspect worked pretty well, though it could have been told pretty well in prose. Veda was an interesting character. I liked that she had a lot to figure out. I loved how the story dealt with disability and perceptions of beauty and friendshi ...more
This is a novel in verse, so I was hoping to continue my streak of finishing a book a day. However, despite being much easier to read, it took me about a week to finish because the verse itself was not really enticing as poetry. I was missing the kind of dripping imagery and crafted rhythm that pulls me into poems in the first place. This felt more like simple sentences and straight story telling broken up to look like poetry based on the length of the sentences on paper.

What intrigued me about
Ella Zegarra
Jul 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Original de: El Blog del Gato - El Extraño Gato del Cuento

Sé que no soy lo suficientemente inteligente como para valorar apropiadamente la calidad de este libro, pero si alguien tan superficial como yo quedó completamente enamorada de esta historia, debería ser una lectura necesaria para todos

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Though it tackles some tough topics -- grief and loss in multiple ways -- Venkatraman's novel-in-verse set in India is quite sweet. Veda's a Bharatanatyam dancer and she's one of the best around; she likes to compete. On the day of a huge competition, where she's walked away a champion, she's in a devastating accident and loses one of her legs. But through the power of her spirit and the will to make the most of her prosthetic, Veda relearns how to dance and more, she relearns how to love the ar ...more
Mallika Shankar
Dec 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book. I thought that there could have been so much more to it though. I feel like the author left it unfinished. It was a really easy read not too much depth but the plot was really inspiring. How Veda fought on even after a huge loss. I feel like the Patti could have had a much bigger role in the book as at first she seemed like one of the main characters but as the story progressed her character was not as prominent, and Jim too. They both seemed like characters that would ...more
Nov 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, signed, ncte
One of the presentations I was at this week focused on poetry as a "container for emotions," a safe space to express hurt, pain, grief, anger, joy, etc. This book contained all of the emotions, and made me feel them, at 30,000 feet, in a metal tube with strangers, while I silently wept--with joy, and sadness, and anger--for Uma, for Paati, for Govinda, for Veda, and for Ma. I got to hear Padma Venkatraman talk about her choice to mimic the music of the world in the lyrical flow of the book, and ...more
Nov 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book not only explores grief over the loss of a limb and a loved one, but it also explores the role of spirituality in becoming a full realized person and emphasizes the essential need for compassion to be a full person. I loved the complexity of the narrative and the beauty of the message. I did wish the intricacy of the poetry matched the depth of the plot and theme, but I do prefer novels in poetry vs. novels written in narrative poetry that doesn't make full use of the elements of the ge ...more
Jul 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've had this book for at least one year. My experience with books written in verse has not been very positive. Deciding to pick this book up and give it one more try was a good decision. What a wonderful story. It has definitely changed the way I feel about verse.
It told a story plain and simple - one filled with so many emotions. A book deserving of the awards it has won. Definitely a book worth reading!
Jenna Reeh
Beautiful verse novel set in India featuring Veda, a dancing prodigy who suffers a major set back when she looses her right leg in a car accident. With determination, grace, and honesty Veda works to find the beauty in life again while relearning to dance.

This novel reminded me of two of my favorites- Shark Girl and The Running Dream.
Lisa Tener
Feb 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
Wow. I was lucky enough to see an advance reader's copy of Padma Venkatraman's third novel. I was struck by the strong and unique voice and style of this book--so different from the other two. The story is beautiful and transcendent. I stayed up way past my bed time to read it all in one fell swoop. I highly recommend it for young adults and the young at heart.
Feb 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: shh, tbr-2016
Reminded me of The Running Dream. Veda's character felt a little robotic and not as full of emotions as I would've expected throughout. She lost her leg below the knee, later in the story that was present but not addressed as much as I thought it would have been.
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American author, Padma Venkatraman, has worked as chief scientist on oceanographic ships and spent time under the sea, directed a school, and lived in 5 countries. Her 3 novels, A TIME TO DANCE, ISLAND’S END and CLIMBING THE STAIRS, were released to multiple starred reviews (12 altogether), and won numerous honors and awards (e.g. ALA, IRA Notable; Booklist, Kirkus, NYPL, Yalsa BBYA; CCBC choice; ...more
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“Because friendship is about laughing when the other person is joking to make you feel better. Even if you don’t find her joke all that funny.” 10 likes
“I want to tell the nurses no scale can measure
the pain of my dreams
beyond reach.”
More quotes…