Study Guide

Susan in Dancing on the Edge

By Han Nolan

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Susan is Miracle's teacher in her secret dance lessons Granddaddy Opal signs her up for while she's in Georgia. She's a free spirit whose incredible ability to bust a move inspires Miracle to awaken her desire to learn:

Everything Susan did, I wanted to do […] The rest of the class sounded like a herd of elephants stampeding after her, but I knew I would be like her. I wanted to be soft and light, and leap and spin just like her. (4.70)

Aside from being a great dancer, though, Susan also knows how to handle Miracle in a delicate and sensitive way, unlike other authority figures in Miracle's life, such as her teachers. When she notices Miracle hurling herself at the walls during improvisation class, for example, she doesn't tell her that she's disturbing or weird—instead, she deals with the situation quietly and with encouragement:

Susan called me out of the room. She placed her arm around my shoulder. She said she admired my expressive dances, but she worried I might hurt myself. (6.53)

If only all of Miracle's teachers could be so respectful… We get the feeling that Susan is primo mentor material for Miracle, but alas, their time together is cut short. Still, Susan gives Miracle glimpses at a different sort of life, which is a pretty powerful part to play, no matter how brief.

Susan in Dancing on the Edge Study Group

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