Study Guide

Dancing on the Edge Art and Culture

By Han Nolan

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Art and Culture

In Dancing on the Edge, dance isn't just a casual activity or a hobby for Miracle, it's what really brings meaning to her life. This meaning, though, changes throughout the book. At first, Miracle seems dedicated to dance because having a special talent might somehow bring Dane back, but gradually, it becomes a way for her to assert her identity and recover from her past. We see the healing qualities of art in general, too, including music helping people through hard times and the emotional resonance of poetry. In a dark story, then, art is a constant bright spot.

Questions About Art and Culture

  1. Why don't Aunt Casey and Gigi want Miracle to dance? What exactly are they afraid of?
  2. How do her secret dance lessons give Miracle relief from her daily life? Do they add tension in any way? How does this fit with the relief?
  3. What does art eventually teach Miracle about what it means to be real?
  4. If you were going to make a playlist for Miracle's iPod, what songs would you put on it, and why?

Chew on This

The arts play an essential role in helping Miracle form the identity she didn't believe she had.

As much as the arts help Miracle find herself, they also help her form meaningful connections to other people—connections that aren't based on fear.

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