Armida Nagy Rose’s Daughters of the Dance is a thought-provoking saga of a Dutch community of Sephardic Jews living in the Leeward Antilles during the 20th century.
Recent release, Daughters of the Dance: A Mosaic of Seek & Find, from Page Publishing and author Armida Nagy Rose, presents a passionate mix of spiritual dance, sensuality, and sexuality as forces that confound the lives of powerful men who connect with the “foreign” women dancers. With a solid grasp of history, the novel develops its characters’ points of view amidst personal tragedy and loving from a distance. Back cover image
Who are the “daughters of the dance” and why do the “daughters” arouse deep-rooted desires? Do not be misled by the title, for it is a dare that deliberately withholds information and explanations for the disconcerting nature of the characters. “The characters seem to waste creative energy in pursuing sexual interests and desires when, in fact, sexuality can become so much more. Ultimately, creativity is sexual but can be confused by the most primal passions, such as anger, contempt, fear, happiness, sadness, and trust.”
Dealing with adult and controversial themes, Daughters of the Dance: A Mosaic of Seek & Find, is a moving account of three generations of two families—the women, artistes who master the craft of danse du ventre, and the high-powered brothers driven by oil, wealth, war, trade, religious beliefs, and the testing of sexual boundaries. It is a story of uncharted survival amidst the vicissitudes of three wars in continental Europe during the first half of the twentieth century and their inevitable expansion to the Western Hemisphere, especially the Netherlands Antilles and its Sephardic-Ladino community of Curaçao. Each character—the women and the men—is a seeker. In a way, Rumi, the Persian Sufi philosopher and poet, pointed the way, “What you seek is seeking you.” In a sense, the novel presents the mysterious in an otherwise real-world setting, interweaving cross-cultural nuances as they play out in personal relationships on the world stage.
The backdrop of the novel is set against the Third Reich’s far-reaching pogrom in Spain and in the Netherlands. The narrative delves into the theology of sexuality, exposing the suppression of wise women and the secular intelligentsia by conservative religious fervor.
The “daughters of the dance” is a metaphor for individuals who use dance to enhance a spiritual sense of being. Ayana, the introductory character, expresses a dominant human condition—the pain of sadness, guilt, and shame—and asks, “How does one survive without love?” Ayana learns how to endure through dance. In the words of Rumi, “Whosoever knows the power of dance, dwells in God” (i.e., ‘God,’ a non-reified Presence). “At a deeper level, the characters encounter lo real maravilloso Americano (magic realism) in raw, latent, and ever-present states of being in elegant timelessness. In so doing, Ayana discovers the primordial self—self-arising, unborn, manifested, and unfiltered.”
The novel invites the reader to grasp the mystery that lies behind each personality. Although words and pictographs fail to fully explain experience, the novel challenges readers to seek out the experience of beauty and joy among the perils of unrest that may either fester or heal. To quote Rumi again, “Dance when you are perfectly free and enjoy each step along the way.” “Happy is the culture that can dance, especially when the dancer also knows to be ‘perfectly free’.”
The author, Armida Nagy Rose, is an American born in the Republic of Panama and raised in the Panama Canal Zone. The historical novel, with its spellbinding infusion of magic realism, is enriched by the author’s experience as a Tibetan Buddhist practitioner, dancer, painter, and writer. Retired after a thirty-year career in the federal government as an analyst and regulatory writer, Armida currently lives in central Florida with a spouse and two terriers. The author blogs on the novel at [..], especially commentary on the dance and music that accompanies the narrative.
Published by New York City-based Page Publishing, Armida Nagy Rose’s book is an artfully passionate, epic-like tale that never loses its intimacy.
Readers who wish to experience this compelling work can purchase Daughters of the Dance: A Mosaic of Seek & Find at bookstores everywhere, or online at the Apple iTunes store, Amazon, Google Play, or Barnes and Noble.
About Page Publishing
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