With all the popularity of High School Musical/Glee/American Idol and other performance-based media these days, comics have been tiptoeing around this genre. There was Siena and Mark Siegel’s To Dance; and Raina Telgemeier’s upcoming DRAMA!, due this fall. And here’s a new one from Papercutz, Dance Class: So You Think You Can Hip-Hop by Béka, aka Bertrand Escaich and Caroline Rogue. Aimed squarely at tween girls, it’s another French pick up for the publisher, and it looks pretty charming.
This January, Papercutz, dedicated to publishing great graphic novels for all ages, announces a new series for young readers. DANCE CLASS: So You think You Can Hip-Hop? delves into the world of ballet, modern dance, hip-hop and more with a canny and light-hearted depiction of the ups and downs in teen dancers’ lives.
With over 30 million children ages 6 to 12 taking dance lessons each year, dance is a popular subject, and a visual art form which translates beautifully into comics. And while graphic novels are one of the fastest-growing segments of publishing, relatively few graphic novels are specifically published for tween girls, a passionate audience of readers. This series aims to fill that gap with a story that will have kids giggling at the comic gag that punctuates each page.
The lively cast of characters includes Julie, Lucy and Alia – best friends who share the passion for dance – and their frenemy, Carla. From dance class to math class, the budding dancers live and breathe “dance.” As the girls prepare for a performance of “Sleeping Beauty,” their attention is deflected by the new hip-hop instructor KT, whom they all imagine as their personal Prince Charming.
The author, Béka, is the pseudonym for the writing team of Bertrand Escaich and Caroline Rogue. In addition to creating Dance Class, the duo write stories for several children’s comic series in France, including the hit series Soccer Maniacs and The Rugbymen. Crip is an artist with a background in applied arts. In addition to drawing children’s and educational comics, he designs posters and logos for arts and music festivals.
With plans for the second issue in the series, DANCE CLASS: Romeo and Juliets, to publish in late Spring 2012, young readers will anticipate further adventures of these plucky young dancers.
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Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.