341N: 80s/90s dance book: poor teenage girl (Sal?) at local dance school

I am looking for a book I read years ago, probably in the mid-nineties. It was about a teenager who went to a dance school and I think her name was Sal. Her family was quite poor so they often worried about money. I think she stayed at home with her parents for a while but they lived quite a long way from the school so she had to move closer, and they had an argument about that. Her parents weren’t keen on her going to the school anyway: maybe they wanted her to get a 'sensible job'.
The dance style was contemporary or ballet. I don't know about the location except that it was the UK or USA.  It was set in the present day when it was written, but that would have been in the 80s or 90s.

I remember very little of the story. At one point she realised she wasn't as supple as some of the other students so she stayed behind to do extra training. At the very end there is a show by the students and she was doing a solo. She got on stage and decided to abandon the dance she'd planned and just improvise with how the music make her feel. At the end she felt it hadn't gone very well but then got loads of applause.

I think there was a romance element as well with another music student, although it wasn't just a romance tale. I've searched through heaps of lists of young adult dance books and on Google Books but I can't seem to find it.

‘Say Goodnight, Gracie’ by Julie Reece Deaver was suggested on another forum, but it’s not that. The dance aspect is central to the story I’m looking for, whereas it’s just a supporting story in ‘Say Goodnight, Gracie’.

Jean Ure as an author was suggested as well, but most of her books seem to be for slightly younger readers.

I don't think this was amazing literary writing or anything, but for some reason I remember this book and would love to find it again.

8 thoughts on “341N: 80s/90s dance book: poor teenage girl (Sal?) at local dance school

  1. Kathi Machle

    Could this be “Ballet Dance for Two” by Jean Ure? Some of the details match, but the girl’s name is Colleen.

  2. Naomi

    Sorry, Kathi, I’ve only just seen your reply. I’m not sure, but I’ll check it out. I’m not entirely sure on main character’s name – it could have been anything really. Thank you for your suggestion.

  3. Kelly w

    The first thing that came to mind was Come a Stranger by Cynthia Voigt…but although it’s not a romance, Relationships are a large part of the novel. But so is dance, so it might be worth checking out.

  4. Naomi

    Oh, I love Come A Stranger – in fact I’ve recently bought the whole Tillerman series. It’s not that one I’m looking for though. Thank you for your reply anyway.

  5. Naomi

    Ah, sorry, Marisa, I thought I had left a reply to this ages ago! I don’t think it’s Maybe Next Year, because the dance in my book was not purely ballet. I might see if I can get a copy to check though, as there don’t seem to be many reveiws online. Thank you.


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