Three recent books offer various views of the joys and challenges of dance.
Dancers Among Us: A Celebration of Joy in the Everyday (Workman) by Jordan Matter, a photographer, is a sparkling collection of his photos of dancers in all sorts of unlikely settings, from seashores to subway platforms. If they don't make you smile, check your pulse.
The Painted Girls (Riverhead) by Cathy Marie Buchanan is a moving historical novel about two poverty-stricken young sisters in Belle Epoque Paris, one of whom ends up immortalized as Edgar Degas' sculpture Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen.
Tango Nuevo (University Press of Florida) by Carolyn Merritt is an anthropologist's look at the history of the tango as well as the explosion of new interest in the sensual, demanding dance in Buenos Aires — and in the United States.
Colette Bancroft, Times book editor