“Dancing was about learning to disassociate,” the narrator of Lola Lafon’s 2022 novel Reeling informs us early on. “Feet like daggers, wrists like ribbons. Power and languor. Smiling despite persistent pain, smiling despite nausea.” This declaration, only five or so pages in, strikes as piercingly as the daggers Lafon imagines for feet. What in this compulsion towards violence, I wondered, is so imperative when telling a story about dance? Scarcely a narrative arises that is not characterized by gruesome extremes. Black Swan, with its body horror, comes to mind, as does Gelsey Kirkland’s 1986 memoir Dancing on My Grave, infamous for its depiction of drug abuse and eating disorders.