Felicity's Dancing Shoes

Short story collection published in 2006; author Valerie Tripp; illustrator Dan Andreasen, Susan McAliley, or Philip Hood


Felicity's lessons are now focused on dancing. Although Felicity is confident with many coordinated movements like horseback riding or climbing, she finds the dainty work of dancing difficult. It doesn't help that Annabelle continues being harshly critical of her. Despite Miss Manderly's insistence that the ability to dance lies solely in the feet (tee hee), Felicity convinces herself that she needs dancing shoes. She ruined her own by being careless with them, but she's able to borrow Nan's in exchange for teaching Nan dance steps. With the lighter shoes, Felicity finds it much easier to dance, although Nan's are a tight fit. After a few weeks, Felicity's mother finds out that she been using the shoes of her three-years-younger sister and puts a stop to it. With a heavy heart, Felicity trudges to the next dance lesson in her old, clunky shoes. But all the dancing with Nan has improved Felicity's so much that she doesn't even make a single mistake! Felicity happily recalls what Miss Manderly says: "Gracefulness is in the foot, not the shoes."

Looking Back

Like the historical segment of Felicity Learns a Lesson, this one is about the type of education an upper class girl would have had during the late 1700s in the United States. It gives some more information about the priority that dancing would have had in the southern colonies. There, knowing how to dance was very important to be properly cultured. Balls were a huge social event. By contrast, many people in the northern colonies saw dancing as highly inappropriate, shocking, or even sinful.


There's a character named Mr. Halibut. I've never heard that as a last name. There are a few entries for it as a name on Ancestry.com, and apparently a Navy ship and a submarine have been named the USS Halibut, but they were named after the fish.

While music lessons were popular for girls, instruments like the French horn and violin were discouraged. It was considered unladylike for a woman to purse her lips or stretch out her neck.

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