Review by Frank Plowright
The Dance Class writing credit for Béka is a pseudonym for the writing partnership of Bertrand Escaich and Caroline Roque, and they’re so keen on African dance that their Bdgest biography actually mentions it. It’s only natural, then, that their writing a series about a dance class would incorporate African dance at some stage, and this third volume introduces the African dance teacher Fatou. She’s seen on Crip’s sample art, accompanied by the gloriously stoned looking drummer Sam, who sadly doesn’t become a series regular.
Unlike other books in the series, the African dance is a theme that doesn’t lead up to a closing show, but the compensation is in introducing a new theme to be mined for jokes. Also expanded are various aspects of the three main characters’ family lives. Alia’s brother Leo, hip hop enthusiast, is introduced, Julie’s little sister Capucine stars in a couple of strips, and we learn that Lucie parents are divorced and have a combative relationship. Lucie’s treatment has already been addressed in an editorial by Jim Salicrup in Romeos and Juliet after comments about her presentation. Although far from obese, she’s drawn as having a fuller figure than her fellow super-thin dance class colleagues, shown in earlier volumes to be keen on cakes and sweets, and here concerned about losing weight. Is this a form of fat shaming? That would be an extreme view, regarding what’s possibly insensitive at times, but is the best option not to make any comments, to only show super-thin girls or to incorporate other body types in what’s established as a strenuous dance classes?
It’s noticeable that the writers are now more comfortable with the cast, and many more strips feature moments of their lives outside the dance classes, some incorporating near-poignant moments. Dance Class is a series developing nicely with always fantastic art from Crip. A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Paris is next, while this volume is also gathered as part of Dance Class 3 in 1.