Wandance by Coffee
Stories centering dance have a long history in manga especially when it comes to ballet, but Wandance takes us out of the formal theater and into the world of student led dance troupes highlighting hip-hop, house, breaking, and other styles and fusions of street dancing.
During his high school club fair, Kabo ignores the dance club presentation as it reminds him of an embarrassing episode in middle school. Later when he sees fellow 1st year student Wanda dancing by herself on the school grounds, the joy of dancing hits him. As Kabo and Wanda become friends, they realize neither of them is always comfortable communicating verbally. But dancing is a way to communicate, too.
The student led dance club is filled with dancers of all levels, but the best of the best are aiming to compete with other schools. Kabo is a novice and sticks out due to his tall stature and being one of the few (and currently only regularly attending) guys in the group. However, through a supportive club president, Wanda’s presence and partnership, and Kabo’s own self-determination he soon leaves behind his self-consciousness and embraces his love for dance.
Kabo is an earnest and sweet person so watching him gain self-confidence is really rewarding. I quickly became invested in Kabo and Wanda’s growth as dancers and their budding romance. The ease they feel with one another and their deep connection is beautifully depicted.
Manga-ka Coffee uses a fresh, frenetic line style that gives movement, energy, and a fast pace to the dance sequences. Plus, Wandance integrates plenty of dance theory, ways of approaching dance, and instructional sections into the story in a way that feels natural and helps you see each character more clearly. All of this for someone like me with zero dance knowledge has been illuminating.
Wandance is part coming-of-age manga and part sports manga, and doing both types of stories justice!