Dancing in the Dash: My Story of Empowerment, Diplomacy, and Resilience
By Lauri J. Fitz-Pegado
Published by Bold Story Press in Fall 2021
Dancing in the Dash tells the inspiring and compelling story of a woman whose trailblazing experiences have taken her around the world. Lauri Fitz-Pegado has had a remarkable life performing in the arts, embracing activism and advocacy, and working in the world of policy, politics, and diplomacy. She shares how the rigors and discipline of dance training provided ballast and grace in dealing with the challenges she faced, both professionally and personally.
With dance metaphors weaved throughout, she describes her deft navigation in spaces in which few Black women had achieved success, not fully appreciating her role in forging paths for those who followed her, until a transformative experience being introduced to speak before an audience in Abu Dhabi:
This memoir is particularly relevant today, during our national conversation reassessing our assumptions, our past, as well as our path forward. In telling her story, the author reveals her insights and observations about history and its consequences, about opportunity and obstacles, and about loss and redemption.
Lauri's Family, 1917
Capitol Ballet Company, 1973
Advance Praise for Dancing in the Dash:
Ambassador Susan E. Rice, former U.S. National Security Advisor
"With special resonance for this moment in our country’s history, Lauri, a friend of many years, shares a creative and compelling portrait of a Black woman making her mark, while handling her personal and professional lives with grace. Her story is a compelling testament to the transcendence of resolve, perseverance and resilience across generations of an American family.”
A’Lelia Bundles, Author of On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C. J. Walker
“From private dinners with revolutionaries and heads of state to marathon strategy sessions with presidents and diplomats, Lauri Fitz-Pegado walks gracefully as a citizen of the world. Bolstered by a childhood of love and privilege, her personal quest for excellence created a launching pad for a life of purpose, impact and adventure. At moments of inevitable grief and heartache, she drew sustenance from deeply cultivated friendships and her early training as a dancer. Dancing in the Dash will challenge us all to do more and will inspire young women to dream and dare to make a difference.”
Mavis Staines, Artistic Director & CEO of Canada's National Ballet School
"Lauri Fitz-Pegado shares her captivating life story with an honesty, insightfulness and humanity that make her book inspired and inspiring. Truly a 'page-turner' from start to finish."
Prof. Dr. Miomir Zuzul, Founder of Dubrovnik International University, Former Ambassador of Croatia to the United Nations and the United States, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Croatia
“Secretary Ron Brown was a singularly impressive figure, and in his time at the Commerce Department gathered the most remarkable, enthusiastic, and diverse group of young colleagues I ever had the pleasure of meeting in my time as Ambassador. Lauri was not just a part, but a key formal and informal leader of this group. I am so pleased that she has decided to present this collection of moments and memories from her life and career, not only because it is a record of history, but because it is a hugely enjoyable work of literature. I hope that through the book she will continue to inspire, entertain, and teach, as she has done all her life.”
"This memoir is a love letter about family and friendship; about love and loss; and, about the work needed to keep your sanity when things around you fall apart. At times, it can be easy to push aside our history, to bury the past in small, neat packages, put away and forgotten, like ancient history. We file away our memories, joyful and painful, and seldom bring them out to scrutinize and assess. There are reasons for this, some driven by unaddressed anxiety, and some by our need to protect the little bits of joy that appear like the spring flowers on the bushes around our homes. Sometimes, however, in burying those tiny packages, we inadvertently drop one like a seed into soil, and give it a moist place to grow. We’ve pressed the soil firmly, hoping, as we bury it, we ensure it never again sees the light of day. While hoping to leave that thing in the past, we’ve actually placed it into fertile soil from which a growing vine peeks out and demands notice. Memoirs give us the opportunity to give our memories their due; to unpack and sort through the good and the ugly, the sweet and the savory. In doing so, maybe we come to terms with it all, and find acceptance.”
--Excerpt from Foreword by Karen Leslie Cox, Washington, D.C.