Story Contest 2018 #1 Results » Highly Commended - Sub-junior Category

James Odefemi

“Akin Learns to Dance” by James Odefemi, Nigeria, is the Highly Commended story in the sub-junior category of the first biannual Short Story Contest 2018.

Akin Learns to Dance

Akin put his name down to dance in the School Talent Show but there was one problem; he did not know how to dance. He watched people dancing on TV and he thought the steps were easy enough but when it was time to dance, everyone laughed at him. What was he doing wrong? ‘You are too young to dance those steps’ said his dance teacher. ‘You have no rhythm at all!’ laughed his uncle. ‘Your arms look funny’ giggled his sister. ‘What are you doing?’ exclaimed his mum. His Dad smiled. ‘Will you teach me how to dance please?’ asked Akin. His teacher said ‘That would not be fair to other pupils.’ ‘You will look funny all over’ giggled his sister. ‘Ask your Dad’ said his Mum. ‘Okay, I’ll teach you’ said his Dad. ‘But you will teach me old school moves’ said Akin. ‘People will laugh at me’. ‘Son, there is no such thing as old school. If you enjoy the dance and show it, you will win.’ Akin groaned. ‘We’ll start first thing Saturday.’ On Saturday morning, while the others were still asleep, Dad and Akin stood facing each other in the cleared sitting room. Dad said, ‘Before we start, there are only 3 rules. One; find the beat and stick with it. Two; do not stop dancing until the music stops no matter what. Three; smile really hard, no matter what. Let’s go!’ Dad played the music, tapped his feet to get the beat and started to dance. Akin stared. ‘Dance!’ Dad said and Akin danced. He smiled so hard he started to laugh. Dad laughed too. Soon, Mum, Uncle and Sister came out to see what the noise was all about. The music hadn’t stopped and Akin and Dad were dancing and laughing. ‘This looks like fun!’ said Sister and she started to dance too. Mum and Uncle joined in. Uncle made some fancy moves with his feet and Akin tried it. Everyone else did the same. Sister made a wriggly movement with her waist and everyone did the same. Mom did the duck walk and everyone did the same. Dad waved his hands in the air and everyone did the same. They danced and laughed until the music stopped and they cheered at the end. Dad said ‘That’s the end of the lesson. Dance like that on Monday and you will surely win.’ Akin’s smile froze on his face. What? Was that it? On Monday, Akin was petrified as he stepped onto the stage. When he heard the familiar beat, he tapped his feet, he forced himself to smile and started to dance. He moved like his uncle, he wriggled like his sister, he walked like his mum and waved his hands like his dad. He laughed. Akin won the show.

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