String and Dance
“String and Dance” is one of the outstanding stories of the first biannual International Short Story Contest 2018 written by Areyana Dianna Pacleb, Sri KDU Primary School, Malaysia.
String and Dance
Ruby can’t believe that she was standing right in front of New York Academy of Ballet. It was her first day in New York. She had been dreaming, imagining and waiting her whole life for this moment and it seemed surreal to be standing right in front of the door of this prestigious academy. Ruby thanked her mother for everything she had done and for some encouragement. She hugged and kissed her mother goodbye before she went in. The school was huge; big windows, long hallways, big classrooms and it’s everything she had ever dreamed of. She walked past a young boy who was playing a violin beautifully and she admired how he played but she told herself not to get distracted and went straight to the main office.
There was a tall, slim and strict looking teacher and her name was Ms Markova. She was the best dancer for 27 years but she was old and started to set up a ballet academy and one of the most brilliant ballet academies in the world. While Ms Markova was going through her papers, Ruby stared at a beautiful ballerina picture in Ms Markova’s office and she told Ms Markova that she’s beautiful. Ms Markova smiled and told Ruby that the ballerina was one of their best dancers and her first student and her name was Anna Pavlova. Ms Markova told her the schedule for her Classical Ballet and Contemporary.
After a brief discussion with Ms Markova, Ruby went back to her rented house and met her roommate, Jazmine and only her parents called her Jazmine while everyone called her Jazzy. She’s usually the fun type and liked to party all the time. The next morning, they woke up and went straight to class. They walked in and started to do some stretching. A few minutes later, a girl walked in and her name was Apple. She was perfect in every technique she did and memorised every step in seconds. Although she’s perfect her attitude is horrendous. She is so stuck up and self-centered. Jazzy hates her for being so perfect.
Finally their teacher for classical ballet came in. He was old and frail but from what Ruby heard from the seniors he’s extremely strict and fussy and to have a class with him without any preparations was like sending a lamb to be slaughtered. He broke his hips when he was a child and ever since then he’s as strong as a bull. Ruby nearly threw up in his class but Jazzy asked her to hang on and to only puke after class. Ruby was so dead tired after the first class and to make it worst, she was horrible at contemporary, which was going to start in 20 minutes. They had to quickly change their leotards before their next class started. At first, Ruby thought it was easy but when her partner had to carry her, she nearly collapsed on him. Her teacher was so fierce and said there will be no excuses next time.
Later that night, Jazzy wanted to go clubbing and Ruby followed her. They danced and Jazzy found a cute guy and soon fell in love. Ruby went home earlier than Jazzy so she had a good night sleep while Jazzy, on the other hand, only slept at 4:00am and was so tired the next day. The next morning, Ruby tried to wake Jazzy up but she wouldn’t budge. So, she went to the academy herself. Jazzy came in late for the class and got a scolding from the teacher.
The next class was Contemporary which Ruby was so weak at. The teacher gave her a stern warning and asked to practice more or else she had to see Ms Markova and she said if Jazzy was late again she too had to see Ms Markova. Jazzy didn’t take the warning seriously and continuously came late to all the classes. Ruby kept on practicing but she was still horrible at it and both of them were sent to Ms Markova. Ms Markova was quite frustrated with the both of them and said that both of them were their best dancers but they did not follow the rules of the academy. She said if they did it one more time they would be expelled.
Not far from New York there lived a young boy, a musician about Ruby’s age. He loved playing the violin. The violin that he had was given to him by his grandfather who died in 1973. He taught himself to play by the age of 10 and had been playing ever since. He worked at the train station to get money and his name was Johnnie. There were also a group of dancers who lived below his apartment. They were called the ‘5 Sensations’. They’re awesome dancers but never got a chance to dance in front of the public.
While Ruby was at the train station, she saw Johnnie and he played wonderfully and everything he played came straight from the heart. Suddenly, a group of hoodie-shirt dancers came out of the train and wanted to have a dance battle with the builders. So the builders turned on their radio and started dancing. The dancing was so energetic. The dance went for hours and hours but suddenly a man stole a wallet from a woman and she fell to the floor. Then the robber pushed Ruby and she fell to the floor. Johnnie rushed to Ruby’s side to help her up but while he was helping her, two robbers stole Johnnie’s violin and bow that his grandfather gave him and all the money he had. He was so devastated.
Then all the police officers ran towards the hoodie-shirt dancers and wanted to stop them but they were too late. Ruby wanted to help Johnnie to get his violin. She asked him to see the police officer but he did not want to. So they went to a violin store to find it but the owner said there were no violins left. Ruby asked if she could leave her number but Johnnie said that he wouldn’t help him but Ruby insisted. After that Ruby wanted to buy Johnnie a slice of pizza and while they were walking to the store, they talked and started to fall for each other.
The next day at the academy, Ruby saw a poster for string and dance competition. She wanted to join but she needed someone to play, so she asked Johnnie to play but he didn’t have any violin so Ruby got him a new violin and they practiced for hours and soon the 5 Sensations wanted to join and they welcome them .
The next day, Ruby’s mother called and said that she was able to come for the string and dance competition and Ruby was so happy. After she hung up the phone, she tried to wake Jazzy up but she still wouldn’t budge but she insisted. Jazzy was so cranky that she nearly slapped Ruby on the face. She said she was so tired and wanted to sleep but Ruby said that they would be expelled if they were late again. Ruby said Jazzy was tired because she had been going out with the same boy she met at the club and slept at 4:00am. After much persuasion, Jazzy finally woke up, got dressed and they went to the academy together. The moment they arrived, Apple said, “Wow, wow, wow! Someone finally decided to come early.” Jazzy replied, “Is it wrong to come early?”
There was only three more days till the competition day and her team was nervous but Ruby asked them to calm down and to just focus on dancing. Finally it was the day of the competition. Apple was there too with her brother Lucos and they’re quite good. Ruby’s team’s performance was about to start and Johnnie still hadn’t showed up. Ruby was scared and was hoping that people were able to watch their dance performance. Finally, a few seconds before Apple’s performance was over, Johnnie showed up and Ruby was relieved. They wished each other good luck and headed to the stage when their team’s name was announced. They all danced wholeheartedly and it was a night to remember as the crowd went crazy-screaming and clapping their hands throughout their entire dance. They’re agile yet synchronised, energetic yet graceful. In the end, Ruby and Johnnie’s team won and they were so happy. Apple was so shocked and started to throw a tantrum and scolded every member in her group for not trying hard enough and they left Apple to join Ruby’s team.