Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Part 2 : Dancing Days

6 months ago...

"Hope you all had a wonderful spring break..." the class erupted into another over excited wave of chatter making Ms D'Sousa, our Spanish dance teacher raise her voice to get our attention, her shrill high pitched flowery voiced cut through us like ice when she shouted "SIIIILLLLEEEEENNNCCCEEEEEE!".  The class immediately fell silent "Right now that I have your attention..." her eyes searched the room to make sure all eyes were on her and not wondering off again"... We have a new addition to our class this year, late entry I know but I assure you guys he is definitely up to the mark... sweets come in, say hi to the class" looking around the doorway she led a well built guy into the room.

 My jaws dropped, in fact the jaws of half the room dropped at the same time as his head lifted and he smiled timidly at everyone. Wow was all I could think at that point, I was at a loss for words, which for me was definitely a strange thing. An Italian god just walked into my class and smiled at me, okay so it wasn't aimed solely for me but I could dream right. The slight dimples in his cheeks made you think of baby cheeks, the type you just want to eat up because they're so cute. His black attire, common for all dancers did wonders for his physique as they accentuated each muscle they were trying to hide underneath and then there was those eyes... *sigh* blue eyes, a mixture of the deep blue ocean the morning blue sky, they were both yet neither, they seemed to change shades almost instantly when he looked up, like the look of us suddenly gave him some sort of confidence boost and his eyes were now dancing with the delight. The dimples got deeper high lighting the small beauty spot on his cheek which I was certain had to be placed by god to ward off any bad vibes, Heck this guy needed all the protecting he could get I realised as my eyes quickly scanned the looks on people's faces'. The girl were literally devouring him with just their eyes, I looked back at the Italian guy and I think I saw him blush, or was that the heat again? I actually chuckled when I realised what my mind was rambling on about, here was a new foreign student who would have difficulty enough settling in considering he was joining us so late in the academic year and here I was scrutinizing his every 'aspect'.

A deep husky voice cut through my random muddle of thoughts "Hi I'm Armaan Malik" his voice did wonders to my ears, the tingle it sent down my spine was uncharacteristically strange for this time of year, considering we were fast approaching summer time, but I shrugged it off to the air con playing with my senses again. "Armaan Malik" the words seemed to roll off my tongue like a magical spell, Armaan as in desire? It hit me then that this Italian guy wasn't Italian... he was Asian, a native like myself ha-ha but his accent nor his appearance didn't give away which part of Asia. Before I could drift into another 'random babbling session' Ms D'Sousas' voice cut through them.

Ms D: "Right chicken's" (this was one of numerous names she had for her student "you can all get to know Armaan better later, but I firstly need to hand out your first production assignment... and before you all start moaning that you've just come back and this is unfair blah blah... the sooner you learn about your assignment the sooner you can start working on them... and mind you I am expecting a whole lot better from you all this term then the last production… is that clear… Maria!"

Maria immediately stopped texting and looked up at Ms D'Sousa knowing she was well and truly 'busted'. Gulping Maria walked up to the front of the class and dropped her mobile in the metal rusted bucket... this was where anything that was forbidden by Ms D'Sousa remained for the remainder of the year if it were found in her class… and mobile phones just happened to be top of that list.

Ms D: "Anyone else wants to part from their precious toys?" she walked around with the bucket scrutinizing everyone making sure no-one even thought of breaking the rules of her classroom again. "Right seeing as you all know finally seemed prepared to get started... this term you will be breaking into smaller teams then you're used to.... this piece is going to be an adaptation by yourselves narrating the story of Pride & Prejudice, and you will perform this as a ballet. I hope you are all familiar with the famous Jane Austen piece, if not may I suggest you go and brush up on your literature and read a book, heaven's sake it won't kill you".

Walking back to her table she picked up her famous black file, which was now hardly black at all, the years of usage really had taken its toll on it, but Ms D'Sousa seemed reluctant to part from it and replace it, taking a sheet, something she was apparently looking for she proceeded with calling out the teams we would be working in, as always James and I were teamed together but to our misfortune we were stuck with Maria as well... the girl who was constantly talking in one form or another... if she could text for the whole of England then she could definitely talk for the entire UK if not world!

But that wasn't the only surprise she had in stock for us, apparently having Maria wasn't enough of a punishment but she wanted to add the new guy in... "Armaan you will be joining this group also, I'm certain the guys will make you feel vey welcome here".

Having blabber mouth wasn't enough; I know had the new guy in my group, who knew if he could even dance? I could see though that wasn't the only problem I was going to have, every girl in the room was looking at me with daggers at that second… all apart from Maria who seemed elated by the idea even more.

Grumbling under my breath I caught James' eyes, he was obviously more distraught about this then me but apparently my million miles per hour mumbling had been heard by him because he was now trying miserably to hide his amusement and chuckle.

Mrs D: "James! Can you please share with the class what you think is so amusing" narrowing her eyes at him Mrs D'Sousa tapped her right foot impatiently with her arms folded tight across her chest, and her lips pursed tightly together, for instance she looked like an angry Violet from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

James was dumbstruck, never had he been on the receiving end of one of Mrs D'Sousa's 'looks'... and the look's only ever spelled trouble.

Mrs D: "Seeing as you don't seem to want to share the joke with us then I suggest your improper behaviour will just have to cost you and your group. For this assignment your team with fuse ballet with another modern dance and present it to the entire school".

"But... but... but Mrs..." I stuttered unable to get the words out, what I really wanted to do was scream at the top of my voice "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO" in the most dramatic tone ever just to get my point across but my stuttering was interrupted

Mrs D: "There will be no 'buts' in this matter Ms Gupta"

The class broke into their groups as some started to brainstorm their ideas while others continued their incomplete conversations about Spring break.

"Hi, I'm Armaan'

The class broke into their groups as some started to brainstorm their ideas while others continued their snicker cost us such a huge punishment

"Sorry?" Armaan looked at me more intently trying to make out if I was a mute or something. Embarrassed at thinking my approach was a bit unfriendly I tried to cover up opening my mouth to say something but of course Maria had to butt in at that exact moment

"Hi I'm Maria and oh my god you're so cute! Are you European or something, because I'm telling you have the most amazing complexion ever, definitely Italian or something... you know I once had a cousin who was from Italy, well not really a native Italian like yourself of  course but she moved out there you see and she had this most amazing tan all year round... I always wanted to move to Europe, Europe has the most amazing fashion stores and..." Maria's chatter continued for a while, as everyone else in the group was just amazed to see how much the girl could talk without taking a breath

I wondered then if her writing was the same, did she ever use a comma or full stop… or were her sentences as jumbled together as her speech was

Finally seeing her taking a moment to pause Armaan burst out laughing, obviously he too had never seen anyone as mad as Maria before neither.

By the end of the day though we had managed to all mingle quiet well, Armaan didn't seem to be a complete lost case, in fact his dancing was quiet extraordinary, even James who classes himself the world's greatest male dancer agreed Armaan was good so opted to have Armaan play the lead role in the dance. Maria unfortunately proved her dancing skills were as fumbled as her words and was falling over her own feet every second move.  So it was agreed I would play Elizabeth and across Armaan was my Darcy.

Dance practice over the next few weeks were intense; Maria was being given extra classes on how to dance by James while Armaan and I were left to figure out our solo scenes together, we all had one aim and that was not to make a complete embarrassment of ourselves in front of the entire school. Armaan and I had grown close during our little private sessions, I learnt he wasn't Italian; he was a native Indian like myself but had moved to Europe at a young age because of some story with his parents. He proved to be an excellent dancer, even had me out manoeuvred on a few occasions but he was still slightly hesitant with me compared to the other guys in the group.

James: "Ritz you will start with performing Fouette en Tournant, Armaan you will then proceed to lift her into your arms while Ridz performs an Attitude en pointe. Remember guys this dance will show how the two confused lovers will battle out their feud with their dance and by the end we want to show the audience how they have both been defeated by their own ego's and misconceptions of each other and are lifted into a realisation away from the materialistic world".

NB: So sorry guys for interrupting this story midway but as I know nothing about ballet the details here are likely to be very confusing to all so I have some images which will help you understand the ballet jargon better than I could even explain them...">

This guys is the Fouette en Tournant

And this is the Attitude en pointe

I performed my Fouette's with perfection when Armaan proceeded to lift me up, lifting me off the floor slightly I felt him shudder a bit as his hands shook at my waist, I wasn't that heavy I was certain of it, in fact Jimbo had never had a problem with lifting me up during our previous performances so why was Armaan who seemed to be twice as strong as Jimbo having difficulty with my weight.

Giving him a peculiar look I made him put me down, something just wasn't right... James and I showed him the move a few times but Armaan seemed to become hesitant every time it came to lifting me up or touching more than just my hands. Deciding to keep tight lipped about my frustrations and not embarrass Armaan in front of everyone I just ended practice early. It was difficult enough having to worry about the performance which was now only days away from being shown to the entire school, here Armaan was having difficulties with a simple lift!

Following me out of the practice hall Armaan obviously felt he needed to justify himself. Listening to his footsteps behind me I waited for some sort of explanation but when none came it only infuriated me further.

"What is your problem?" I demanded, "Why are you so awkward around me? Have you any idea how long we have to the show and here you are stammering over a few measly steps? What is it? Am I too fat for you? Are you scared you'll drop me? Are you frightened I may end up hurting you?" bewildered by what the reason may have been I started coming out with the most random suggestions.

Apparently my randomness was amusing, because the next second Armaan was in fits laughing like mad. It started off as a small chuckle but when my eyebrows shot up questioningly it turned into a fully fledged belly holding, floor rolling, tears forming contagious laughter which I found myself imitating a few seconds later.

That day was the ice breaker I guess, because after that every practice went better then the last, all our turns, and jumps, sways and steps went flawlessly, and night of the show we were greeted with standing ovations.


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