Who: April & Daniela. What: (Re)introducing April to ballet. When: August 5th, afternoon. Where: Marigold Arts Center. Rating: Low. Status: Complete.
When you think of a ballerina, what do you picture?
“Okay, everyone, great job today!” Dani congratulated as her dance students began to dispersed. It had been a good session. Sometimes the children could get a bit distracted but today they were on their A-game. They were attentive and receptive, allowing the lesson to move along uninterrupted. Those days were always a blessing.
After conversing with an excitable student, Dani made her way over to April. She had seen the young woman come in with Caitlyn but hadn’t gotten the chance to do more than give her a welcoming wave. “April, I’m glad you came,” she greeted with a bright smile. “How have you been?”
April had hung off to the side, watching intently as Dani taught the students. She was enthralled by the whole thing, and had a hard time staying still. Running a hand back through her blonde strands, she inadvertently turned them to a strawberry blonde hue in her excitement.
When the class was over, she greeted Dani with a smile and returned the wave. “Hi! That was so good! I’m good, how are you?”
Dani let out a chuckle, amused by her excitement. “Well thank you. The kids were definitely on point today. I’m very proud of them.” She smiled and waved at one of the children as they scurried alongside their parents toward the door. “And I’ve been doing well. Keeping myself busy. I like your hair,” she pointed out, noticing the reddish hue some of the strands had taken.
April nodded in excitement. “They looked like they were having so much fun, I was a little jealous.” She grinned and then blinked in confusion at the comment. Pulling a few strands out of her hair out to see, she made a face at the different colors. “Oops, that was an accident!”
"It definitely can be a lot of fun. I have classes for adult learners as well if you were interested." It was Dani's turn to blink in confusion. How could April's hair change color by accident? Her abilities, she quickly guessed. Whatever those were. She didn't make it a habit to pry. "Well I think we could say it's a happy accident," she replied with a grin. "So did you want to do a little dancing now? I can give you a preview to see if you'd be interested in taking the classes."
“I would love that!” April hesitated a moment, not wanting to leaving Caitlyn waiting for her. But then she spotted Laura off to the side, ready to take Caitlyn home if she didn’t want to hang out. Apri gave them a wave and a smile, indicating that she planned to stay behind for a bit. Turning her attention back to Dani, she beamed. “Do you have time now? I don’t want to be a bother!”
“I do.” Dani nodded confirmation. “And no bother at all.” She scanned the room, noticing a few stragglers but finding it mostly empty. “Why don’t we start with the basic steps,” she suggested. “There are five of them. I’m sure you remember the students doing them.” Each lesson started with a refresher of the basic positions. “Position One.” Straightening her legs, Dani placed her heels together with her toes pointed out. “Why don’t you try?”
April was glad that Dani had the time to work with her. She was excited to learn something new, but a tiny part of her hoped that maybe she was the dancer Dani had met before. As good natured as she was, April secretly worried what would happen to her if she never remembered who she really was.
Focusing on the present moment, she watched Dani carefully and then easily replicated the movement. “Like this?”
“Yes, exactly that.” She was impressed how easily April was able to mimic the position despite never doing it before. It usually took a first timer a few moments to get their feet properly settled so it was a straight line from toe to toe as It wasn’t the most natural of positions. April seemed to have no trouble however. “There are four more positions. I’ll demonstrate them then we can go through them together after.” She then proceeded to demonstrate the remaining positions, starting first with position one and ending with position five. “Why don’t you try?”
This time, instead of waiting to see Dani demonstrate them, April was able to do the positions simultaneously with her as she describes them. She didn’t even seem to realize that she was doing it, it came so naturally to her. Once Dani finished, April did each of the positions again, flawlessly. Still, she looked to the woman for approval. “How was that?”
Her brows rose in surprise. “That was great. Perfect even.” Was this really her first time doing any sort of ballet? The fact she could mimic her movements flawless while she was demonstrating for the first time made her think otherwise. Maybe she wasn’t so foolish to be reminded of the dancer she had met long ago. She never did follow up on the company after seeing their performance so maybe…
“You seem to have those down. Very impressive. How about we do some quick stretches on the bar and then try for some center movements?" Dani had a feeling that April would prove able to do those beginner movements as well with flawless precision but she didn’t want to say her theory in fear of accidentally discouraging the blonde if that didn’t end up being the case.
She showed her to the bar, having April stand facing her to she could mirror her movements. “We start with first position and we spread our legs, then down, up,” she began, giving voice to each drip, leg and arm stretch.
April was pleased that Dani seemed to be happy with her ability so far. Nodding, she obediently moved to the barre and copied the movements as Dani explained them. Again, she picked it up easily, her form and position as close to perfect as possible without much effort on her part. It felt good and familiar, but April was afraid to say anything out loud in case she was actually doing terribly and Dani was just being nice. “Okay… is this easy stuff or hard stuff?”
It appeared her hunch had been correct. “These? Easy stuff,” she answered as she stepped away from the bar. “And you’re doing amazingly well at them.” Dani took a moment to consider her next step. She could continue to demonstrate and have April repeat or she could try to gauge just how advanced she really was. “So April, I’m curious. When you think of a ballerina, what do you picture? Are there movements you imagine?”
April made a face, considering the question. No one had ever asked her something like that before, and the answer that popped into her mind surprised her. “I picture myself. Like this…” She decided to just go with it, and began to dance, moving to the music she heard in her mind, performing what appeared to be choreography that went along to the song. She had trouble with some of the steps, since she was just outfitted in tennis shoes which felt like they didn’t fit what she was trying to do with her feet. When she finished, she looked to Dani with a little frown. “Did that look silly?”
Dani looked on in awe. The movements, the form, these were all things that an advanced dancer possessed, not a beginner that, for all she knew, never once had a lesson. “Not at all,” she assured her with a smile and a shake of her head. “In fact that was, well, amazing.” April may not remember being a dancer but there was no doubt in her mind that the blond had been one. Was she the woman that she had been reminded of? That she wasn’t sure. “You must have had training. Extensive to have such good muscle memory.” Because that’s what it was, right? It had to be.
April smiled and shrugged. “You think so? I don’t know for sure. But I know I like it a lot. I haven’t danced since I woke up. I like it, it feels like home.” She knew that probably didn’t make sense, but that was the best way she could describe it.
“I can’t say I really know either,” she confessed. It was all just speculation. Dani believed April must have been a dancer before based off her knowledge of the profession but that didn’t necessarily mean she was correct. She had no true evidence to base her assumptions on. This was complicated. “Feels like home… I understand that feeling well.”
April nodded a little and bit her bottom lip. “Do you think I could come here and dance some more sometime? I really like it, but I don’t know anyone else who dances. Well, except Caitlyn!” She thought of the little girl as a good friend, even though other people probably thought it was odd. It just made sense to her, the girl accepted and seemed to understand her in a way that other people hadn’t yet.
Daniela brightened. “Of course! You’re always welcome to come by to dance whenever you’d like.” Her eyes landed on the pair of tennis shoes April was sporting. “Though you’ll need better shoes or you’ll trip yourself up.” She pondered a moment. “I think I should be able to get you a pair of slippers.” A smile. ”So come by often, okay?”
April looked down to her feet and then back to Dani with a grin. “Really? Are you sure? I don’t want to be a problem. But yes, I would like to come back a lot, if that’s really okay.” She bounced a little on her heels in excitement.
"Not a problem at all," she assured with a wave of her hand. "Just give me your shoe size and I'll work on getting them. It might take a bit but you can use socks until then." Supplying a pair of decent slippers would likely personally cost her since it would be for one person as opposed to center wide - she managed to get the bass guitar without much difficulty specifically because it was communal - but she was fine with that. If it gave April something to enjoy and a possible connection to her past Dani was happy to provide.