From Dunce to Dancer
The bell rang and everyone groaned. The group of faeries began packing up their books, as their teacher made a new announcement. “As you all know, this is the start of the new semester, and we all know what that means!”
“A chance for us not to fail out of school?” a dark faerie asked, before giggling to her friends.
“Try again,” the teacher said, shaking her head.
“We’re starting another elective,” a water faerie said, looking up from her notes and pushing her hair out of her face.
“Correct,” the teacher said. “Actually, this elective involves the water faeries separating from the other faeries.”
“What’s the elective?” a fire faerie asked, flipping her hair. That was Amber, and she was the most popular, and the cruelest faerie in school. Even some of the dark faeries were scared of her.
“Dance class,” the teacher said. “Water faeries, you’ll actually go over to the rivers near the healing springs and the rainbow fountain for synchronized swimming, but the rest of you will be taking dance lessons right here at the academy.”
“How come?” a faerie ventured.
“You’ll find out,” the teacher said, dismissing any further questions. “Now your class is in room 213. Water faeries, there’s a teacher outside waiting for you. Have a nice day.”
Everyone grumbled as they exited. Dancing? What was the point of dancing anyhow? The thing about electives at Mystic Academy was that electives took up half the school day. The first part of the day was dedicated to basic subjects like math and history, but the entire second part was for the elective. Students were only given homework for the second elective, which made sense last semester when faeries mastered their element, or chose a career like teacher, or something that didn’t require a mastery of their element.
One faerie in particular seemed particularly down over this new class. Her name was East, but she preferred the name Estelle, because it sounded like a real name. She had three other sisters, North, South, and West. Stupid names for air faeries, but she and her sisters had endured it.
Dancing. Estelle shuddered. She had never tried dancing, but then again, she had never tried a lot of things, for fear she would fail. Out of all her sisters, Estelle had been the shyest, the quickest to find fault in herself.
Suddenly, the young air faerie was surrounded by fire faeries. “Hey Estelle,” Amber said, bumping the air faerie. Estelle winced; the fire faerie’s skin and burned her. “Ready to eat the dance floor, because you’re about to get burned.”
Estelle said nothing, but a bright blush spread across her cheeks.
“Silly Estelle, who always fell, and will not tell, if we put her under our spell,” the fire faeries chanted as Amber laughed.
Suddenly, a hand wrapped around Estelle’s wrist and she was yanked out of the crowd. Estelle found herself standing behind an earth faerie, who was far taller, and much prettier. She had perfectly even tan skin, long vibrant brown hair, sharp green eyes.
“Stop bugging her,” the earth faerie said. “Or is your social life so dull you have to pick on other faeries?”
Amber’s friends laughed, but when Amber began glowing out of anger, they suddenly stopped. “Wow, Kaylee, starting to act all mother earthy already? I see you’ve already picked your charity case.”
“Why don’t you go light a candle,” Kaylee retorted. “Because unless you’re a portable heater or the sun, there’s not much you can do for Neopia.” With that, Kaylee pulled Estelle away as the two began hearing Amber vent to her friends.
“Amber’s a pain,” Kaylee said, as the two walked into the changing room. The two tucked by their wings; otherwise the wings would bump the other faeries grabbing their new dance uniforms and going into the changing rooms.
“Thanks for the help,” Estelle said quietly, spotting the brown package with her name on it before grabbing it, and heading into a changing room.
In the changing room, Estelle blocked out the noise of faerie chatter, and closed her eyes, letting the softest of all breezes flow over her. The heat on her cheeks faded, but her arm still hurt. She pulled off her long sleeve baggy dress, noticing how her left sleeve was scorched. She examined her left arm and winced; there was a prominent red mark that was swelling.
She grabbed her bag and rummaged through it, grabbing a flask. Estelle uncorked it, and poured the contents on her arm. It shone for a moment, and then healed. Breathing a sigh of relief, she unwrapped her uniform. It was the palest of blues, a leotard, with a black skirt and dark blue tights, with white ballet shoes. She pulled back her white blonde hair into a loose bun, packed her clothes into her backpack, and hung it in her changing room before exiting.
Everyone else was in the dance studio, a room a fourth the size of a football field. They all looked when she walked in, but she quickly blushed before sitting in the back.
“Ms. Estelle?” the teacher asked. “Please stand up.”
Still blushing, she stood up, looking down to the floor.
“Ms. Estelle, why were you late?” the teacher asked.
Don’t be a coward, she chanted to herself. Stand up for yourself.
She looked up, and felt a slight relief. The teacher was an air faerie too. “I was taking medicine for an injury. I had a serious burn, but it’s pretty much gone now. See?” She turned to show the almost gone red mark. There was a quiet gasp, and both Estelle and the teacher turned and saw Amber looking shocked.
The teacher narrowed her eyes. “Ms. Amber, I think you and Ms. Estelle have just volunteered to be the first dancers. By the way, class, my name is Madame Dubove, and this may be the toughest class in your life.”
Amber got up and flounced to the front of the room. Estelle walked over quietly, internally slapping herself for getting caught up in such a mess.
“Alright girls, watch me.” Madame Dubove twirled, and then followed that with three other dance moves, that looked far too complicated for a beginner. Amber looked scared for a second, but then hid the fear with competitiveness.
“Is that all?” Amber asked, placing her hands on her hips.
“That’s all,” the teacher said, looking amused. “Why don’t you go first?”
“Ok,” Amber said, shrugging, and began. She messed up in places, and did wrong moves, but for a beginner, she was pretty good. Estelle was going to die of embarrassment.
“Class, as you can see, Amber is an exceptional beginner. Fire moves when it burns, when it is angry, or full of emotion. Let’s see about air.”
Estelle twirled and repeating the moves, her eyes closed, until she finished, and opened her eyes, afraid of failure. But when she opened them, people looked, awestruck. Kaylee had the biggest smile on her face. Amber looked surprised.
Madame Dubove began clapping. “The element of air, ladies,” she said, as a breeze blew by. “Air faeries are the best dancers, they dance on air. Air can mimic any movement, so if a faerie has mastered the element, they have mastered dance. Though, Miss Estelle seems to be exceptionally good. Congratulations.”
Estelle had never been happier.
“The point of this dance class is to master the art of flying, and to master your emotions. Faeries are born with grace, but not with the art to master it. Every faerie takes this class, and I promise you, when you are done with this semester, you will have changed. Partner up, work on mastering this dance.”
Kaylee grabbed Estelle and the two retreated to one of the corners. “You were amazing!” Kaylee said smiling. “I’ve never seen anyone dance like you, not even the air faeries during the festival.” She paused. “How’s your arm?”
“Better. I always carry some water from the healing springs just in case.”
“Oh good, I had some herbs for you just in case. But anyways, let's dance. Will you help me?”
“Sure,” Estelle said. She repeated the moves, slowly. Kaylee nodded, then started with the twirl, but her moves with stiff and awkward.
“Wait,” Estelle said, tapping her shoulder. Kaylee smiled, but looked sad.
“I know, I’m terrible.” Kaylee frowned.
“Well, not in the way you’re thinking. I’m thinking of your element. Right now, you’re being a tree. Trees don’t dance. Try being a growing flower.”
Kaylee shrugged. “Ok, you’re the master.” She twirled, and started the steps again, and this time, she flowed easily, like she was growing. Estelle clapped, and smiled. She didn’t even notice she was floating until Kaylee finished and pulled her back to the ground.
“You should be a dance teacher when you grow up,” she suggested smiling.
“Or maybe a professional dancer,” Madame Dubove suggested, walking up. “Estelle, you are the most talented faerie I’ve seen since I’ve danced, and that’s saying something. Natural talent is hard to come by lately, I think you really have a shot.”
“That’s all great, Madame Dubove, but I’m still in school. My future's a long ways away. For now the only dancing I see myself doing is in this class.” Estelle blushed, her shyness kicking in.
“Every year after two weeks of my class, a talent scout from Mystical Dancing Academy for the Talented comes to attend a class to see if we have any talent. If the scout likes you, with your parent's permission, you can attend their school for the rest of your childhood. Graduating from there will probably get you into a dance troop, and you could eventually perform for the queen.”
To get away from this school? From her mom? From Amber? It would be a dream come true. But getting into a dance school? That was a dream, too far from reality.
Kaylee looked at Estelle. “What would she have to do?” she asked.
“Come up with a routine,” Madame Dubove said. “Practice every day after school, devote yourself. You always need your parents to sign this form.” Madame Dubove waved her hand, and a parchment appeared. Estelle hesitated, before snatching the floating document.
“I’ll do it,” she promised.
“Good.” Madame Dubove nodded. “Now get back to work; you’re doing a wonderful job.”
After school, Estelle flew home to her cloud, where her mother stayed home to cook and clean. Her other sisters had already graduated school and now flew around the world controlling the winds. They were just waiting for her to become the fourth and final sister, to control the eastern winds.
“Hey, Mom,” Estelle said, dropping her bag and walking into the kitchen, which was filled with different colored smoke. “How was your day?”
“Good,” the older air faerie said. I cleaned the house, went shopping, and was making some potions to sell the neighbors.”
Estelle dodged a firework that sailed out of the room. “I see that,” she said, laughing. “Sounds like fun. You’ve always been the best at potions.”
“How was your day?” her mother asked, pouring a silver potion into a flask.
“Good, we started a new elective today, dance class.”
Her mother turned, frowning. “Dance class? What’s the point of dance class? It doesn’t help with your future, which is to be the fourth wind. I think I might call up your school.”
“Wait, mom, I need to talk to you.” Estelle looked down. “Today my dance teacher told me I have this audition for a dance school, to be a dancer. So I could dance when I graduated. Mom, I think I am really good at this, and the only way I can do this is if you sign a permission slip.”
Her mother looked upset. “What are you thinking? You know what your future is; don’t try to change it.”
“That’s your dream for my future, not mine!” Estelle looked at her mom, biting her lip. “Look, I am in love with this, and I really need you to support me. Mom, please?”
She was finally here. Estelle was finally at Mystical Dancing Academy for the Talented, only after three weeks. It had been difficult convincing her mom, but she had finally seen how good Estelle was at dancing.
Amber had hassled Estelle for two weeks, but when the scout had arrived, the fire faerie had crashed and burned when Estelle sailed ahead. She had been accepted to the academy immediately, and moved into her new room, and started classes.
Dancing was the thing that finally made Estelle happy, and here she had friends, and things to do after school instead of just homework. Estelle became best friends with Kaylee through letters, and in the end, she became a famous dancer.
Goes to show you that walking on air helps you dance through life.