Joan sat in the padded chair opposite the director. She had always expected that her talks with Stella were priveleged but with Sophina receiving her attention the honor somehow felt lessened.
" I said there's some exciting things going on this year but first I want to ask you about your roommate."
"Well she's really young and she can be a bit rude but I'm sure she's doing alright."
"You say she's rude, why is that?"
" Just the way she talks to me and this morning apparently she stormed out of Carole's yoga warm up just because she was being critiqued."
"I see, Are you unhappy with her as a roommate?"
" Well I won't pretend that I'm happy about it but I know how to put up with less than optimal roommates."
"Apparently Sophina's been receiving some unwanted attention around the academy. You wouldn't happen to know anything about that would you?"
"What do you mean? I thought she was a dance prodigy, I imagined she'd be some sort of celebrity around here. There was even an article about her in People magazine."
"I know I was interviewed for it. I admit I'm dissapointed that you two aren't getting along. I thought pairing her with my most gifted dancer would make her excited for the oppertunities this academy would provide her, not to mention that you would be able to introduce to everything and everyone."
"I'm sorry Stella, I have a lot on my plate this year I guess I've gotten a little selfish. I promise I'll help Sophina out more."
"I'm glad to hear that Joan. And you're right. You've got a lot riding on this year. I know you've had your heart set on dancing in a ballet company since you started here and now you have an oppertunity to make that dream come true. There's an audition with ABC in the spring and I've arranged for some fellows from New York Ballet to come hold an audition at the school in the winter. I know this is a silly question but, would you like the paper work to apply?"
Joan gushed, "Of Course, oh thank you so much!"
The dignified ageing woman gladly handed over a manilla folder filled with pamphelets and paper work. " As you know New York Ballet has been a forerunner in more contemporary expressions of dance, something I know you excell at and something I wish was more popular in my day. All that raw kinesthetic emotion." the blonde woman looked almost lost in reverie. " They have a junior corp know too and I want Sophina to audition."
"The girl has talent, I'm excited about her prospects at this school. When you were her age you were dancing the role of Clara for San Fransisco ballet's winter tour."
"I was thirteen not eleven"
"Still she is young and doesn't come from a very good studio. She desperately needs technique and you know ballet is the only way she's going to get that. I know she favors the more, shall we say 'modern'? forms of dance but we need her to be more interested in ballet if she's going to become great."
" So you want me to convert her from 'modern' to classical?"
"Essentially I suppose yes. Just some encouragement, a push in the right direction. I think she looks up to you, you know"
"I seriously doubt that, she brags about her talents every oppertunity she gets."
" I know this might not be easy for you but I promise she is not going to steal your spotlight. You will always hold a coveted place among the most gifted dancers to attend this academy and that is why I'm asking for your help. Not to mention that I would be more inclined to put in a good word for you with my proffesional colleagues if I felt you were, to use a misplaced sports phrase, more of a team player."
Joan had agreed to help the director and Sophina as graciously as she could manage beneath the anxiety and anger boiling beneath her calm exterior. "of course, I'd be happy to help."
" Great. by the way how's your grandmother?"
"She's doing really well. She and my grandfather are in Mexico now. I'm sure she'll be happy to hear about the auditions."
"tell her I said hi"
Joan left the office and headed towards the dining hall. It was still lunch time so maybe Sophina was in there. She entered the large hall but couldn't see any trace of the short girls bronze hair. "well" she sighed to herself "maybe I'll get some dessert." It had been a rather stressful day after all. She deserved it.
She stood in line for the cafeteria next to an unfamiliar looking girl. The heels of what she assumed were step dancing shoes pocked out from her bag. "Hi" Joan offered a greeting. " Hi" she replied. "Folk dancer?" the girl nodded in reply. " Isn't that basically tap dancing but easier?" she asked jovially.