“And, one, two, three, four…step step step…Two, two, three, four…step step step…Come on!”
We try and keep our eye on Ezme, but she ducks and weaves more than any of the other dancers. She is less graceful than them but far more enthusiastic…Though it doesn’t help that the whole dance looks like some kind of giant human basket weaving.
“In, out…two, three, four…” The butch instructor yells at them over the equally loud and crowded tuneless ring that they are skipping and hopping- left, right, one, two, three- to.
I turn back to my art book and pour over the lifeless, dull squiggles. They are meant to be the dancers; are meant to be people alive with colour, just like the festival outfits they are wearing. In fact, art (and a chance of possible advertisement) is the only reason we are allowed in here: the town hall’s auditorium.
The others have their art books too (with the exception of Emma, who is observing the dance like a cat watches fish and tapping her foot to the non-existent rhythm, and Daniel, who is taking photos because he doesn’t do art, and this is his only excuse to come). Out of the other named ‘outcasts’ who I know, Nickie is jumping around here and there, cheering her sister on, and Studious Shona had opted not to come. She’s finally decided that being creative is ‘not her thing’.
As I glance back up at the stage, Ezme unsteadily spins to the front and gives me her shocking grin followed by a rapid wave.
“And back…left, right, left, right, one, two, onetwothree! Okay, take five, chorus.”
Ezme bounds over to us, reminding me of an eager puppy let off its lead.
“Not so much of a mouse now, is she?” Hisses Daniel in my ear.
Yeah, and you know what animal you are? Snake. Sometimes that American guy really gets on my nerves. Year 11s are pains.
“Guys, you came!”
“Wouldn’t miss it for the world, babe.”
“Aww, Dan you are too sweet. It’s only a rehearsal, but I thought, seeing as we’re getting quite close to the production, I’d let the lot of you have a sneak peek, just in case.”
Suddenly Ezme’s face falls faster than a brick from the tower of Pisa.
“What is it, Ezme?” I cry, my constantly-on-the-mark eagle-eyes picking up the slight change in expression. The girl sighs and lowers her voice, as well as her eyes.
“The V-Blog, it’s not going too well…”
“But, you’ve got loads of hits…?”
“Hmm…But, I’ve also got loads of nasty comments too…”
“Ha, yes, and they’re right, you know, I can’t sing well. I’m thinking of giving up the whole music ‘lark’- no, don’t say a word, I’ve already convinced myself - and pursue an awesome career in acting instead.”
We watch Ezme’s emotional change as the dance instructor calls her back. She bounces onto the stage and slides into position for the number again. I see a couple of raised eyebrows, but otherwise, mostly impressed looks at her readiness.
It’s true, Ezme has some magical talent for acting…Something special that transforms her on stage.