When fifteen year-old Pen Flowers climbs out of her bedroom window in the middle of the night to dance in the empty streets, she ignites a flame in herself that will change everything.
Mrs Hadley was wearing the pleated navy mini skirt she wore for netball practise. Her thighs loomed giant and white when I sat down in the tiny room that was her office. I had to look away as she pulled on some tracksuit bottoms.
‘Lots of people have been saying how much they enjoyed your solo Penny. You should be pleased. I know how hard you worked.’
‘Thanks for helping me,’ I said. Surely if Mrs Hadley thought the dance was good then it must have been. What did Sadie know about dance anyway? Mrs Hadley was searching through reams of paper on her desk. It was a real mess.
‘Here we are,’ she had a blue paper file in her 113 hand. Her eyes locked on my face and I felt as if I were a notice being stapled to the wall.
‘I think you should take your dancing seriously. In here there’s a leaflet for a dance show by an exciting new company called Tartan Fling. They’re holding a workshop and I think you’d enjoy it so I’ve booked you a place. I’ve also put in some details of ballet classes. You haven’t done any?’ I shook my head and she went on. ‘If you‘re going to go any further as a dancer, you’ll need to get to grips with a basic vocabulary, build up your strength and flexibility, so that means ballet. You’re starting late but you can catch up if you’re prepared to put the work in. I’ve also given you a Prospectus for the London School of Contemporary Dance just for you to look at and get a sense of possibilities.’
She handed me the file and the silence in the room was as round and fat as one of the pumped up netballs in the corner. I needed to grab the ball, say something, but my brain wasn’t coming up with anything. My speech bubble was totally empty. Mrs Hadley started to laugh.
‘Don’t look so worried Penny. It’s a lot to take in I know. Just look over the information and think 114 about it in your own time. There’s no hurry.’
‘My Dad wants me to go to University. He doesn’t think dancing’s a good career,’ I blurted out. I didn’t know why I’d said anything and immediately, wished I hadn’t.
‘Well you’re not going anywhere for a few years yet. But why don’t you think about what you want to do?’
Thank you, Sally-Anne Lomas and Fly on the Wall Press
About the author
Sally-Anne Lomas lives in Norfolk and has worked as a television producer and director for most of her life. This
is her debut novel.
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