My Ranking Points
(I hope I got everyone!)
“Can I go to Los Angeles?” I asked my mom.
“Whatever gave you that idea?” my mom replied, wiping her hands free of flour on her apron skirt. My mother was standing in front of the oven,kneading flour into dough to make homemade gnocchi for dinner. I was sitting on a stool at our large wooden table, busily completing my homework and helping my mom when she asked.
I fiddled with my pencil in response to her question. My mom sighed.
“Listen, most people in Capricorn have never even been out of the city! Why would you, all of a sudden, want to leave?”
“I-I have reasons…” I said, hearing my weak argument and grimacing. “Wait. What about the others?”
“The other people in the city. The ones that have left Capricorn?”
“I haven’t ever met them. Neither has your dad.”
“Well… there must be some way to leave! Some way to come back, too!”
“Honey, you haven’t even told me why you want to leave in the first place!”
I again fiddled with my pencil and tucked it behind my ear. It was my turn to sigh. My mother realized that I wasn’t going to answer her.
“You don’t have to answer right now, but I would really like you to tell me at some point,” my mom says.
I don’t say anything for a long while, pondering how to phrase what I want to say. Somehow I know that I need to tell my family the truth.
“I feel like something’s different. That something isn’t how it used to be. The school year just started, I know, but I also feel like I’ve known something’s wrong for a long time.”
My mom turned around, listening to me intently.
“I met a girl at school. A little older than me, but we’re in the same grade. She speaks Ukrainian. And she also kno-” my voice suddenly cut off. I cleared my throat. “Thinks that something is different. In the Social Studies room at my school, there’s a poster that showed the, erm, Academy.”
I paused for a minute while my mom stood still in shock.
“And I had this kind of… weird… feeling. I don’t know. Like something was really strange. And in art, we practiced shading on a castle shape, and there it was: the strange feeling again. My new friend, Natasha, felt the same. And Natasha found that Rose is trying to get to LA. You remember Rose, that girl from Leo?”
I had told her about Rose, how she had been at the top of one of the Leaderboards before Pisces Academy was destroyed.
“Oh,” my mom said simply. “Sweetie, that strange feeling is probably-”
“It’s not just sadness about the Academy,” I interjected quickly.
“Okay. Well, then, maybe it’s something similar? I really haven’t heard of any feeling like that.”
“What about going to L.A.?”
“I… I really don’t think that’s likely.”
I breathed out through my mouth, one loooong breath.
“Okay,” I sighed. I knew that my parents would never agree right off the bat, and Natasha and I still needed to find out more about Rose and why she needed to go to L.A.
I packed my homework right back into my folders and stuffed them into my bookbag.
“I’m going to go outside,” I mumbled under my breath.
“Okay, so long as you remember your coat and hat!” was my mom’s reply. I pulled on my coat and hat and stepped out of my house.
Once outside, I let my feet take over, not really paying any attention to where I was going.
Finally, I came to a larger, square building with fancy columns. The architecture was a bit older than most of the older buildings, and a wrought-iron sign over the front door read “Studio.”
It was then that I remembered. Dance!!
How had I forgotten about dance? I didn’t know if classes had started for the year yet, but I decided to double-check.
I pulled open the white door, and stepped into an entrance hall made of white stone. The floor was made out of marble tiles, and there were large, black-framed windows on the white walls. A fancy staircase led to higher floors, the steps wrapping around a big white column with black designs. On both sides of me were several doors, each big and black with white calligraphic letters. The ones on my left read “Supplies,” “Staff,” and “Studio A.” On my right side, the first door read “Sign in.” I decided to go into the “Sign in,” room, faintly remembering a smiling lady with a short blonde bob that answered any queries or concerns.
I slide the door open a crack. Sure enough, there was a rather shorter, slim lady with beach-blonde curls. She was sitting behind a receptionist desk in a comfy office chair. A sign on the desk read ‘Grace Marie, receptionist.’ In front of Grace was a computer, and right next to her was a shiny black phone. Behind the lady were several rows of filing cabinets. There wasn’t much room.
“Yes, dear?” she asked, looking up at me. “Are you here for open studio?”
“Erm, no. I was just wondering if, uh, lessons for this year have started already,” I replied, nervous. The lady’s smile didn’t falter.
“Nope, classes start next week. What’s your name, dear?”
“Polina Valentin,” I said.
The lady swiveled to type on the computer, her pink nails clacking. I watched as she pulled up a roster.
“Polina? Yes, it says here that you are enrolled in Pre-Pointe, Classical Russian Ballet, Traditional European Dances, Tap, and Ballroom.”
“Oh, okay. Thank you!”
“No problem, honey. Would you like an information packet?”
“Sure,” I breathed. Grace scooted her chair over to a filing cabinet and punched in a code. The drawer jumped open, and the smiling lady extracted an orange envelope/package. She turned and gave the package to me. I took it without opening it.
“Here you go. Oh, wait a minute,” Grace said as I started to leave. “You have been excelling in all your classes in previous years, so you have been nominated from your level and age group for Dance Troupe.”
Grace pulled from out of nowhere a manilla folder.
“This should have all the information, Polina.”
“Thanks! Oh, and… what’s ‘Open Studio’?” I asked.
“Before classes start, the studio holds open days for students to get in any practice they need. We don’t want our dancers forgetting moves! Open studio lasts for, usually, two to four hours a day.”
“Thank you!” I said as I stepped out into the entrance hall.
I somehow found my way back home, subconsciously walking as I examined the manilla envelope and the orange package.
“Dinner in ten minutes,” my mom said as I walked in. “By the way, where have you been?”
“Oh, I just went to the studio. Grace gave me some information packets about the classes I’m going to be taking,” I said.
“Oh, well, that’s okay, then. The studio’s not that far, about 1200 meters. Do you need any new supplies this year?”
“I don’t know yet,” I said, watching my mom pack away ingredients. “But I’ll let you know!”
My mom nodded, too busy pushing a sack of flour into the pantry.
“Do you need any help?” I asked.
“No, that’s okay,” my mom told me.
I went up the wooden stairs to my room. Then, I heavily fell into my favorite armchair. I carefully unscrewed the tie on the orange package. Inside were a lot of papers. I pulled them out.
Eastern Capricorn Dance Studio
Dancer Name: Polina Olya Valentin
Dancer Age: 11
Pre-Pointe 1: Mondays, Wednesdays from 4:15 to 5:15
Classical Russian Ballet: Tuesdays, Thursdays from 3:45 to 5:45
Traditional European Dances: Wednesdays, Fridays from 5:35 to 7:05
Tap 1: Tuesdays, Thursdays from 6:00 to 7:00; some days from 6:00 to 7:30
Ballroom Dancing Ages 11-12: Saturdays from 8-11 A.M.; Mondays from 5:20 to 7:20
Tuition Cost: Full Scholarship
The next sheet read:
Eastern Capricorn Dance Studio
Dancer Dress Code; Girls
All Ballet Classes: Black leotard, white tights, pink wrap-around skirt (optional), hair in a bun away from face. Leather ballet shoes preferred; pointe shoes only in Pointe classes.
All Tap Classes: Leotard/unitard/spandex shorts/sports leggings, white socks, black heeled tap shoes with ribbon ties.
All Jazz Classes: Leotard/unitard/spandex shorts/sports leggings, black slip-on jazz shoes. Sweatpants for floorwork are allowed.
Traditional European Classes: Leotard/unitard/spandex shorts/sports leggings for practice only, white socks, no shoes unless specified. Other than for practice: traditional dress/outfit, white dress shoes, hair bow.
There were a bunch of more packets and papers, including a schedule for each of my classes, expectations, requirements, and rules of the studio. Finally, I had seen everything in the orange package. It was time for the manilla folder.
The manilla folder included a dress code for the troupe, a schedule or practice hours and dates, and a schedule of competition dates and places.
I suddenly felt really angry: I was so busy with everything, I could barely remember anything in Capricorn, and I didn’t know what was going on. In a rage, I threw down the manilla folder.
The few papers inside slid out, but only one floated away. It passed me by as it floated away into the corner of my room, but I only caught two words: Los Angeles.
I scrambled up and ran after the paper, which had drifted underneath my bed. I pulled out the thin white slip and scanned the thick black script:
The Eastern Capricorn Dance Troupe has been invited to take part in the International Dance Competition!
Last year’s competition was held in Sagittarius, with the Upper Sagittarius Dance Troupe taking home the trophy. This year’s competition will be held in Leo!/b>
The competition will be taking place September 20th to 25th in Los Angeles, Leo!
All dancers are allowed to miss school for the competition; dancers will be tutored in Leo after performing for each day.
I dropped my mouth open and sat there for a minute, frozen in shock. Then I realized that this was how Natasha and I could get to Leo. This was a good plan. This was a legal and allowed plan. This was a perfect plan.
I just hoped Natasha could dance.
This is so cool!! I’ll start working on a chapter soon.