Hi everyone! Today is the 6th chapter of the story I’ve been writing. This is a very eventful chapter, and I’m excited to be sharing it with you.
You can check out all of the chapters at gouletballet.com/tag/story.
Download this chapter without the reading guide as a PDF here.
It is customary that the apprentices of a ballet company take class when possible at the highest level class in the school. At the American Ballet, this level is level 6.
Level 6 class at the National Ballet School
“Hi,” says Aria cheerily as she walks in with her new leather bag, customary for the company. She sets herself down next to some of the former idols of the school – the people who Ember and Diem thought spectacular and out of reach. Aria is now among them.
“Why does she have to get a new special dance bag now that she’s in the company? She looks all shiny and new…it’s like we’re not even a part of her life anymore,” says Ember to Diem.
The girls slyly sneak peaks at Aria and her company friends, who always go in the last group across the floor, always add beats to every jump, always do more pirouettes than the teacher asks for. They quickly glance away whenever Aria looks back at them to smile.
Aria doesn’t mean this seniority over the girls – she’s just doing what has been asked of her. Although her friends look like small minions compared to her grand achievements and company life, she still wants to be friends with them. It is a lot to take in as a 15 year old.
After class, Aria waves goodbye to her company friends and goes over to Diem.
“Hi,” she says, as if it is very unusual to talk to eachother now, as if they are from different worlds.
“Do you still want to make plans to get back at Ember? After all, she did push you into the company dressing room,” says Diem too quickly.
After this remark, Diem shrinks back, as if saying “the company” in front of Aria was wrong.
Aria thinks to herself – it’d be weird to get back at a level 6 now. Afterall, she is a year above all of them. That’s just the kind of things students do – not company members.
“I’d rather not. It just feels a little wrong,” she finally responds. But, she quickly comes back with, “Oh, but we can go get frozen yogurt after my rehearsal! I can tell you all about company life and how fun it is!”
“I’d…um…rather not. I mean, you’re in the company and I’m still here, a level 6. I thought you were still my friend – it’s like it’s awkward and uncustomary for you to talk to me anymore.”
“Well – ah…it is pretty weird, really.”
“Whatever. Go back and talk to your company friends,” says Diem, turning her back to Aria. She walks out of the studio and goes into the student dressing room as Aria walks through the glass door and down the stairwell to where the company dressing rooms are.
Ember and Uri’s house
“Mom, I hate this,” says Ember to her mother.
“Oh, honey. You realize that it’s a bit weird for me to talk to you about your struggles with a girl that I work with.”
Ember, responding awkwardly, says, “But, Mom – you’re…what…40? Aria’s only 15.”
“I know, but I still work with her, honey,” says her mother, lifting her chin with your long fingers. “Well, maybe when I retire…” She pauses, “and that’s not too long!” she says, awkwardly adding a “honey” at the end.
“Thanks Mom, but I think I’m the only person that can deal with this.”
“That’s a very grown-up thing to say. Thanks, honey. I just didn’t want to make the situation any more odd than it already is.”
- Level 6 class at NBS: The highest level class at the school. Classes at a ballet school are separated by skill level.
- Ember and Uri’s house: Uri is Ember’s mother, and a company member. they live in a stand-along house in New York City.
Things to remember:
- It’s odd for company members to talk to their former friends at the school once they are in the company.
- Aria and Diem had originally had plans to get back at Ember for throwing Aria into the company’s dressing room. That happened in Chapter 1.