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Chapter 3 : Of The Power of The Inner Beat and The True Meaning of Dance
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It was breakfast the day after Malfoy's episode in Ballet and Ballroom Dancing and Hermione was still mumbling to herself.
Ron looked to Harry and raised any eyebrow. “You alright, Hermione?”
Distractedly Hermione waved him off. “Yes. Yes, I'm fine.”
Harry leaned across the table. “You haven't stopped muttering about Malfoy since yesterday. We have that class again in ten minutes. Are you going to be able to make it through?”
Hermione came out of her reverie at his words. “Oh Merlin, I forgot we have to endure that class everyday . . .” She let her head drop onto the table.
“Alright class!” Dianna was dressed in vibrant purple pants that were tight around the thighs, baggy below the knees and ended at about mid calf. Her shirt was a white tank top with two in inch wide straps. She had black jazz shoes on her feet and a bright purple headband holding her hair back, which was messily thrown into a ponytail.
Her students were gaping at her. Was this the same teacher that had greeted them yesterday?
“This is how your classes will work.” She clapped her hands together and leaned against the mirror. “Days will switch off. Ballet, then Ballroom. Ballet, then ballroom. Today is a Ballroom day.” She glanced around at her students who were all dressed in the black leotards, pink tights, black pants and white shirts that they had all been commanded to wear yesterday. “What are you all wearing?”
She was greeted by blank faces. She approached the students and pointed to one of the girls in the front. “What is this?”
Hermione stepped forward. “You told us to wear these yesterday, Professor.” She said. “You said-“
Dianna cut her off. “Yesterday was a ballet class. Today is a ballroom class.” She turned from them and picked up her wand. “I will give you five minutes, and five minutes only, to put on the proper attire. Get your hair out of those buns and into ponytails girls. Boys, roll up your sleeves and change those shoes. This style of dance cannot be hindered by such things.” She turned back to them. “Well get moving!”
They scrambled for their bags. As Hermione joined the throng of girls heading for the lavatories she saw Malfoy sitting on the floor, his back against the wall. Ready to go and smirking to himself.
The inside of the girl's lavoratories was a mass of pandemonium. Every girl had dug out the odd pants that they had been ordered to get over the summer and was eyeing them warily.
“My mum had to go into a muggle store to get these.” One of the Gryffindor girls said.
“Mine too.” One of the girls agreed.
“Let's go girls!” Dianna's voice called to them from outside in the studio.
There was a collective groan as they all entered stalls.
Once they had all donned the new attire they tied their jazz sneakers to their feet and met up with the rest of the class in front of the mirror.
“Now.” Dianna was lightly dancing before the mirror as she talked. “You will not normally wear those sneakers in this class, but I don't expect you to start off in these.” She gesture to her feet and a few girls sucked in breath. She was wearing three-inch heels. She kicked her leg up in the air and twirled to the right. “That's nothing. Wait till you try pointe.” She smirked at them and literally leapt to the table in the corner where her radio sat. “Would you all please form three lines before the mirror?”
As she turned on her music, which was music the non-muggle students had never heard before, they all pushed and shoved their way to the back of the class. Draco Malfoy strode his way right to the center front. After the unlucky ones had been pushed to the front as well, Dianna sat down on the floor.
The class eyed her with confusion. She rolled her eyes. “Honestly,” she said. “Everyone on the ground! Do I have to narrate your entire lives to you? On the ground!”
Reluctantly they all dropped down to the polished floor, Draco did so with a coy smirk on his face.
Dianna lay on her back, hands behind her head and knees up. “You should all recognize this as the basic crunch.” She demonstrated. “Say good bye to it. You won't be doing it in here.”
Smiles erupted around the classroom.
Oh, just you wait. Draco smiled to himself, knowing full well what coming.
“Instead,” She continued. “You will become very friendly with these.” She raised both legs straight up in the air, ankles crossed, knees locked, and started to crunch. “You will do eight of these!”
“You will then do eight of these!” She bent one leg at the knee, keeping the other straight. “Then switch legs and do eight more!”
Mutterings began around the class. Was this woman insane?
She then lowered both legs and held them parallel to the floor, knees locked. Now, when she crunched the only part of her body touching the floor was her bottom. “Then eight of these!”
Hermione was beginning to feel sick.
She brought both legs back up in the air as she had in the first demonstration and only this time as she crunched she crossed and uncrossed her ankles. “Then you will finish with sixteen of these!”
As she brought her legs back to the ground there was utter and absolute silence. She smiled. “And that's just the first ten minutes of warm-up my children.”
Hermione met Harry's eyes. “Our Quidditch warm-ups aren't even that extensive.” He whispered.
She pulled out her wand and turned the music up. “Let's go! Get crunching!”
Everyone laid back on the ground, and most of them gave a valiant effort, but hardly anyone got past the first set, and only Draco Malfoy and two other girls were able to finish the entire series.
Hermione made it through the first two until she reached her limit and was reduced to laying spread eagle on the ground, huffing. Harry, who was next to her only made it two sets further.
“Oh.” Ron moaned. “The agony.” He was clutching his stomach.
Dianna was sitting against the mirror, her knees pulled up under chin, watching the entire spectacle with an amused expression. “Don't worry.” She said after the last set was finished. “By the end of this year you will all be able to finish the series.” She stood up. “Or you will fail.” She added casually.
She gestured for everyone to stand and they all struggled back on their feet. She waved her wand at the radio and the music changed to a heavy drum filled beat. She turned to the mirror so she could watch the entire class. “Fifty jumping jacks!” She demanded.
Hermione almost smiled. Well I can do that!
“Like this.” She started jumping, only every time her feet left the ground she crossed them and uncrossed them.
Hermione's inner smile immediately disappeared.
Dianna began counting as they all began jumping with her. The woman had enough energy emanating off her for the entire class.
At the end of the fifty jumping jacks she stopped with a smile. “We'll stop there for the day and add a new set everyday.” She said it as if it were the most exciting news they would ever receive. Hermione thought she was going to crash and burn right then, and just think, there was still at least forty minutes left to the class.
“Form five lines please,” Dianna commanded, “six people deep.” They moved quickly into the formation she had requested; they were learning that this woman meant business. “I'm going to start by showing you some very simple dance steps. Each of these we will use frequently throughout the year. When I teach you an actual dance, it will be an amalgamation of these steps. You will be able to learn faster and learn more technique if you know the basic steps.”
Hermione was trembling inwardly. This was way out of her league. Spout out the exact number of suspected werewolves currently occupying Europe? She got it. Recite the doctrine of the Original Class of Merlin? She was your girl. Dance in front of a mirror in funny looking pants and tight shoes with her hair pulled back in the oddest way . . . she could not do this.
“Everyone face the mirror and look at their bodies.” They all acquiesced to the peculiar request. “The bottom half of your body, from your torso to your toes is called your base.” She drew a line down her chest that divided her body in two. “This line represents your center. Your center is where you focus your balance.”
The class nodded in understanding.
“This is called an 'attitude'.” Dianna faced the mirror and simply raised her leg in the air with her knee bent. “Nice and easy now.” She held it and met their eyes in the mirror. “Try it please.” She said.
They all balanced on one leg, raising the other in the air; some farther than others.
“Commendable.” She praised them, returning her leg to the floor. They relaxed
“This is called a 'grapevine'.” She started with her feet shoulder width apart and then stepped across her right foot with her left and then out with her right. It looked like she was gliding sideways along the floor. They all tried it with her without her prompting, earning a large smile. “Fabulous!” She cried out, moving on to the next step.
“This is a 'sway'.” She leant to the right and left as if she was basking in a mild ocean current. “Another easy one.” She smiled. “A 'swivel'.” She simply turned, or swiveled, her body around in a circle. “A few terms you need to understand,” she turned back to the group. “Lateral movement is when you move across the floor. Yes?” She paused for questions. When there were none she continued. “Beat is the steady counting of music. You will need to all find your own beat. I can provide the basic one, two, three, one, two, three, but without an inner metronome, you can never hope to dance.”
Hermione's eyebrow knit in confusion. What was that supposed to mean? Of course, if she just learned the beats and could count rhythms in her head, she would be able to dance. She relaxed a bit, but then was affronted with another idea. I can't dance. I've never been able to dance.
“For the first few weeks of class I will use these words and remind you what they mean, and we will constantly be adding to our 'dancer's vocabulary'. If you wish to dance, you must look, act, and speak the part.” She smiled. “Let me correct that, if you wish to pass you must look, act, and speak the part.” There was a warm chuckle from the Gryffindors in the room, but even the Slytherins didn't seem to mind this woman much.
Dianna sat down on the floor before them, inviting them all to sit with her. Hermione was stunned. A professor? On the floor? Students? On the floor?
“This year I want to cover not only some classical ballet, but the fox-trot, mamba, samba, cha cha, waltz, latin swing, salsa, and we will finish with the most passionate dance of all; the Argentinean Tango.”
Hermione had seen the tango once on the television before she had started going to Hogwarts. She had thought at the time that the dance was the most beautiful thing she had ever witnessed. The passion between the two dancers was so intense you could see it in the way their bodies moved.
She couldn't do that.
“We will have a recital at the end of the school year after your juries.” A hand rose in the back. Dianna smiled. “Ah yes, juries. A jury is what we call your final exam. You will be expected to perform before a jury of your teachers, myself included, and you will be graded on your performance. You will be expected to answer dance term questions and to demonstrate basic steps. You will also compose your very own piece to present to the jury.”
Hermione's insides knotted.
Dianna glanced at the muggle contraption on her wrist. “Oh my! It's already time to go!” She rose from the floor gracefully. “Tomorrow is a ballet day, do not forget your tights and leotards!” She called to them as they retreated to the appropriate dressing rooms.
Once inside an empty dressing stall Hermione leaned her head against the cold stone wall. She had to do this everyday? She tugged off the dance gear and pulled her uniform skirt back on. She had to go back to the common room and shower before the next class began. She felt disgusting. She groaned. The common room. Hopefully Malfoy would forego using their bathroom to shower, if he was showering at all.
She gathered her things up in her arms. He probably wouldn't she thought to herself as the memory of yesterday's performance came back to her. She shook her head as if to shake the offending thoughts away.
For years she had dreamed about that man she had seen on that television show, dancing the tango. The way he had moved, the lithe power he possessed.
That was the way Draco Malfoy danced.
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