Scene 3: April’s First Lesson
The next afternoon, Karen got off the school bus at April’s house and carried her dance case up the path to the wide front porch. Mrs. Roth came out through the dark wooden door to greet them.
“Hi, sweetheart!” She hugged her daughter and smiled at Karen. “Karen, it’s so good of you to help April this way. Let’s go in so she can change into her new leotard and tights.”
Karen held up the little suitcase. “Okay, and I need to change, too.”
They raced through the livingroom to April’s bedroom.
“Everything’s pink, April. That must be your favorite color.”
“Yes, it is.”
The girls pulled their dresses over their heads. Karen slipped into her leotard and tights, then helped April get into her new dance togs. They were just like Karen’s. Mrs. Roth stood back with a big smile on her face. As soon as April had her shoes on, she raced for the front door. “Let’s go!” The tap shoes clattered across the hardwood floor.
Karen followed her and they sat together in the station wagon’s back seat while Mrs. Roth drove. She knew the way, so she must have already gone to meet Gilberto.
At the studio, she parked. “April, are you ready for this?”
No answer. Karen looked at her friend’s brown saucer eyes. “Don’t be scared, I know this is new. Gilberto’s the kindest teacher you ever saw. And if he can teach me to dance, he can sure do the same for you.”
April blinked back tears and looked down. “I’m sure you’re right, and I know I can trust you, Karen. Let’s go.”
Mrs. Roth led them to the door and held it open. Karen held her friend’s hand as they walked in.
Miss Devine stood up from behind her desk and hugged Karen before turning to April. “You must be April, our new student.”
“Yes. I’m here to learn to hop and not fall over.”
Gilberto walked in from the studios. “Good afternoon, Mrs. Roth. She will do great, I can tell from looking at her. I have a studio set up for today’s lesson.”
He led them to the brightly lighted studio. “This is the barre. You can hold on to it to help keep your balance.”
Karen and April grabbed it, Karen with her strong right hand, April with both hands.
“The shuffle is the first thing you learn. It’s the most basic tap dance step, and it will help with your balance.”
He taught April the same lesson he had given Karen when she started learning. Karen did the shuffle along with him. April caught on easily.
After a few minutes, he stopped and looked at his watch. “That’s enough for today. Practice at home, and you’ll be dancing like a star before you know it.”
April looked up at him. “But we just got here.”
Gilberto turned to Mrs. Roth. “It’s always a good sign when the time seems to fly, but we’ve been shuffling for nearly an hour.”
April’s eyes got big, and she hugged Gilberto’s legs. “Oh, my gosh! I love it! I love dancing!”
Original text ©2023 by Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.