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School Friends: Book 8
Dancer at Silver Spires
by Ann Bryant
Izzy loves Silver Spires boarding school, but it isn’t the school she always dreamed of. Having trained as a ballerina, she auditioned for The Royal Ballet School and was devastated when she failed to get in – so much so that she vowed never to dance again. But now there is a big dance show coming up and all her friends think she should take part. Can she overcome her fears to put on her dancing shoes once more?
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I stared around the dining hall and thought for at least the hundredth time how much I love it here at Silver Spires. I suppose all boarding schools are great, but I just don’t see how they can be as great as this one. I mean, I was so nervous when I started here eight weeks ago, but the very first time I came into this dining hall with the other five girls from my dormitory, I felt so happy. It was obvious we were going to get on with each other. Well, it’s true I did feel a bit anxious about Antonia, who’s Italian, and Nicole, who’s amazingly clever. Those two didn’t seem to hit it off as well as the rest of us, but I felt sure it would work out eventually because they both seemed so nice. And I was right. They’re best friends now.
My own best friend is called Sasha, and while I was staring around right then, she was listening intently to something that Emily was telling her. Even though Emily’s story seemed to be going on and on, and personally I tuned out ages before, Sasha still looked interested. She kept nodding slowly, her big blue eyes looking straight at Emily. And that’s because Sasha is such a fantastic listener. I’m so glad we’re best friends.
As soon as lunch was over we all set off through the grounds for afternoon lessons. It was maths first, and that’s one of the three subjects we’ve been put in sets for, which means that we six friends aren’t all together for those lessons, like we are for everything else.
“See you later!” called Antonia, as she went off with Emily and Emily’s best friend, Bryony.
“I can’t believe how good Antonia’s getting at English!” said Sasha. “And her English accent’s getting better too.”
“I know!” said Nicole, looking happy. “And it’s great that she’s been put up a set for maths and science.”
I nodded. “If she carries on going up, you two might be together in top sets for everything before the end of Year Seven!”
Nicole laughed. “That would be really good,” she said, linking arms with me on one side and Sasha on the other and falling into step with us. But almost immediately she pulled away, half laughing. “Do you know, I always feel a bit like an elephant when I’m walking beside you, Izzy!”
Sasha laughed too. “I know exactly what you mean!”
My body slumped instinctively as the little voice in my head started up. Not this again.
Nicole must have sensed my dejection. “Oh, Izzy, it’s a compliment, you know,” she said. “You’re just so graceful.”
Sasha grinned at me. “Except when you deliberately don’t stand up straight, like right now.”
“I’d love to have great posture, like you,” Nicole added.
I tried to smile while my mind searched around for a quick way of getting off this terrible subject, and the voice in my head grew louder. I don’t want to talk about being graceful and standing up straight. I don’t even want to think about it. I know where it leads.
“You’d make a great dancer, Izzy,” said Sasha.
I didn’t reply because I couldn’t think of what to say. We’d had this kind of conversation lots of times since I’d started at Silver Spires and no one knew how much I hated it. Well, actually that’s not true. I thought Sasha was starting to notice how uncomfortable I got whenever anyone mentioned me in the same breath as dancing or ballet, and how I always tried to quickly change the conversation. The trouble is, Sasha’s such a good listener that I’m afraid one of these days I might be tempted to tell her about my past. But it’s a secret. If I told her about the other me, she’d think I was completely mad.
And just when I was thinking about my past an annoying voice popped into my head. Is it that she’ll think you’re mad, or just that you can’t ever let yourself talk about it?
Suddenly I felt shaky. The truth had finally hit me.
It’s not that I won’t talk about it, it’s that I can’t.
Ann Bryant is both an author and a musician. She started her writing when she was young, writing a play when she was still at primary school. At school, one of her favourite activities was just hanging out with friends and Ann is happy to relive these times again with the girls of Silver Spires in the fantastic School Friends series. Ann now teaches music and drama as well as writing children's fiction, including the very successful Ballerina Dreams series.
Visit www.annbryant.co.uk to find out more.
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