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Показать все книги автора/авторов: Martin Ann M.

«Baby-Sitters Club 061», Ann Martin


BSC061 - Jessi and the Awful Secret - Martin, Ann M.

В В В  Chapter 1.

В В В  Mme Noelle looked at me and rapped her stick sharply on the studio floor. She didn't have to say a word. Instantly I raised my leg even higher behind me and pushed my shoulders back. "Much better, Mademoiselle Romsey," she said with a nod. Then she moved along, studying the grand battements of the other students at the bane.

В В В  "You are much too stiff," I heard her tell a blonde girl named Mary Bramstedt. "Relax your shoulders. Breathe!" Maybe I should explain a few things before I go any further. For starters, my name is not Mademoiselle Romsey. That's just how it comes out when my teacher, Mme Noelle, speaks to me in her French accent.

В В В  I'm Jessica Ramsey. All my friends call me Jessi. I'm eleven and (among other things) I take ballet lessons at a school in Stamford.

В В В  Mme Noelle is rather old and very strict, but has a great reputation as a ballet teacher. In fact, the ballet school I go to is considered one of the best on the East Coast. (Not counting the professional schools down in New York City.) I'm really glad to be studying here.

В В В  Right now I attend class every Tuesday and Friday, after school. My dad works in Stamford and picks me up on the way home. It takes us about a half hour to drive from Stamford to our home in Stoneybrook.

В В В  Mme Noelle clapped her hands and I swung my leg out of the grand battement position. A grand battement is a warm-up exercise meant to loosen the hips and hamstring muscles of the legs. (It's pronounced, "grand-bot-a-mont," which is French, the language of ballet.) Class always opens with a series of warm-ups. It's important that a dancer's muscles be warm and stretched so she doesn't hurt herself (or himself - though there are only girls in my class) during the more difficult work that comes later.

В В В  "Before we begin ze center work," Mme Noelle said that day, "I have an announcement to make. Ze Stamford Ballet School will be giving a free six-week donee class to some of Stamford's less privileged children. Ze class will be held every Tuesday at zis time. We need volunteers to help Mme Dupre conduct it." "What about our own work?" Katie Beth Parsons asked.

В В В  "Volunteers will receive six free classes to make up for ze ones zey will miss," Mme Noelle explained.

В В В  "But won't we fall behind?" asked Carrie Steinfeld.

В В В  "You must make zis decision for yourself," Mme Noelle told her. "At some point in your careers, many of you will wish to teach. Zis will be a valuable experience. Now, do I have any volunteers?" Immediately my hand shot up. I love working with kids. I baby-sit a lot and I even belong to a group called the Baby-sitters Club. (The club is really important to me. Maybe not as important as ballet, but close. I'll tell you about it later.) I wasn't worried about falling behind in my work. As it is, I'm the youngest in the class. (Katie Beth used to be, before I joined the class, but she's a year older than me. I think she resents not being the youngest anymore.) And - though I wouldn't say this to anyone else - I'm one of the best. I don't mean to sound conceited. It's just true. Not long ago I danced the lead in Sleeping Beauty in the school production. I've had other lead parts as well.

В В В  The only other girl who raised her hand was Mary Bramstedt.

В В В  To be honest, I was pretty surprised by two things. The first was that more girls didn't volunteer. Teaching kids to dance sounded like so much fun, I couldn't believe everyone wouldn't want to do it. I guess they didn't want to take time away from their own classes. (I know dancers have to be serious and competitive, but sometimes I think they take that too far.) The second thing that surprised me was that Mary did volunteer. She's nice enough, but very intense. She's a perfectionist who worries about getting every step exactly right. And the odd thing is, she's not one of the best dancers in class. Not by far. For all her worrying, she's stiff and sort of robotlike when she dances. It's as if she can't stop worrying long enough to let the music carry her. I wouldn't have expected Mary to feel comfortable taking even a moment away from her regular classes. But - as I said - she surprised me, which made me like her a little better than I had.

В В В  "Very good," Mme Noelle said to Mary and me. "Report here next Tuesday and Madame Dupre will meet you." Then she nodded toward our new piano player in the corner of the room, a thin young man with glasses. He began to play as we took our places in the center of the studio.

В В В  We spaced ourselves evenly and began work on a ballet move called an arabesque pencil. We raised one leg way up behind us while we leaned forward for balance. Of course, our arms had to be carefully placed so we didn't topple over.

В В В  Mary was in front of me and I noticed her supporting leg was quivering badly. I wanted to suggest she shift her weight backward a bit, but Mme Noelle frowns on any talking during class.

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