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Authors: Harriet Castor

Dance-off!

BOOK: Dance-off!
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Harriet Castor

Dedication

Take your partner by the hand…
Fling her high and watch her land!

Hey, can I grab you for this one? I’ve been looking for you everywhere. It’s Rosie – remember me? Course you do! Woah, watch out for Kenny! When she gets on the dance floor, you have to keep out of the way – she’s like some crazy firework, shooting off in all directions. And just look at Frankie go! She’s strutting her stuff like she’s on the telly – she could be one of the Sugababes.

Hang on, maybe we should sit out for a
minute, so I can fill you in on all the goss. The last day of term is always a bit crazy, but you won’t believe what’s happened this time. You’ll be on the edge of your seat when I tell you, I guarantee it.

Talking of seats, let’s park ourselves on these chairs. We need a quiet corner or Fliss’ll hop over and butt in, cos it’s such a great story and she reckons she stars in it. I know she’s dying to tell you everything, but I found you first!

You remember us all, don’t you? The Sleepover Club. There’s me, of course, and Fliss – Felicity Sidebotham, if you want to be formal. Poor Fliss – her surname makes the M&Ms snigger, but don’t worry, we’re always thinking of ways to get back at them for it. The M&Ms – that’s Emma Hughes and Emily Berryman (yeuch!) – are our worst enemies at school.

Then there’s Frankie. You can never miss her, she’s so loud and funny, and dressed up in mad clothes half the time. She’ll boss you around too, given the chance! And Kenny – Laura McKenzie to the teachers, but don’t call her that
or she’ll karate-chop you! Kenny’s wild. She’s football-crazy, for a start, and always coming up with outrageous schemes too. You’ve got to watch her, especially when the M&Ms are nearby. There’s nothing Kenny wouldn’t do!

Last but not least there’s Lyndz. Look – she’s over there, dancing with Frankie. Laughing Lyndz she should be called, cos she’s always cheerful and loves giggling. Except with Lyndz, two seconds of giggling turns into hiccups, and that’s that!

As the Sleepover Club we have the coolest time staying at each other’s houses every week. The Trouble Club, my brother Adam calls us – what a cheek! Except, when you’ve heard what’s just happened to us, I guess you might agree with him…

It all started a few weeks ago, in the middle of a history lesson (yawn!), when Frankie started squealing. Now Frankie’s not one to make a
fuss about nothing, so when I heard her making that noise –

“Aieee!”

– and saw her leap out of her chair as if she had a party popper up her bottom, I thought something major had happened, like the M&Ms had put slimy slugs in her socks.

“Francesca Thomas, whatever is the matter?” said our teacher, Mrs Weaver.

Frankie had her fingers in the back of her collar, and she was jumping up and down as if she was trying to shake something out of her clothes.

“What did you put down her neck?” Kenny yelled at the M&Ms, who had been sitting right behind Frankie.

“Laura, sit down!” barked Mrs Weaver.

“Nothing,
stoo
-pid,” smirked Emma ‘the Queen’ Hughes. “We always knew she had ants in her smelly pants.”

I could see Kenny seething at that. The M&Ms are so snooty and babyish, it’s just
gross. Then I saw it.
Plip
! A big splodge of water landing on Frankie’s chair. I looked up.

“Mrs Weaver!” I said, pointing up to the ceiling. “Something’s dripping!”

It turned out that the classroom roof had sprung a leak right over Frankie’s chair, and it had dripped ice-cold water down the back of her neck. Mrs Weaver cheerfully sent Danny McCloud to get a bucket from the cleaners’ cupboard. It was weird. She usually got really narked about stuff like this.

Frankie had to move seats. “What’s got into Weaver?” she whispered to me as she went by.

“P’rhaps she’s won the lottery,” I hissed back.

“She wouldn’t be giving us a history lesson if she had,” muttered Lyndz, who was sitting next to me. “She’d be in Barbados by now.”

Just the mention of Barbados made me go all dreamy – thinking of hot sun, and sandy beaches and palm trees, or whatever they have over there. We used to go on ace holidays abroad when Mum and Dad were still together.
Since they split up and Mum started college, though, we can’t afford it, worse luck. So here I was, stuck with my dreams on a wet wintry Wednesday in Cuddington.

But not everyone was feeling grumpy. When the bell was about to go for break Mrs Weaver said, with a big smile on her face, “I have some really exciting news.”

“I knew it!” I heard Kenny mutter. “She’s got engaged to Prince William!”

Lyndz snorted into her pencil case. I thought she was going to get the giggles, but Mrs Weaver gave her a stern look.

Then Mrs Weaver unrolled a glossy poster and pinned it up on the classroom wall.

Fliss gasped. Kenny groaned. The poster said
British National Ballet
on it, and showed a picture of two dancers in sparkly costumes. The woman was standing on her toes and wearing a tiara. No wonder Fliss was excited. Anything princessy is right up her street.

“Are we going on a trip?” asked Alana ‘Banana’
Palmer, one of the M&Ms’ geeky friends.

“Better than that,” said Mrs Weaver. “The British National Ballet is coming to us! The company’s performing in Leicester at the moment, and two of its dancers will be spending the whole day at Cuddington Primary tomorrow, as part of their ‘Theatre in Education’ project. They’ll take each class for a workshop, and then at the end of the afternoon they’ll give a demonstration in the school hall.”

“But isn’t a workshop where you do woodwork and stuff?” asked Danny McCloud.

“Will we have to wear a tutu and pink shoes?” Alana shouted out.

“Yeah, even the boys!” laughed Frankie.

“Now wait a minute,” said Mrs Weaver. “Let me explain. This is a
different
sort of workshop, Danny, and no, Alana, there’ll be no special clothes required. You’ll just need your P.E. kit. It’ll be like those ‘Music and Movement’ lessons we have instead of P.E. on wet days, except that the dancers will be in charge instead of me.”

“Well, this is just
awesome
,” said Kenny sarcastically, when the bell had finally gone and the five of us were clustered round her desk. It was a wet break, so everyone had to stay in the classroom. Mr Pownall, the other Year 6 teacher, was supervising us. “Just because Weaver likes ballet, why does she have to inflict it on the rest of us? They’ll have us prancing around pretending to be fairies, I bet. I wish we were having a couple of Leicester City players to visit instead.” (Oh – Kenny is a major fan of Leicester City Football Club. Did I forget to tell you?)

“It’ll be excellent!” said Fliss. “I’ve never seen real live dancers close-up before. I wonder if they’ll bring proper costumes with them…” She took the top off Kenny’s new silver pen and started doodling, designing some sort of weird ballet outfit.

“You might get to dance with Ryan Scott, Fliss,” suggested Frankie in a silky, tempting voice. “He’d make such a good prince, don’t you think?” Fliss looked up with a sudden eager
expression, and the rest of us cracked up laughing.

“You’re all horrible!” she scowled, turning pink and hunching over her drawing again. She was bent so low, her nose was practically touching it.

“Ohmigosh, forget all that. There’s something much more exciting!” said Kenny suddenly, smacking herself on the forehead. “I can’t believe I haven’t told you yet!”

“What, what?” said Lyndz.

“My folks said we can have a sleepover at my place this Friday!”

“Way to go!” Frankie yelled, and we all did high fives and had a group hug. We hadn’t had a sleepover for a few weeks and we’d been missing them badly.

“Let’s make it a themed one!” I said.

“Yes – ballet!” said Fliss straight away.

“Noooo!” wailed the rest of us.

“Oh, it’s the babies, squealing about nothing again,” said a drawling voice right by us. It was the Queen and the Goblin – the M&Ms in other
words – leering smugly at us like a couple of Hallowe’en masks.

“Hey, Thomas, I always thought you were a real drip,” sneered Emily ‘the Goblin’ Berryman, nodding at the bucket on Frankie’s chair, “but you really proved it today.”

A couple of their cronies laughed at this, and it made Frankie fume. “No one could be drippier than you two lamebrains,” she said. But the M&Ms had already turned their backs and stalked off across the classroom.

“The M&Ms are asking for it,” announced Kenny darkly. “Distract them for me – quick!”

Kenny’s always doing this, and it teaches you to think on your feet, I can tell you! I was the one with the inspiration this time. While the others just looked a bit stunned – and Fliss looked nervous too (she worries about Kenny’s mad revenge schemes) – I marched over to the bucket on Frankie’s chair and, gasping, yelled out, “Emma! Emily! Isn’t this your drawing?”

BOOK: Dance-off!
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