I was facing one of the corners of the grand hall with my uniform skirt pined up with clothespins, and my knickers were down to my knees. I was blushing and desperately wanted to rub my scorched bum, but I had to keep my hands on top of my head.
A new girl and her parents were visiting. Her father didn't sound too happy. "Five years of pricey lessons for nothing..." They stopped in their tracks. One second earlier the heels of the mother were tip-tapping the marble floor of the grand hall, and they suddenly stopped. The father teasingly chimed, and it was obviously for his wife, "That's a well punished young lady, it must bring back memories ?"
She laughed, "It sure does !" She added for her daughter, "That's the tawse..." She was interrupted, "Mummy please, that's horrible !"
"It will straighten you out ! You only have a year till your exam..." She paused before adding, "It was a severe regime, but it did me a world of good. I made the Quadrille exam of the Paris Opera Ballet, and I met your father..."
I again blushed as a tomato when the father questioned, "What have you done to deserve such a punishment young lady ?"
"I was texting in bed after lights out..."
"How many strokes did you get ?"
"I got 12, Sir."
The girl again protested, "Whipped for texting ! Maman please !"
A few days later was the big day, I was to retake my Quadrille exam. Judith delayed her flight for New York to accompany me. In the locker room at the Opera I kept asking her if my leotard covered my tawse decorated bottom. Twice she said that it didn't, and I again tried to stretch my powder blue leotard.
Two other girls joined us. One of them who had obviously notice my reddened derriere said, "Sigh! There's only one vacancy and there's a Margot girl !"
"Don't be negative ! She might slip !"
"A Margot girl doesn't slip ! She gets her butt severely walloped every time she slips !"
"You're making too much of that Margot girl !"
"Look at her bum !"
The jury's secretary called me. Judith joined Papa, Maman and Mademoiselle Margot in the visitors box. I announced that I would be dancing a solo part from Le Lac des Cygnes. "My star" who had referred me to Mlle Margot gave me an encouraging smile. She also discreetly saluted her old mentor.
I flew ! It was magical !
The jury stood and applauded. Mlle Margot also stood and applauded, and Papa and Maman and Judith !
I bowed and beamed... A victorious blue swan with a red bottom !
I was joined by my parents, and Judith. Mlle Margot gave me a peck on each cheek. I beamed, it meant much more than my diploma of Danseuse Professionelle. I was acknowledged by the Prima Ballerina Assoluta as a full fledged danseuse.
She also teased the jury's danseuse étoile after giving her a peck on each cheek. "Your days are numbered my dear... but I am looking for an associate !"
She turned to my friend, "May I introduce Judith, she is going to be the next étoile of the New York City Ballet. I will be flying to New York for her exam."
I asked Papa and Maman, "May I go as well ? Please ! Please !" Papa agreed, and invited everyone to the Eiffel Tower restaurant...
A few days later Judith's parents were waiting for us at JFK with their limo. Miss Margot had asked to be dropped at her hotel, but she was invited to their West 59th Street penthouse apartment. Judith as a dutiful young lady of the house lead her guests to their bedrooms facing Central Park.
For the next two nights it was recovering the jet lag for Judith. Then it was the day. Miss Margot and Judith’s parents took their seats in the visitors box. Judith and I were on our way to her assigned locker room. On the way we giggled as we heard two dance Mistresses chatting...
"Have you seen that fifty something woman dressed in black ? She walks as if she is the Queen !"
"She is the Queen ! She Is Mademoiselle Margot, THE Prima Ballerina Assoluta. If she has a girl competing, one of ours will be done with..."
Judith was called and I gave her a resounding smack on the derriere for good luck. She readjusted her leotard with a deep blush.
When she walked I noticed that the danseuse étoile presiding the jury saluted our mentor who smiled in return. At this level they all know each others. Also in the visitors box were the two Mistresses, and I overheard them again, "Sigh! There is a Margot girl !"
She announced her solo part of the Nutcracker, and she flew as I did. She also did a number of sauts fouettés and landed on her pointes. She alternated from right to left pointe. The jury offered several, "Ah!" Then she did a huge grand jeté. The jury had an enthusiastic "Oh!" and stood and applauded.
Later, Isabelle told her the conversation between those two Mistresses,
"There ! You now know whats a Margot girl !"
"Landing on a pointe ! I wouldn't even try that ! How did she teach her that ?"
"With a belt !"
Miss Margot shook hand with the étoile, presiding the jury, and they agreed, "A star is born..."
Isabelle and Judith
PS : You are invited to play with us !
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