MENTOR: Marieke Nijkamp
MENTEE: Brooks Benjamin
TITLE: MY SEVENTH GRADE LIFE IN TIGHTS
CATEGORY / GENRE: MG / Contemporary
WORD COUNT: 54,000
Dance studios are for sell-outs. At least that’s what Dillon’s dance crew keeps saying. But when a chance to compete at the biggest dance academy in the state falls in his lap, he has to decide what’s more important: sticking to his crew’s rules or freestyling his way into solo greatness.
My downward spiral into the land of two-faced backstabbery started that day.
The day I posted my routine on Dance-Splosion’s website. They were giving away a three-week summer scholarship to one lucky dancer.
It was the last weekend of the summer. I headed downstairs where the lighting sucked and it had this weird, someone-farted-in-an-old-shoe smell that never went away. But it was the only place in our house that had enough room to dance. I sat my phone on an end table and hit record.
“Hi, my name’s Dillon Parker. I’m twelve years old and I go to Sunnydale Middle. I hope you like my dance.”
My heart was already trying to crash through my ribcage. Especially since I was about to pull off a face-melter in jeans. Dance tights would’ve been better. But I didn’t have any. And I wouldn’t buy any, either.
Not until I was a real dancer.
I’d know it when I got there. Sort of like how you can be feeling perfectly fine and then sneeze and know right then that you’re gonna have a cold. That’s what I was waiting for. That tingly sneeze sensation. I had the dance fever. Now all I needed was to catch a dance cold.
But I wasn’t gonna get there on my own. I needed that scholarship.
Don’t get me wrong—my dance crew was like my family. But being the only untrained dancer on the team was like being the one kid in homeroom who forgot to wear underwear—or pants.