“Ma’am works you hard.”

Most of the other dancers have left the studio, and Lesedi looks up from removing her pointe shoes. She’s feeling good, but exhausted.

The young man who has spoken is Siboniso, she knows from hearing his friends calling to him here at the Academy.
“And Golden Nkuna doesn’t work you just as hard over there in contemporary dance?” she teases, liking the look of him with his open smile, gleaming eyes, and the zigzags in his short hair.

He laughs. “Golden is something else.”

“Or are you thinking of switching to ballet?” I’ve seen you watching the end of our late class before, haven’t I?” She wriggles her toes, luxuriating in their freedom.

“Pure admiration, that’s all. Contemporary is the form for me…but I do see your class’s male dancers are down in numbers by at least one?” There is curiosity in his voice. “Where’s Twinkle Toes? Bheka?”

“Dropped out,” Lesedi says, wishing Bheka would also drop out of her life, because the constant calls and messages are just too much.

“Tough, but the guys you’ve got left look athletic.”

And they worked harder than Bheka had, Lesedi reflects, slipping her feet into her Ipanema flip flops and pulling her towel out of the backpack on the floor.

“Yep, no worries for the shows Ma’am and Golden have planned all over for the Christmas season.” She pats her damp forehead with the towel, then dries the cooling sweat from her neck and arms.

“Golden says they’re even looking at organising some performances in Limpopo.”

Lesedi’s eyes light up. “A tour would be so cool. I know it’s silly, but when I was little, I used to read about ballerinas travelling the world, even the corps de ballet dancers, and I would imagine I was like that…Limpopo would be a start — a small start.”

“Nothing silly about dreaming, if you put in the work as well.” Siboniso speaks with friendly warmth. “The dreaming and the work, two parts of ambition.”’

“Hey, I like that.” Lesedi stands up from the plastic chair she has been using and begins to pull her tracksuit on over her leotard. “Hawu, Ma’am has kept us late. I must get my taxi.”

“It’s getting dark. I’ll walk with you to the rank,” he offers. “Where do you stay?”


“Not so far by taxi. Me, I’m sharing a place near here, so I can walk to classes. Did you grow up in Jozi?”
“Soweto. Pimville. You?”

“I’m an Alex man, my family are still there, and I visit often,” Siboniso says, as they take the lift down from the floor where the dance studios are situated.

Lesedi sends him a sideways glance. He looks so good, and he smells good too, a lemony fragrance. She can’t hold back a smile, with the feeling that this is some sort of beginning, the start of something exciting.
Tell us: Is Lesedi right about something starting with Siboniso, or does Bheka still have a role to play in her life?