Showcase night has finally arrived. Khaya waits nervously behind the curtain, peeping through the crack to watch as his peers perform. 

“All right! Positions everyone, it’s time for the showstopper,” Mr Rowland says, snapping his fingers.

Khaya peeks out into the crowd, spotting Thando and his parents sitting right in front. Somehow seeing them there makes him a little more nervous. 

Now, ” Mr Rowland says, and gives him a slight shove. 

Khaya and his group stand in their positions behind the curtain. The lights on the stage go out, leaving the theatre pitch black.

The crowd falls silent. 

The hip-hop beat drops, blasting through the theatre, as the curtain is raised and the stage lights light up.

The crowd cheers as the performances begin to dance, moving  over the stage, krumping to the beat. They regroup in the centre, imitating a street dance battle, and the dancers start to freestyle. Whistles and loud cheers from the audience ring out through the theatre. With everyone focused on the battle, Khaya slips backstage, scrambling in the darkness. He changes into his solo dance outfit. 

As Khaya tightens the laces of his ballet shoes,  he can’t help but smile. The moment he has been waiting for so long has  finally arrived. 


Khaya stands in the middle of the stage under the cover of darkness, listening to the audience chatter. He is in position: right foot in front of his left, left arm in  the air , the other raised halfway by his side. 

The spotlight thunks to life. 

The crowd falls  into a hush. 

The sound of “Ave Maria” fills the room. 

Right foot forward, he jumps into a spin, gracefully landing on the side of the stage. He can feel the gaze of the audience on him. His heart still beats hard against his chest. He thinks about his parents in the audience, wondering what they think of his dancing.

Khaya moves across the stage, the spotlight following, gracefully landing every move. As the song nears its end, he gears up for the move that looked so effortless in his dream. Breathing in deeply, he leaps     .


He spins. 

Coming down, he bends his knees, just a touch, and this time he sticks the landing. 

Nailed it. 

The audience bursts into a loud cheer, giving him a standing ovation. As the cheering and clapping begins to stop, one person in the audience continues  to applaud. 

The theatre is too dark to see who it is. But as the main lights  go up, Khaya sees his father standing and clapping with a proud smile on his face. Khaya takes a bow, tears welling up. The rest of the performers join Khaya on stage. Together, they give a final bow as the crowd erupts in another round of applause and cheers. 


Khaya, his parents, and Thando stand in the foyer of the theatre, the excitement of the night still buzzing in the air.

“Bro! You were so good. You were perfect, actually,”  Thando says, hugging him.

Next to hug him was his mother. “You were great, my child, so beautiful,” she says

Khaya sticks out his hand to shake his father’s. His father stares at him for a moment before pulling him into a tight hug. 

“You were wonderful, son. Well done,”  he says.

Khaya’s father had never been a man of emotions. The sudden embrace from his father shocks Khaya, but he is so happy to be receiving it. 

“We also brought something for you,”  Khaya’s father says

His mother reaches into her bag and pulls out the Step-Up DVD, handing it to him. Khaya jumps for joy, hugging his parents. 

Mr Rowland and a woman walk up to them.

“Khaya, I’d like to introduce you to someone very important. This is Cynthia, from the Dance Academy.” 

“The Dance Academy, as in the London academy?”  Khaya questions.

“Yes, it’s a pleasure to meet you. Your teacher invited me to watch this year’s showcase — he promised me an amazing show full of talent —  and I must say, I am very happy that I did. I was particularly impressed by your solo. You were incredible out there,”  the woman says  with a smile.

“Wow! Thank you so much.” Khaya is stunned.

“The pleasure is mine. Now, as you may know, every year, we give a certain number of students from around the world a scholarship to study at the academy. With your permission, I would like to nominate you to the board for next year’s selection.”     

“I, uhm, wow… I don’t know what to say.”  He turns around to look at Thando and his parents, who are smiling proudly back at him.

“Do what your heart tells you, son,” his father says    

“Yes! Yes! Oh my god. Yes!”     

“Amazing! You would still have to audition, but we’ll discuss everything, maybe over lunch. Here, take my card, and give me a call so we can set up a meeting,”  Cynthia says.

As Cynthia and Mr Rowland walk away, Khaya can’t contain himself. He begins jumping up and down. He could never have imagined that this would happen. Everything feels surreal. His family and Thando surround him in a massive hug. Cocooned by their support, Khaya realises that moment was indeed real and that his dream is now a reality.

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