“I-I didn’t get the part.” Gemma sounded as if being passed over just didn’t happen to her.
Welcome to my world, Imani wanted to say. Instead she tossed an arm over Gemma’s shoulder, squeezing her in solidarity as they walked down the hall. “Don’t hate on Ming-ju, though. She’s cool. And she’s a really good dancer.”
“Imani, Ming-ju didn’t get the part either-”
“She didn’t?” The despair on Gemma’s face made Imani wonder if she’d ever looked that down and out. “I’ll tell you what, we’ll take turns listing all the reasons they made the wrong choice-”
Her words were cut short by the pounding of heavy foot falls that were loud enough to startle them both. A thundering herd of something was coming fast and frantic. Imani glanced over her shoulder only to be quickly engulfed in a crowd of well-wishers. They were screaming at her, saying her name. Her. Name. She was in the center of a whirling carousel of faces, many from the corps and a few soloists who were shouting, some of them with tears streaming down their faces and others with smiles wider than the Grand Canyon.
“I’m so happy for you-”
“This is freakin’ historic . . .”
“You’re playing Kitri!! You’re Kitri and Hui is Basilio!”
“Hui is Basilio?” she whispered, dumbfounded at this fantastic turn of events. Hui was Basilio. Okay sure, that was a given ever since he’d arrived. It would be good press. So the speculation had always centered on who’d play Kitri. Who would perform the wedding pas de deux with Hui? Who’d wave and flutter that fan with Kitri’s coquettish fierceness? Which dancer in the two companies had the confidence to pull off beautiful épaulements with just the right croisé and effacé? Who’d wear that red hot tutu and dare to have a spit curl in the middle of her forehead. Okay, the spit curl was just something Julio had joked about. But . . . they’d said her name. They’d said she’d landed the lead role. Not just for a short gala performance, but for a whole ballet. There had to be some mistake. She never got picked for a lead role. Never. Ever.