Friday, February 14, 2020

Week 5 Story: Dance with the Me

(Updated story found here. )

It was the finale. Brighter lights! More cameras! Glitter everywhere! Fifteen minutes until Clara and I will dance our samba out on the ballroom floor.

Suddenly, I heard snickering coming from behind curtains. Then, constant chimes were ringing ding-a-ding! ding-a=ding! My phone was blowing up - text messages, GroupMe notification, missed calls! What was going on?

On my phone, I found the same picture sent to me hundreds of times: Clara and Elliot dancing. I could not believe it. Elliot was our biggest dance competitor. However, here Clara was spilling all our choreography to him. Did she want me to look like a fool?

(10 minutes until "places!" are called.) Clara approached me and said that I looked weak. Me? Weak? There was no way. I retaliated against her and said, "I am as strong as a lion. However, you may think Elliot is stronger. Why don't you just dance with him for the competition? You already showed him our choreography for the competition anyway!"

Clara looked at me offended. Then confused. Then sad.

"What are you talking about?" said Clara.

"Oh don't play innocent to me, Clara. I have all the evidence I need." I said as I pulled out my phone with the picture of her and Elliot.

Once again, Clara looked confused as she looked at the picture and said, "I wasn't showing him anything. Jen was out sick that day and Elliot just needed someone to practice their choreography with. Plus, you know Elliot! You two were best friends in middle school. If you don't trust me, you should at least know Elliot and remember who he was to you."

I angrily walked away. Who was she to tell me about my past? What gives her any right?

(5 minutes until showtime.) I found two of my buddies behind a curtain. Ahhhh, these were the two I heard snickering earlier. One of them told me, "Did you see Clara and Elliot man?! Why do you even put up with Clara?"

The other said, "You could dance with anyone! Throw her to the curb."

I paced up and down the hall. I really had no time left. I had to dance with Clara right? I should believe her. I saw a picture of her and Elliot not a video. But then again what about everyone who texted me? What are they going to think? They obviously believe that Clara is a cheater. Why shouldn't I believe them? I am panicking. I did have, however, Clara's understudy to step in if I need a partner for the dance!

What should I do??

To be continued....

This image, I would like to imagine, is the photo that the main character sees of Elliot and Clara dancing.

Author's Notes:

  • My story is based of the film Sita Sings the Blues, Part B
  • Bibliography: Sita Sings the Blues, Part B by Nina Paley. Created 2008.
  • I based this story over the doubt Rama had over Sita's pureness. Rama had no proof to validate his suspicion. However, when his people doubted him as king because he would take in a woman who has been in the possession of another man, Rama banished Sita. 
  • I wanted to keep the classic triangle of Sita, Rama, and Ravana. However, in my story, I wanted to make it where the two guys are both nice. Ravana was obviously evil and as an audience member, I rooted against him. However, in this case both Elliot and the main character (name unknown) whose perspective we are looking at are both good guys. 
  • In the original story, Rama did not seem to give banishing Sita a second thought. However, in my story I wanted to incorporate the main character's deliberation between who to believe: "the others" or Clara. 


  1. Hey Zhanie! (I'm trying out the TAG method!)

    There are so many things I like about this story. I love the setting and new characters that you introduced. You kept the theme/message of the story, but your new story is totally unique and different. I understood which story it was based on while I was reading, but it felt like a new experience.
    In your authors note, I wanted to know how you came up with the setting (a dance competition), so I wish you explained more about that. And what does Eliot think about the whole situation? I would love to see how he feels about his former friend thinking poorly about him.
    One suggestion I have is about the dialogue. Some of it seems a bit old school or formal? Like, "I'm as strong as a lion", I don't know if that fits in your modern setting.
    Either way, love the story!

  2. Hi Zhanie! I am going to try out the "Let's pretend" method of commenting through the perspective of Clara.

    What would you have done if another dancer needed help because their partner was sick? I know you: you would have helped out in a heartbeat. At least I thought I knew you. We have built so much trust together since we met. We have danced together for so many years and grown in our passion for the sport. I can't believe you would throw all of that away over a picture...You say you're a lion, so why are you concerned with the opinions of the sheep? Do you not trust me anymore? You are supposed to be my biggest supporter; you have believed in me even when I didn't believe in myself. I don't see how we will be able to perform with this lack of trust...I don't even know if I want to be your dance partner after this.

  3. Howdy Zhanie,
    It was interesting getting the sense of conflict and hesitance felt by both Clara and the main dude told in a more approachable sense. It seemed bizarre to me how quickly Rama turned on Sita considering all he’d done to get her back, so seeing the weight of the decision played out in more detail is somewhat refreshing – as the Ramayana really does paper over this moment. How do you feel Rama would have felt with more evidence? As in the story we really are only given any clue by his feeling of doubt coupled with the general feeling of the equally uninformed masses with whom he speaks. I would be curious to see the effect of much more definitive evidence in your telling, whether it is a video recording or more photos. It seems as though the main character is giving much more thought to the other possibilities than Rama did, so that’s at least a positive jumping off point.

  4. Hi Zhanie!

    I am going to be using the TAG method for the first time, so bear with me.
    One thing I liked was how identical Clara and Sita were. You portrayed both of them as calm when approached with hostility and anger. One thing I noticed in the original story was the work Rama put in for Sita, only to not have her back when it came to his subjects. It was really cool how specific you made this story, in the sense that it is set right before a dance competition.

    A big question I had was about the main character's reaction to Elliot and Clara. What is the background story between the three characters, and why does the main character hate to see him getting help from Clara is something I think the readers would enjoy to hear more about that. Also, what was the reason that Elliot and the main character stopped being friends?

    I definitely think you should add a more concrete ending, just for the reader's satisfaction.

  5. Hey Zhanie, I'm trying out the TAG method!

    There are so many things I like about this story, including the new setting and characters. I liked that you were able to keep the overall theme of the story while spinning it to make it your own.

    One thing I would like to know about your story is how you came up with the idea of the dance competition, I really liked it but I would like to hear your reasoning.

    One suggestion that I have is to add more dialogue, right now its mostly description and I think more dialogue between the characters would make it more fun to read.

    Great job overall!!

  6. Hi Zhanie I'm trying out the TAG method

    I enjoyed your writing because I loved the setting of the story. I had two sisters who were dancers so it all seemed a little familiar with me. It's also a setting I havent yet seen in this class so thats always a plus to read something different

    One thing you could consider is talking about Elliot and what he was like as a person. Since you brought up that you knew him in middle school you could expand on that thought.

    A suggestion I can make is actually expanding on the Elliot thing because its a whole part of the story you could expand on. Other than that I loved it!

  7. Hi Zhanie!
    What a great first part of a story! I look forward to reading how you will continue the conflict surrounding Clara and Elliot. This story hones in on the power of gossip and word of mouth. Elliot is conflicted because although he trusts Clara, the proof in the picture somewhat shows otherwise. In your author's note you mentioned how Ravana would have a mirrored character within this story, however we are not introduced to him. Will this character be introduced in the next part of your story? I think it could be interesting to use the next reading assignment as a source to finish this story-- almost like a combination of two inspiration sources. Perhaps this could fit the gap of Ravana's character like I previously mentioned.
    Your use of character dialogue is brilliant, and the way the characters talk gives more insight into their general attitudes and other traits. I would also consider adding background information about why and what they are dancing for.
    Good luck with future revisions, and I enjoyed reading this story!

  8. Hey Zhanie, I'm gonna give the "Let's Pretend" Method a try, as one of the buddies who was snickering behind the curtain:

    Hey man, you could have just asked what was up. I mean, yeah we saw her dancing with Elliot but that was really it...and I can't exactly prove it was any more or less than just a dance, but still, it wouldn't have hurt to pick my brain 'cause I think you overreacted a little dude. We were just trying to be petty and spread rumors because the two of you are such perfect partners that it was kind of...annoying. But really, we don't KNOW that she cheated on you. Give her a chance! Go talk to her and see what really happened, instead of just yelling over her then storming out! Don't take the easy out and use Clara's understudy, you know she's not as good of a need Clara back.

  9. Hey Zhanie. I really loved the way you conveyed the emotions of the characters to the reader. I really enjoyed how I felt for the main character at first and then there was a twist when Clara gave her point of view. I wonder if you had added more context to why the characters were dancing and what competition they were at if it would add to the story. I think that you could add more conversational dialogue between the main character and his friends so that maybe the reader could get a better idea on what he's thinking and contemplating. I really enjoyed your story.