Fanny makes a noise between a hmm and a hmph and taps just below Michelle's kneecap with her cane.
"Are we communicating with one-syllable grunts now?"
"Your form is sloppy."
Michelle pulls a face, not caring that Fanny will definitely see it. "And you're the one who hired me as a teacher. What will the dancers say in the face of such a scandal? Madame Fanny's young protege steps onto the stage with sloppy form!" (She adjusts her stance and plies deeper.)
"And suddenly we've upgraded from daughter-in-law to protege."
"I don't know about any upgrade."
"Well, regardless of your status, you need to watch your left knee." Fanny's cane hits the floor in syncopation to the slow classical piano filling the studio. Theirs are the only two figures reflected in the mirrors, Michelle in yoga pants and a hot pink tank top that reads DANGER in bright blue, Fanny wearing an elaborate series of what appear to be handkerchiefs.
"Need I remind you that the only reason I'm here is a bizarre series of events and a dash of kismet."
"And which is my son? The bizarre series of events or the kismet?" Franny arches an eyebrow, nonplussed. She looks away. "Was. Which was my son."
Michelle slouches. "I didn't get that far."
Out comes the cane again, tapping at Michelle's calf this time, and she's happy enough for the distraction that she heeds the notice, turning her feet out that much more, bending gently, gripping the barre.
"No," says Fanny, "that's absolutely wrong, and I hope your teachers are embarassed on your behalf." She leans the cane against the barre and sets both hands on Michelle's hips before she can freeze mid-plie. "Bend," says Fanny, gently this time, her voice startlingly close to Michelle's ear.
Fanny tugs at her hips, shifting Michelle's balance off-center and she wobbles, holds on to the barre for dear life. "Better," says Fanny, murmuring now, moving them together, her hands strong and sure. Michelle, nothing of the sort.
"Do you help all of your students like this, because no offense but this is a little more hands-on than I'm used to, and some of your students, those girls, they're really young and like, you know, super impressionable and--whoa, bad touch, right?"
"You're like one of those horrible machines. Those creatures who talk and talk but it isn't English and the children end up leaving them everywhere and they just chatter away--"
"If you say so."
They haven't moved. The music swells.