Dance with the Billionaire

By: Charlotte Eve

And in that pause, as I stand there in front of the audition panel, about to perform, I check out each of them in turn.

To the left, a guy in his late twenties or early thirties maybe, asymmetric bleach-blonde hair and neon pink glasses. I know the type. Next to him, a woman who must be in her sixties. She’s rocking a severe white bob. I can tell she’s the kind of woman who’s always been fashionable, without ever having to try. And sitting to the right of her is Maurice Ryman.

Back in the day, so I’ve been told, he was kind of a big deal. He looks a little older than in the photos I’ve seen of him, his hair a little greyer, his skin a little more tanned, but it’s definitely him. I knew he worked here, but I didn’t know he was going to be on the audition panel.

“Well, Miss Tate,” he says, busting me out of my trance. “If you’d like to begin?”

I give a nod to the assistant, who hits the play button on the stereo, and then I’m dancing – spinning, pirouetting, jumping – giving this panel all of my best, baddest moves. I dance like my life depends on it, and you know what? It kind of feels like it does. After all, this is my final shot – my only chance at this scholarship. I really fucking need this.

And as always, as I move to the music, I feel that energy and joy flow through me, too. Even at a high-stakes audition like this, it’s still happening: that magic, that feeling of total release, of complete freedom.

Before I know it, the last note of the song has sounded, and I’ve landed my final move.

I dare a quick glance up at the panel, but their faces give absolutely nothing away.

And as I’m getting back to my feet, it’s Maurice Ryman who finally says something, his tanned face breaking into the tiniest of smiles. “Very good, Miss Tate. You have good technique and a great figure. You’ve obviously worked extremely hard for this.”

“Thank you,” I say, still catching my breath.

I can’t believe he’s just complimented me. I mean, he’s danced all over the world, for some of the best companies. If he thinks I’m good, then surely I must be in with a chance, right?

“We’ll be in touch,” he says with a final enigmatic smile, his eyes catching mine, as if he’s tying to tell me something.


I’m woken up the next morning not by my usual alarm, but by my cell phone chirping loudly on the little table next to my single bed. It’s a local number, but not one I recognize.

“Hello?” I answer, trying not to give away the fact that I was fast asleep just a moment ago.

“Julia, this is Maurice Ryman calling.”

Holy crap. This is it.

“I was wondering if you were free to come into the school today?”

“Of course!” I blurt out.

“Great,” he says. “My office is on the upper floor, room 201. How does 2pm sound?”

“It sounds great!” I reply, too excited to play it cool.

I’m waiting for him to say more, to tell me I’ve got the place, but instead he just says, “Fantastic. I’ll see you then,” and hangs up the phone, leaving me sitting there in bed, my hair all crazy angles from sleep, suddenly wide awake and buzzing with excitement but still so unsure what this means.

Have I got the scholarship or what?!

Why the hell didn’t I just outright ask him?

I guess I’ll find out this afternoon.

As I get out of bed and head towards the bathroom, I tell myself it’s gotta be good news. It has to be, right? I mean, why would he ask me to come in if I hadn’t got the scholarship ...


I walk down the long, wood-paneled corridor passing what seems like hundreds of office doors until I reach the one I’m after, double-checking the name panel: Maurice Ryman. I can hear music coming from inside, it’s classical, I’m not sure what, and when I knock there’s a pause and then the music stops.

A moment later the door opens, and there he is, dressed in a cream linen shirt, a few buttons undone, his tanned chest visible beneath. For an older guy, he’s in great shape. He no longer dances professionally but he still teaches a lot of classes here.

“Julia!” he says warmly when he sees me. “Come in ...”

I follow him into the small office, which is crammed with books and papers. The walls are covered with framed posters from some of the many productions he’s danced in over the years – Paris, Rome, Tokyo; he must have been everywhere.

As I excitedly scan the pictures, I think: Maybe that could be me one day, really seeing the world ...

I take a seat as he closes the door, and then he heads back around behind his desk and sits down, staring straight at me, resting his clasped hands on the desk in front of him. His face grows serious, and I feel like he’s gonna tell me that I didn’t get the place after all.

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