Dance Daze


I thought that this month it would be fun to do something a little different, so below you’ll see a TV script as if for a pilot show called DANCE DAZE. Well, you never know and it was fun to write!


Prefer to read in PDF? Click on the title

DANCE DAZE, Part 1 – Courier

© Jane Harvey-Berrick

Rider Haynes, 24……………………………Professional ballroom dancer, currently without a partner after a long-term injury
Eva Ramirez, 21…………………………….Zumba teacher, salsa champion, Rider’s love interest
Margot Chalmers, 53……………………….Former ballroom champion, a little bit Blanche Dubois
Oscar La Rue, 51 (admits to 39)………….Margot’s former pro-partner, a bitter and waspish queen
Bradley Chalmers, 33………………………Margot’s son, now an accountant
Kington Stone, 35…………………………..Ex-con handyman who is working for Dance Daze as community service. He’s also a Hip Hop dancer
Beverley Payne, 29…………………………Rider’s former dance partner/girlfriend
Pavel Kolatov, 27……………………………Beverley’s new dance partner
Mrs. Ramirez, 58……………………………Eva’s mother
Jim Boyer, 30………………………………..Former Marine, amputee
Janine, 30……………………………………Jim’s fiancée
Dr. Schmitt, 45………………………………Rider’s doctor
MC, 30……………………………………….Jim’s wedding

FADE IN

INT. BALLROOM, EVENING

Excited muttering from the audience as ten pro couples paste on smiles, preparing to dance. We focus on RIDER and his partner BEVERLEY.

SUPER: “US Dance Championships Quarter Finals”

BEVERLEY
Smile!

RIDER
It’s a freakin’ Paso, Bev!

Paso music booms out from speakers and the camera whirls around as the couples launch into the Paso Doble. (Espana Cani, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrbkcUdDSyQ) It’s dramatic, thrilling, and a bit sweaty. As the music reaches a crescendo, Rider jumps and skids on landing. He’s in pain, clutching his knee. Bev continues to dance to the conclusion of the music.

SUPER: “Six months later”

INT. DOCTOR’S OFFICE, DAY

Rider sits in front of the doctor’s desk.

DOCTOR SCHMITT
I’m sorry, Mr. Haynes, but your anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction needs time to heal. Seven to nine months is the absolute minimum. More would be better. Your competitive dance days are over, at least for now. Most people who have had this surgery take a year off. Come back in six months and then we’ll see. You need to give your body time to repair fully.

RIDER
But I have Blackpool in 92 days.

DOCTOR SCHMITT
I’m the best orthopedic surgeon in the state, and I’ve reconstructed your ACL, but the graft needs to heal. If you stress it too early on, it could end your career permanently. You’re one of the lucky ones, Mr. Haynes, but even miracles take time.

RIDER
It’s been six months already! There must be something … rehab, physiotherapy…

DOCTOR SCHMITT
I’ve seen this sort of injury before with footballer players. The knee isn’t designed to bend at that angle. Yes, you could try intensive therapy, build up your strength, and be able to exercise. But if you try to dance competitively, lift your partner, well, I might not be able to put you back together again next time. If you rush it now, you’ll regret it.

RIDER
I’m a ballroom dancer, not an ice skater. I never lift my partner so that won’t be a problem. But … six months? What am I going to do?

DOCTOR SCHMITT
Have you thought about teaching?

RIDER
Teaching? I’d rather gouge out my eyeballs. No, if I can’t dance I’ll … I’ll stay away from the industry. I’ll … I don’t know … I’ll do something. So if I take a year off, I’ll be able to dance competitively again?

DOCTOR SCHMITT
I don’t see any reason why not. There’s always a chance. [to himself] It’s just a very, very small one.

CUT TO…

Bev flirting with Russian dancer Pavel Kolatov in a studio.

CUT TO… DOCTOR’S OFFICE

Rider retrieves his WALKING STICK from the floor and limps out of the doctor’s office.

EXT. CITY STREET, DAY

Rider stands outside the doctor’s office. We see him limping away, head down. The area becomes more rundown. He’s jostled by a group of dancers in workout gear leaving a theater. He heads for a bar. Opposite the bar is a shop selling newspapers. He buys the magazine DANCESPORT because it has a photo of him and Beverley on the front.

INT. BAR, DAY

Rider takes the magazine into the bar.

RIDER
Vodka. Make it a double.

BARTENDER
Bad day?

RIDER
Bad year. I’ve applied for every job in this town and I can’t catch a break.

BARTENDER
Yeah? There must be something that you’re good at.

RIDER
There was once. But I can’t go back. I can’t watch other people live my dreams. It would rip my guts out.

BARTENDER
Well you’ve got to eat right?

Rider flicks through the article about him “RIDE ENDS FOR RIDER HAYNES” and tosses the magazine aside as he takes a long drink of vodka. The breeze from a customer opening the door and walking into the bar turns the page to this ad: “DANCE TEACHER REQUIRED, EXCLUSIVE STUDIO, RENOWNED BALLROOM CHAMPIONS MARGOT CHALMERS AND OSCAR LA RUE”.

Rider stares at the ad thoughtfully.

EXT. DANCE DAZE STUDIO, DAY

Rider is staring at a rundown dance studio ‘Dance Daze’. There’s a small sign outside “BALLROOM DANCE TEACHER REQUIRED – INQUIRE WITHIN”. He stares up at the building.

INT. DANCE DAZE STUDIO, DAY

MARGOT is reading a gossip magazine. OSCAR is striking Paso poses in front of the mirror.

MARGOT
[Without looking up] You were sickling your foot.

OSCAR
I most certainly was not, Helen Keller!

MARGOT
Pigeon toes, darling.

OSCAR
[under his breath] Pigeon-chested, you old boiler.

MARGOT
Are you sure the advertisement was published today?

OSCAR
Yes, I’m sure! Do I have to say it again?

MARGOT
Yes, thrill me once more time, darling.

Rider enters carrying the magazine with the ad. He is not carrying his walking stick and trying to disguise his limp. Margot does a double-take and Oscar smooths his hair and sucks in his stomach.

RIDER
Hi. Hello. I’m Rider Haynes. I saw your ad and I’m here to audition for the teaching job. [Looks around] Did I get the time right?

OSCAR
Ah yes, dear boy. The other candidates were totally inadequate. But you look very promising.

MARGOT
I’m Margot Chalmers, three times United States Standard Champion. He’s Oscar.

OSCAR
Oscar La Rue, three times United States Standard Champion, as well, naturally. Enchanted to make your acquaintance.

They shake hands, Oscar lingering slightly.

RIDER
Sure.

MARGOT
Did you say Rider? Rider Haynes?

OSCAR
She’s a little hard of hearing. It’s her age.

MARGOT
I heard that!

RIDER
Yes, ma’am?

MARGOT
THE Rider Haynes?

RIDER
Um, I guess.

OSCAR
Margot, dear, do we need to have a moment?

MARGOT
Didn’t you partner Beverley Payne? Until…

RIDER
Yes. Yes, ma’am.

MARGOT
Hmm.

OSCAR
You partnered Beverley Payne? Weren’t she and Pavel Kolatov runners up at…?

RIDER
[interrupts] I wouldn’t know. We’re not together anymore. [Pulls résumé out of his bag] I’m qualified to teach all ten international dances and all nine American ones.

MARGOT
That’s very nice, dear. Super, really! Could you just give us a minute? [whispers to Oscar] He can’t dance! He snapped his cruciate ligament while he was competing in the US Dance Championships Quarter Final. They say he’ll never dance professionally again!

OSCAR
Well, no one else has limped through the door and he’s hot!

RIDER
I just came from my orthopedic surgeon and he says it’s just a matter of time before I’m back to… In fact he was the one who said I should take a teaching job … while I’m recovering. But if you’ve already found someone, that’s cool. I’ve got an interview lined up at Debbie Reynolds…

MARGOT
Fine! But commission only!

OSCAR
Whatever you say, Cruella. [To Rider] You’re hired. Let’s chat in my office.

FADE OUT

INT. DANCE DAZE, DAY

Murmur of voices. Oscar stands at the front of a class with Rider at his side. Rider wears a Dance Daze t-shirt and ballroom shoes. Oscar is dressed in bright purple shirt with a pink necktie and matching vest, and skin tight black dance pants.

OSCAR
Dancing is one of the most important accomplishments for men and women of polite society. Yes, the waltz is a social dance, but deportment and etiquette are key…

He is interrupted by a child crying loudly. Camera pans around to a room of little girls and one bored boy.

RIDER
Who wants to have some fun?!

CHILDREN
Yay!

We see Rider calmly working the room, pairing up the children, carrying the boy under his arm like a football as he talks to the girls.

CHILD’S MOTHER
[to a friend] He can have fun with me any day. I wonder if he gives private lessons?

The dance lesson continues. Kids do a cutesy samba, bouncing like tigers.

SUPER: “Much later”

Oscar and Rider sit slumped on the floor.

RIDER
Is it always like that?

OSCAR
Not at all, dear boy. It’s usually much worse.

Margot enters.

MARGO
How were the spawn today?

OSCAR
Less vile than usual. It turns out that the Boy Wonder actually likes children. Strange, but true.

RIDER
It’s not … I just want to share my passion.

OSCAR
How I’ve ached to hear those words from your beautiful lips.

RIDER
Um, thank you?

MARGOT
How many signed up for the ten week course?

OSCAR
All of them.

MARGOT
Don’t tease.

OSCAR
As if I’d do that to you, oh light of my life, joy of my heart.

MARGOT
Have you been at the gin?

OSCAR
I’m serious, darling. We have 35 new members for our Terrific Toddlers Dance Delight Class – paid in advance.

MARGOT
I must call Bradley.

Margot exits talking on her cell phone.

RIDER
Who’s Bradley?

OSCAR
Scrooge in a Ben Sherman suit.

RIDER
Excuse me?

OSCAR
He’s offspring of the divine Margot. She doesn’t like to talk about it, but he’s [whispers] an accountant.

RIDER
Okaaay?

OSCAR
He’s been wanting to close Dance Daze for years. He says the real estate value is more than … well, he wants her to sell up.

RIDER
Will she?

OSCAR
Dancing has been her whole life. Would you sell up for a two-bedroom condo in Calabasas? No, and neither will she. Besides, it’s 50 per cent mine. And I, Isadora, ain’t for sale. [whispers] Not even if you ask nicely.

Margot enters.

MARGOT
Bradley says that’s wonderful.

OSCAR
Wonderful … in a galaxy far, far away.

FADE OUT

INT. OSCAR’S APARTMENT, NIGHT

He walks around in silky lingerie and bunny-ear slippers, feeding his CAT ‘Pebbles’. He’s doing a Cha Cha to Beyoncé’s Crazy. Large framed posters of a younger Oscar and Margot cover the walls. Medals and cups fill a bookcase.

FADE OUT

INT. MARGOT’S APARTMENT, NIGHT

She’s curled up on the sofa with a glass of wine watching videos of her glory days. Pictures of her and Oscar are more numerous than of Bradley.

FADE OUT

INT. RIDER’S APARTMENT, NIGHT

He enters holding his mail, leans his walking stick against the wall by the door. The living room has few personal effects. He checks his MAIL and tosses it all, including the bills. He checks his ANSWERPHONE. “You have no new messages.” He checks his cell phone’s blank screen and then pushes it aside. He looks at a FRAMED PHOTOGRAPH of him dancing with Beverley and places it face down. He collapses onto the sofa with a bottle of beer. An episode of Dancing with the Stars is playing. He changes channel and watches football instead.

FADE OUT

MONTAGE: Rider, Margot and Oscar give out LEAFLETS to people in the street. Rider gives an impromptu lesson, getting lots of interest. Oscar and Margot do the same, somewhat reluctantly.

INT. DANCE DAZE STUDIO, EVENING

There’s a BANNER over the door “Wedding Dance Wednesday”. Margot reads a gossip magazine; Oscar checks his reflection in the mirror while sucking in his stomach; Rider checks his cell phone. JIM enters.

Jim is a burly man of about 30, with a ready smile and confident air. He has the build of a football player and the short hair of a soldier.

JIM
Hey! Am I in the right place? [sees banner] I guess I am. Evening, ma’am.

Margot perks up.

MARGOT
Oh, good evening. Are you here for Wedding Dance Wednesday? [glances over his shoulder, searching for anyone with him]

JIM
I sure am. Jim Boyer. Pleased to meet you.

MARGOT
Margot Chalmers, owner.

OSCAR
Co-owner, actually. Oscar La Rue. Delighted.

RIDER
Hey, man. Rider Haynes.

JIM
Cool! So, where do we start?

MARGOT
Should we wait for your intended?

JIM
You’d be waiting a long time, ma’am. She doesn’t know I’m here.

MARGOT
Oh, please! Call me Margot.

JIM
A beautiful name for a beautiful woman.

MARGOT
Oh, my!

OSCAR
Smelling salts for Princess Grace.

RIDER
Dude, is your fiancée coming?

JIM
No, man. I’m getting married in seven weeks and I want to surprise the hell out of her. Janine always said I had two left feet, but she’s wrong about that. I don’t have any left feet at all. [laughs as he pulls at his pants leg to reveal that he’s an amputee]

RIDER
Oh wow. Did you serve?

JIM
Two tours in Afghan. Third time unlucky.

MARGOT
We thank you for your service.

OSCAR
Ah, yes.

JIM
Is this going to be a problem?

OSCAR
Ah, well, I’ve never … that is to say…

RIDER
Nah, man. No problem at all. So what do you want to do for your first dance?

JIM
I thought I’d keep it traditional. Go with a waltz, you know?

OSCAR
Do you have any dance experience?

JIM
Does the Lawn Mower count?

MARGOT
Um…

JIM
Just messin’ wit’ ya! I can’t do the Lawn Mower.

OSCAR
The Lawn Mower is not a dance, it is a gardening implement! This is a professional ballroom dance studio where we commune with our muse. Terpsichore, where art thou?

MARGOT
He means Irene Castle.

JIM
Is he for real?

MARGOT
No, dear, just an unpleasant mirage for the last 35 years.

RIDER
Hey, it’s no problem if you don’t have any dance experience – that’s what we’re here for. And we’ve got time – let’s start with the basics.

Montage sequence while Rider teaches Jim some basic waltz steps. Margot joins in eagerly as Jim’s partner, while Oscar watches critically. It’s slow going. Rider tries to adjust Jim’s feet and posture. It’s less waltzing and more like marching (out of time) to music.

By the end, Margot looks like she’s melted and everyone is exhausted. Except Oscar who doesn’t have a hair out of place.

JIM
Oh, man! [wipes sweat] Last time I had a workout like that, a drill sergeant from MCRD was kicking my butt.

RIDER
[wincing as he rubs his knee] It’ll get easier.

JIM
Says you. Look, be straight with me… [to Oscar] No offence.

OSCAR
None taken, Rambo.

JIM
[to Rider] Am I going to be able to waltz Janine around a dance floor without looking like an ass?

OSCAR
Well…

RIDER
I guarantee it, man. You got my solid gold word on that. Practice what I showed you and we’ll work on the rhythm more next week.

JIM
Deal! Thanks, man.

They bump fists and Jim exits.

OSCAR
Why did you promise him that? He has less rhythm than a three-legged buffalo.

MARGOT
We should have offered him extra private lessons. Bradley will be furious. Oh dear!

RIDER
It’s his wedding. And anyway, I believe everyone can learn to dance.

OSCAR
So young. So naïve.

MARGOT
You sound like a jealous old queen.

OSCAR
Less of the ‘old’.

MARGOT
I remember what it was like to be young and in love.

Margot grabs Rider pulling him into a slow waltz around the floor. Rider is surprised, but after a moment they look good together.

MARGOT cont.
We’ll teach our soldier-boy together, Rider.

RIDER
He’s a Marine. I don’t think they like to be called ‘soldiers’.

OSCAR
Tinker, tailor…

MARGOT
Soldier, sailor…

OSCAR
Rich man…

MARGOT
Poor man…

OSCAR
I don’t do those.

MARGOT
He’ll be the belle of the ball. So to speak.

OSCAR
I thought that was me.

RIDER
You know, we could really build on this – it’s great publicity for the business. “We’ll teach anyone, anytime.” We should get a photographer in, get some shots of Jim and Margot dancing – blow them up into posters…

MARGOT
Oh, yes!

OSCAR
Just what we need … more photographs of Norma Desmond here.

MARGOT
You’re just jealous. Oh, what am I saying? You were born jealous, grew bigger and wore sequins.

OSCAR
What’s wrong with sequins, my little shrew?

MARGOT
If you spent as much time trying to make this business work as you do pretending you’re not carrying a flotation aid on those hips, then we’d…

OSCAR
I have the same girlish figure I’ve always had, my little fork-tongued viper!

RIDER
Come on, guys!

OSCAR
Oh, don’t worry, sugar lips. We’re just warming up. She adores me really. She can’t help herself.

Montage with Jim and Margot posing for photographs while Oscar pouts. Jim still dances like he’s on a parade ground, but he’s loving every minute of it. Then he swoops Margot into a Hollywood kiss. SFX: FLASHBULB.

EXT. DANCE DAZE STUDIO, DAYTIME

Dust swirls on the empty pavement.

INT. DANCE DAZE STUDIO, DAYTIME

BRADLEY enters, wearing a sharp suit and carrying a briefcase. He stops short when he sees Rider dancing with Margot. They’re having fun.

OSCAR
[Aside] And our cup runneth over.

BRADLEY
[to Rider] Who the hell are you?

Rider spins Margot off on her own.

RIDER
I work here. Who the hell are you?

MARGOT
Bradley, darling! I’ve missed you. Give your mama some sugar.

BRADLEY
[kisses her on the cheek] Hello, mother. Since when do you have employees?

MARGOT
[Flustered] He’s on commission. And anyway, Rider is an asset. He’s the one who signed up 35 children to our Terrific Toddlers Dance Delight class.

Bradley looks slightly impressed.

MARGOT cont.
I left a message. Didn’t you get it?

BRADLEY
I’ve been busy.

MARGOT
I’m sure it’s the shape of things to come. I can just feel it!

BRADLEY
It’ll take more than a few kids to put this place in the black. You need to move with the times…

MARGOT
Oh, I did that once! Remember when that ghastly movie SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER CAME out?

OSCAR
“You’ve read the book, you’ve seen the movie, now dance the steps”… ugh!

MARGOT
We were booked solid for months. Months!

OSCAR
It was excruciating – teaching the Hustle three classes a day on weekends. Barely more than thrusting one’s hips. So vulgar. Not a separation to be seen.

MARGOT
[aside] It did wonders for my pelvic floor.

BRADLEY
You should run a Street Dance class. Those things are popular with the under 40s. Melissa says…

OSCAR
This is a ballroom school! Not a Jane Fonda aerobics video.

RIDER
Who’s Melissa?

OSCAR
Apparently Bradley has a wo-man. Except no one has ever met her. I have my doubts.

MARGOT
Bradley is irresistible to women. He takes after his father.

OSCAR
[to Rider] I used to know a drag queen named Melissa Van Winkle once.

BRADLEY
Well, if you don’t like Street Dance, what about Zumba?

OSCAR
Shoot me now. Put me out of my misery!

MARGOT
Don’t tempt me.

RIDER
It might not be a bad idea. Bring in some new people – we could give them a ballroom lesson for free, then sign them up for the full ten-week beginner course, or we could…

BRADLEY
Who are you exactly?

RIDER
Rider Haynes, Blackpool semi-finalist.

MARGOT
Ah, Blackpool! My spiritual home!

BRADLEY
[to Margot] Hmm. I’ve been telling you to diversify for years and now Zac Efron thinks it’s a good idea…

RIDER
[interrupts] Hey!

BRADLEY
…you’re all for it. Well, it’s going to take more than a few kindergarten classes to…

OSCAR
To put things in the black, money in the bank, caviar on the table. We know. Change your broken record, dear boy. You’re beginning to sound like a Country and Western cliché. Did your woman run off with your dentist when your dog died?

BRADLEY
Am I the only person here who understands that bills have to be paid?

MARGOT
We’ll do better, darling, I promise. We even have a new client for private lessons, after the runaway success of Wedding Dance Wednesdays. He’s a soldier.

RIDER
Marine.

BRADLEY
How many private lessons have you got in the schedule?

MARGOT
Oodles! I can’t even count that many!

OSCAR
Not unless she takes her shoes off.

MARGOT
Ignore him. He didn’t have his wheatbran for breakfast. Now, you handsome scoundrel, come and dance with your mother.

BRADLEY
I don’t have time for that. As it happens, I do think Zumba is a good idea. Melissa says all her friends do it. So I’ve already arranged for…

EVA RAMIREZ enters. She’s a petite, fiery Latina, dressed in street dance clothes, chewing gum, and with a ton of attitude.

EVA
Wow, you weren’t kidding! This place really is in the dark ages. [snaps gum] How’s it hanging, Brad?

MARGOT
Bradley? Do you know this … this person?

BRADLEY
Mother, I’d like to introduce Eva Ramirez, your new Zumba teacher.

EVA
Yo!

MARGOT
Yo? What language is she speaking, Bradley?

OSCAR
It’s like being in a Mexican version of FLASHDANCE.

EVA
Cool movie. I like it.

OSCAR
What a shocker. Where did you say you trained?

EVA
At high school some. But most of it, I learned from my family or, ya know, on the street.

OSCAR
‘Ugly Betty’ does the Macarena. It’s like a nightmare.

EVA
Hey!

MARGOT
But Bradley…

BRADLEY
No, mother. It needs to be done. Someone has to save your school. Miss Ramirez has become very popular at the YMCA…

MARGOT
The Y?!

BRADLEY
She’ll bring her students with her.

EVA
Hey, I never promised that! You said I could have free studio time to practice for Salsa Congress if I taught a couple of Zumba classes to white dudes.

MARGOT
Salsa?!

OSCAR
Oh, please! [shudders] Salsa? It’s so crude, so flamboyant, so overdone. I mean, stop stepping on the one! Get some body control. At least do mambo!

MARGOT
I’m feeling faint.

OSCAR
Try not to fall on your face – you can’t afford another new nose.

EVA
It’s no skin off my behind…

RIDER
[aside] There’s enough of it.

EVA
What did you say?

BRADLEY
Eva is very talented. Maybe we could call it ‘Latin Dance Fitness’?

EVA
No, man. Ya gotta call it Zumba. That’s what sells.

MARGOT
[to Bradley] But there’s no money to pay another teacher. And I already hired Rider. He’s a Blackpool champion!

BRADLEY
You told me he works on commission?

MARGOT
Ah…

BRADLEY
Mother!

MARGOT
But he’s a champion! Blackpool! She’s just a… just a…

EVA
Better not finish that sentence, lady!

BRADLEY
She’ll work on commission.

OSCAR
Don’t I get a say in this?

MARGOT and BRADLEY
No!

BRADLEY
Just work with it, mother. Oh, and by the way, I also came to tell you that I’ve solved your janitorial problems.

OSCAR
[whispers to Rider] He must have had his monthly colonic irrigation.

BRADLEY
I’ve secured you two hours a day. His job is to clean whatever needs cleaning and to do basic handyman duties.

OSCAR
I thought you said we were stony broke. How are we supposed to pay for a janitor?

BRADLEY
You don’t. He’s on a community service program.

OSCAR
A criminal?!

MARGOT
Oh, I don’t know about that … what if he’s a murderer?

BRADLEY
I hardly think they’d send an ex-murderer out on a community service program.

OSCAR
Aha! That’s where you’re wrong, Hilary Clinton.

BRADLEY
He’s not a murderer. He’s on parole for graffiti or shoplifting. I forget what it was.

MARGOT
A thief! You want me to hire a thief!

BRADLEY
Any trouble and he’s back inside. His name is Kington Stone and he’ll start in two weeks. I’ll have my secretary send over the paperwork. Make use of him. Good luck, Eva. Good night, mother.

Bradley exits.

OSCAR
That’s what you call a verbal enema.

MARGOT
Stop it!

OSCAR
Oh come on! You can’t tell me you’re happy to have some ex-con sizing us up before he turns our body parts into trophies.

RIDER
They usually screen these guys pretty carefully. But if it makes you feel any better, I can be here when he’s around.

EVA
What a guy.

MARGOT
Oh, would you?

OSCAR
Our hero.

RIDER
No problem.

EVA
What you gonna do, soft shoe? Show him how to ball change on the one?

RIDER
You know what that is?

EVA
I know a lot of shit, dude.

MARGOT
Perhaps someone can tell me – what is Zumba exactly? I’m not sure I like the sound of it.

OSCAR
I know what you mean. ‘I shouldn’t have eaten the shrimp last night – it’s given me Zumba.’

EVA
It’s kind of a mix of dance and aerobics, throw in some hip-hop, soca, salsa… [she stares at Oscar] and mambo.

RIDER
I guess it’s pretty popular.

EVA
You guess?!

RIDER
It could bring people in. You’ve got a great space here, Margot. If they enjoy the Zumba, you could get people signing up for the Latin or ballroom classes. It’s worth a try. I’ll put an ad in ballroompartners.com

OSCAR
Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

FADE OUT


Prefer to read in PDF? Click on the title

DANCE DAZE, Part 2 – Courier

© Jane Harvey-Berrick

 DANCE DAZE, EVENING

Rider and Eva exit together. He smiles at her awkwardly then turns to leave.

RIDER
See you tomorrow.

EVA
So, what’s your story? How’d you end up in a dump like this?

RIDER
It’s not so bad.

EVA
Please! I was afraid they was gonna get out matching legwarmers, and the dust is so thick they could use it to grow corn.

RIDER
They’re okay, once you get to know them.

EVA
Margot said you were a champion.

RIDER
Yeah. I was.

EVA
That’s it? You was?

RIDER
Night, Eva.

She watches him limp away, then walks in the opposite direction. She turns just in time to see him pull a walking stick out of his rucksack.

EXT. RESIDENTIAL STREET, KIDS PLAYING, NOISY, COLORFUL

Eva walks up to her house. As soon as she opens the door we hear music. Her mother, MRS. RAMIREZ, is dancing while cooking, and the place is full of little kids, aunts and uncles.

[The following is in Spanish]

EVA
Hey, Mom!

MOM
Baby girl! How did it go?

EVA
I got the job!

MOM
I knew you would! I knew they’d see how beautiful and talented you are! You take after your mother!

CUT TO

INT. RIDER’S APARTMENT, EVENING

A text comes in on his phone. He sees the message is from BEVERLEY and he presses DELETE.

EXT. DANCE DAZE, AFTERNOON

Rider walks up to Dance Daze. He’s still limping, but walking without a stick. A black man, KINGTON, is sitting slumped in the entrance, his ball cap pulled low over his head so you can’t see his face.

RIDER
Hey, man. You can’t sleep here.

KINGTON
You the boss man?

RIDER
I work here. Oh wait, are you Kington Stone?

KINGTON
Guess I work here, too.

RIDER
Good to meet you. I’m Rider Haynes. Come on in.

INT. DANCE DAZE

Rider flips on the lights. Kington blinks as he sees all the mirrors.

KINGTON
What is this place?

RIDER
They didn’t tell you?

KINGTON
All I know is I gotta clean shit.

RIDER
It’s a dance studio.

KINGTON
Ball-ay?

RIDER
Ballroom and Latin.

KINGTON
Say what?

RIDER
Ballroom dancing: waltz, foxtrot, quickstep, tango [he pauses] salsa…

KINGTON
Salsa? Don’t you put that on your chips? That a real job, man?

RIDER
It can be. It’s part-time for now. Let me show you around.

Montage: Rider teaches two classes, one for pre-schoolers and moms, another for pensioners and a few bored housewives, while we see Kington slowly pushing a mop. He watches the dancing, but it’s hard to tell what he thinks of it.

Margot enters, eyeing Kington warily.

RIDER
Oh hey, Margot. Come meet our new janitor. [to Kington] Kington, this is the boss lady, I mean, owner, Margot Chalmers. Margot, this is Kington Stone.

MARGOT
Mr. Stone.

Kington nods.

MARGOT cont.
[to Rider] Does he speak?

RIDER
Not much.

MARGOT
I’ll be in my office.

Margot exits.

RIDER
What did you think?

KINGTON
‘Bout what?

RIDER
The dance classes.

KINGTON
White-man’s dancing.

RIDER
You didn’t see any Samba yet.

KINGTON
Whatever you say. Boss.

RIDER
I guess you’re finished for the day. See you tomorrow.

Eva arrives as Kington exits. They give each other a hard look and something passes between them, but they don’t speak.

EXT. DANCE DAZE STUDIO, EVENING

Eva’s Zumba class start to arrive. They’re all women in their 20s and 30s. Kington pauses as he’s about to walk away. An ATTRACTIVE WOMAN smiles at him. He smiles back.

ATTRACTIVE WOMAN
Are you the teacher?

KINGTON
Oh, I can definitely teach you, baby.

EVA
Class is this way.

INT. DANCE DAZE STUDIO, EVENING

Eva is choosing music at the front of the studio while more women arrive. We see Margot and Oscar peeking around the door, stunned by the numbers turning up.

OSCAR
The Seventh Circle of Hell.

MARGOT
There are an awful lot of them.

OSCAR
There were a lot of the Mongol Horde, too. I’m going home before I accidently get trampled to death.

Oscar and Margot exit as Rider walks into the class, eyeing up Eva.

EVA
What are you doing here?

RIDER
Just interested, teach.

EVA
This is my class.

RIDER
[holds up his hands in surrender] I’ll just be watching.

EVA
This is a Zumba class not Netflix. Warm up or the way out’s over there.

RIDER
Seriously?

EVA
Like a heart attack. Or are you afraid you might learn something.

RIDER
Listen, sweetheart, I’ve been taking dance classes since I was four years old.

EVA
[deadpan] Epic. Now dance your little white ass over there, or get the hell out of my class!

Everyone turns to look. Rider gives his best smile and winks at the ladies, who get very giggly. Eva rolls her eyes.

RIDER
Evening, ladies.

EVA
Okay! Let’s get warmed up.

RIDER
[to himself] You can do this.

Music starts and Eva takes them through a Zumba warm up. The ladies start peeling off layers of clothing.

CUT TO

We see Kington watching through the window in the door and starts smiling. His CELL PHONE RINGS. He leaves, but does a couple of Hip Hop moves and a fast spin.

CUT TO

Eva’s class is fast-paced but Rider keeps up easily. He grins at her. She scowls. She doesn’t notice that her students are struggling – all her focus is on Rider.

She does a complicated series of salsa moves, and Rider copies her. But suddenly he winces and grabs his knee. He quietly limps from the class. Eva looks guilty. Then she rallies.

EVA cont.
Come on, ladies! Show me what you’ve got!

FADE OUT

INT. RIDER’S APARTMENT, NIGHT

He closes the door then throws his walking stick across the room violently. Checks his mail, tosses the bills, including the ones marked “urgent”. No messages on his answerphone. Looks in the fridge. It’s empty except for beer and vodka. He picks up a takeout menu.

RIDER
[into cell phone] Hi. Can I get the king prawn fried rice, roast duck and beansprouts, and some prawn crackers. [listens] Yeah, it’s Rider. Okay, bye.

Rider opens a beer, then putters around his apartment listening to Latin music. When there’s a knock at the door, he grabs his WALLET. He opens it. Beverley stands in front of him.

BEVERLEY
Can I come in? Please?

Rider turns his back but leaves the door open. Beverley walks inside. Rider slumps onto the sofa and drinks his beer.

BEVERLEY cont.
How have you been?

RIDER
Great.

BEVERLEY
You’re walking better. What does the doctor say?

RIDER
He suggested teaching.

BEVERLEY
Teaching?! Oh. But if you’re teaching, that must mean that you’re getting better. Right?

RIDER
Ask me again in a few months.

Beverley looks around his apartment, her gaze critical. When she sees the framed photograph of them face down, she picks it up, studies it carefully, then places it face up.

BEVERLEY
Aren’t you going to offer me a drink?

RIDER
I didn’t think you were staying.

BEVERLEY
Don’t be like that.

RIDER
What am I being like, Bev?

BEVERLEY
You’re being childish.

RIDER
Why are you here?

BEVERLEY
I miss you, baby.

RIDER
It’s a bit late for that. How did you find me anyway?

BEVERLEY
Roland told me.

There’s a knock at the door. Rider opens the door and pays for his food.

BEVERLEY (cont.)
Still eating Chinese. You know too much MSG is bad for you.

RIDER
Lucky for me I don’t have to listen to you anymore.

BEVERLEY
Rider, don’t. You know I didn’t want to break up with you – I had to.

RIDER
That’s bullshit, Bev! You kicked me when I was down.

BEVERLEY
The championship was at stake! I’d worked too hard and too long to throw it all away.

RIDER
So you threw me away instead.

BEVERLEY
That’s not true! I did it for us!

RIDER
You can say that with a straight face?

BEVERLEY
Without dancing, I have nothing!

RIDER
You had me.

BEVERLEY
God, Rider! I’ve been working for the Blackpool Championships my whole life! You of all people should understand!

RIDER
You didn’t win.

BEVERLEY
No, I didn’t. But we could. Next year. We could be champions again!

RIDER
I don’t think so.

BEVERLEY
Why not?

RIDER
You have to be able to trust your partner.

BEVERLEY
That’s not fair.

Rider doesn’t reply. He sets his food on the coffee table and switches on the TV. But he doesn’t start to eat. He’s on edge, waiting for her to make her move.

BEVERLEY
So … how do you like teaching?

RIDER
It’s a living.

BEVERLEY
At Dance Daze? Seriously? That places is a joke. I heard they’re doing Zumba classes now. Is that the best you can do?

RIDER
It’s none of your damn business how I spend my time.

BEVERLEY
It is my business! I care about you!

RIDER
Right.

BEVERLEY
Of course I do! I lo-

RIDER
Don’t. Just don’t, Bev. You never even came to the hospital. Not even once.

BEVERLEY
There was no time. I had to train with Pavel.

RIDER
He’s an asshole. He couldn’t find his rhythm with GPS and a flashlight.

BEVERLEY
Do you know how hard it is for women to find a good partner? I’m 29! I don’t have that many more years left!

RIDER
Jesus, Bev! We were together – not just as dance partners! Two years! Didn’t that mean anything to you?

BEVERLEY
Of course it did.

RIDER
I don’t believe you.

The music changes. It’s a slow rumba, ADELE, SOMEONE LIKE YOU. Rider walks away from Beverley, leans over the sink, staring out the window. Beverley walks up behind him and rests her head on his back, her arms around his waist. She starts swaying to the music. Rider can’t help himself. He turns in her arms and they start to dance

CUT WITH: Rider and Bev dancing rumba in a professional competition.

CUT WITH: Rider and Bev dance in Rider’s kitchen. It’s slow, full of promises.

BEVERLEY
I want you to come back.

RIDER
I wasn’t the one who left.

BEVERLEY
I mean it, Ry. We were good together. We were great. We could be again.

RIDER
Bev, I don’t know if…

Beverley stops his words with a kiss. Rider seems conflicted, but soon he’s kissing her back aggressively. They move towards the sofa.

BEVERLEY
Oh, I’ve missed you!

RIDER
God, Bev!

BEVERLEY
Pavel isn’t half the man you are. I mean, half the dancer you were.

RIDER
It was just dancing with him, wasn’t it?

BEVERLEY
How can you ask me that?

RIDER
When will you tell him that you’re not dancing with him anymore?

Beverley doesn’t answer and Rider comes to a sudden realization.

RIDER cont.
You don’t have to tell him, do you? Bev? Bev? He already broke up with you. That’s why you’re here, crawling back to me. Isn’t it? Isn’t it!

BEVERLEY
It’s not like that.

RIDER
The hell it isn’t!

BEVERLEY
Look, you need a damn good partner to get you out of this hellhole. And we were great together. We can be again.

RIDER
I can’t believe you. This isn’t about me. It’s all about you. It always has been.

BEVERLEY
That’s not true!

RIDER
I think it is. You need to leave now.

BEVERLEY
You’re making a huge mistake!

RIDER
I made a huge mistake two-and-a-half years ago when I met you. Just go.

BEVERLEY
Rider!

RIDER
Get out!

BEVERLEY
God, you’re so naïve! You were just a kid! But I saw potential! For two years, I trained you. We could have gone all the way, if you hadn’t had that stupid accident.

RIDER
You’re a piece of work.

BEVERLEY
Grow up, Rider. This is the real world. Get with the program.

RIDER
You should leave now. You’ve said enough.

BEVERLEY
I’m wasting my time here. Call me when you’ve had enough of being a loser. But don’t leave it too long. The Blackpool championships are coming up.

Beverley grabs her purse and leaves. Rider slams the door behind her. He leans his head against the door but then sees the photograph of him and Beverley dancing together.

FADE OUT

EXT. RIDER’S APARTMENT

Beverley pulls her phone out of her purse and dials.

BEVERLEY
[into cell phone] It’s me. We need to talk.

FADE OUT

INT. DANCE DAZE STUDIO, DAY

Eva rehearses a routine in front of the mirror, but she’s frustrated. It isn’t going well.

Margot and Oscar peek through the door, watching her.

OSCAR
It’s not even mambo!

MARGOT
American style has mambo, like salsa.

OSCAR
Oh, please! American is like … it’s like American cheese – not really cheese, processed and full of crap. She has no training. Look at that posture!

MARGOT
Bradley says…

OSCAR
Since when do we listen to his opinion on dancing? Or anything? Where is your heart? Where is your passion? Ballroom is my heroin! One hit and the next thing you know I’m dancing 50 hours a week and drowning in a sea of rhinestones.

MARGOT
[unmoved] She’s brought in new students.

OSCAR
Those flat-footed plebeians!

Rider enters.

RIDER
What’s up?

OSCAR
Only the end of civilization as we know it!

MARGOT
Eva. She’s a … salsa dancer.

Rider watches through the window. He’s intrigued. He can see her passion. Also her frustration. He looks away.

Bradley enters.

OSCAR
Oh, marvelous. Zuul is here.

RIDER
Hold your fire till we see a moment of weakness.

OSCAR
Well, aren’t you just adorkable!

MARGOT
Bradley, darling!

BRADLEY
Mother. Oscar.

RIDER
Rider.

BRADLEY
Yeeees.

MARGOT
My beautiful baby boy!

BRADLEY
Yes, mother. I need to talk to you about the latest bank statement.

OSCAR
Oh, yawn.

BRADLEY
It’s precisely because of that attitude that the business is in such dire straits and why I became a silent partner.

OSCAR
Not silent enough.

BRADLEY
Mother, we need to discuss the next semester. Bookings are down. Again.

MARGOT
But I’ve been working my fingers and toes to the bone!

BRADLEY
I think it’s becoming too much for you. I’ve told you what the real estate value of this property is worth. I’ve had enquiries…

OSCAR
Over my dead sequined body!

BRADLEY
[to himself] That can be arranged.

Eva opens the door to find everyone standing in the corridor.

EVA
Bible meeting?

OSCAR
Bradley’s here to boss us all around.

RIDER
[to Oscar] Why do you let him?

OSCAR
[to Rider] A little thing called a controlling interest in the business. Also known as a bank loan.

RIDER
[to Oscar] Oh.

OSCAR
[to Rider] Don’t worry about it. We’ve danced to this little tune before.

BRADLEY
You can’t go on like this, mother. Revenues are down and I don’t see any sign of an upturn…

EVA
I have an idea…

BRADLEY
…and I really think you should…

EVA
Hey, Brad! I said I have an idea! One that will make money and get people to sign up for more classes.

OSCAR
I’m agog.

EVA
So, yeah. You run all these classes but then it just ends. You need to get people to sign up to more, yeah?

BRADLEY
Your point?

EVA
Graduation.

BRADLEY
Excuse me.

OSCAR
You’re excused.

EVA
You have a graduation party for all of the students. Everyone gets to perform for all the other classes, it’s a party, a ton of fun, and then when they’re hot ‘n happy, you hit ‘em with a subscription to more classes. Get them excited – and they’ll be coming back for more.

RIDER
I like it.

OSCAR
You would. Did you even hear what she said or were you just booty-gazing.

EVA
Hey!

RIDER
It’s a great idea.

MARGOT
A prom! Oh, how wonderful! I felt like Cinderella at my prom.

OSCAR
Your pumpkin awaits.

RIDER
Maybe we could do a demonstration class – show people what the next level would be like.

OSCAR
A demonstration dance for entertainment? Oh, the humiliation.

MARGOT
A showdance? Oh, Oscar, let’s do it! It’s been so long.

OSCAR
Oh, very well. I suppose I could dust off the glitterball for one night. But if I have to do it, we all have to do it. [to Rider] And I think Wonder Boy, here, should strut his stuff with My Little Pony.

RIDER
[looks at Eva doubtfully] I guess I could teach you a Cha Cha…

EVA
No way, Jo-se! I’m not doing that pole-up-my-ass dance. I’ll show you some real dancing – I’m gonna teach you salsa, papacito!

RIDER
No way!

BRADLEY
That could work.

RIDER
I’d never be able to enter a respectable competition again.

EVA
Get over yourself.

BRADLEY
I’ll have some flyers made up.

Rider is horrified. Bradley, Oscar and Margot leave together, all talking at once. Eva glares at Rider. Jim enters.

JIM
[to Rider] Hey, man. Oh sorry. Am I early?

RIDER
[to himself] Five minutes too late. [to Jim] Nah, you’re good. So, not long to the big day, huh?

JIM
Ah, man, I can’t wait! But, um, I’m having a little trouble with the heel lead on … oh… [to Eva] Sorry, am I interrupting something. [winks at Rider]

RIDER
No, God no.

JIM
[to Rider] She’s a hottie.

RIDER
[to Jim] She’s a pain in my ass.

JIM
[whispers to Rider] Dude, you must be doing it wrong.

FADE OUT

INT. DANCE DAZE STUDIO, DAY

Eva teaches Rider salsa. She enjoys his embarrassment, but is also impressed how good he is and how quickly he picks it up. Rider gets over himself slowly, and starts adding Latin moves to the choreography, but there are frustrations…

RIDER
Your arms are all over the place!

EVA
They’re supposed to be, jackass. This is salsa! It’s hot, it’s raw, it’s about emotions, it’s about sex. Oh yeah, you wouldn’t know anything about that.

RIDER
What’s that supposed to mean?

EVA
You seriously need to get laid, man.

RIDER
God, you’re so unprofessional!

EVA
You know what your problem is?

RIDER
You!

EVA
To you, dancing is about winning, about making money. But that’s not what dancing is. No see, people like me, we love to dance – we don’t do it for money. We need to dance. It’s in our soul, in our culture.

RIDER
You teach Zumba – that’s making money.

EVA
Yeah, ‘cause what’s better than making a living doing something that I love. Why do you do it?

RIDER
You’re an untrained amateur! You’ve never won anything!

EVA
I may be broke, but I’m the hottest dancer in the club.

RIDER
You want hot?

Rider grabs her and spins her around and drops her into a split.

EVA
There may be hope for you yet.

FADE OUT

EXT. DANCE DAZE STUDIO, EVENING

A huge banner has been hung across the entrance: “Welcome to Graduation! Dance Daze Class of 2016!”

Students of all ages are arriving in their outfits. They have friends and family with them. Even the Zumba class are dressed in registered Zumba wear, jog bras, and bright dance pants.

INT. DANCE DAZE STUDIO, EVENING

Margot wears a Latin gown from the 80s. Oscar wears a Lycra catsuit in pink with sequins and crystals. Eva wears a super sexy red dress and Rider looks hot in black Latin pants and black silky shirt slashed to his waist.

Eva stares at Oscar’s outfit.

OSCAR
What can I say? I’m addicted to the glitter, darling.

RIDER
[To Eva] You look … nice.

EVA
You’re not exactly sweeping me offa my feet.

RIDER
I…

He is interrupted by Oscar acting as the MC, speaking into the MICROPHONE.

OSCAR
Ladies, gentleman and others, boys and girls, welcome to the first annual Dance Daze graduation prom! I’m Oscar La Rue, the host with the most. Please welcome my divine partner, the delicious and delightful Margot Chalmers.

Oscar kisses Margot’s hand. She takes the microphone.

MARGOT
Oscar! You’re too sweet! And now our darling kindergarteners will be performing a Samba to Under the Sea [YouTube]

The children run on, the girls dressed as Little Mermaids, and the one boy, a crab. Rider encourages them from the side. Margot winces.

CUT TO:

INT. HOTEL BALLROOM, EVENING

Jim’s wedding

The room is decorated for a wedding, but also a significant military presence with several of the men in Dress Blues, flags hung on the walls.

Jim and JANINE arrive and a CHEER goes up. SPOTLIGHTS on Jim and Janine. The MC steps up to the MICROPHONE.

MC
And now, the bride and groom will have their first dance.

Jim takes Janine’s hand.

JIM
Dance with me, Mrs. Boyer.

JANINE
[laughs] I’ll trip over if I do the Lawn Mower in this dress!

JIM
I’ll catch you, baby!

The music starts and Jim awkwardly does the Lawn Mower. Everyone laughs, including Janine, but she’s looking through her fingers.

CUT TO:

INT. DANCE DAZE STUDIO, EVENING

The Zumba ladies are going large with I Like to Move It Move It

Oscar drinks from a hip flask and Margot seems to be in pain. Eva is out front, leading the dancing. Rider is laughing.

CUT TO:

INT. HOTEL BALLROOM, EVENING

The Lawn Mower music suddenly changes to a beautiful waltz – Dee C Lee, See the Day

JIM
[serious] Dance with me, Janine? I want to dance with you my whole life. I want to be holding your hand like this fifty years from now, wondering how the hell I got to be so damn lucky. Dance with me, Janine.

He leads her into a beautiful waltz.

CUT TO:

INT. DANCE DAZE STUDIO, EVENING

RIDER
And now the moment we’ve all been waiting for! Three times United States Standard Champions Margot Chalmers and Oscar La Rue will dance the Slow Foxtrot, Cheek to Cheek.

Margot and Oscar are channeling Fred and Ginger – and it’s wonderful. Eva seems stunned. Rider nods with approval.

CUT TO:

INT. HOTEL BALLROOM, EVENING

JANINE
[crying] Oh my God! I love you so much!

JIM
Don’t cry, baby. I wanted to sweep you off your feet and make all your dreams come true.

JANINE
You always sweep me off my feet, Jim Boyer. Even when you dance the Lawn Mower.

CUT TO:

INT. DANCE DAZE STUDIO, EVENING

Rider is standing off stage looking sick. Eva winks at him from the other side of the stage, but he can’t summon a smile.

The music starts. Valio la pena by Marc Anthony

It’s super-hot, lifts, tricks, complicated armography. Oscar and Margot look grim-faced, but everyone else is on their feet cheering, eventually everyone joins in.

Eva grabs the microphone.

EVA
Congratulations Dance Daze Graduates, Class of 2017! School is Out!

Eva grabs Rider and kisses him. Everyone cheers. Confetti falls from the ceiling. Bradley watches from the wings.

FADE OUT