At last, the day of their recital arrived. That morning, Sugarcoat, Twilight Sparkle, Fluttershy, Rarity and Pinkie Pie all arrived an hour ahead of time to prepare. In the main dance studio, they found Vice Principal Luna setting up a row of folding chairs along the edge of the dance floor. Dean Cadance was assisting Chiffon Veil with setting up room dividers near the opposite side.
"Good morning ladies!" Chiffon Veil greeted them. "Are you ready?"
They responded with a unified "Yes!"
After a few minutes of stretching and warming up on the dance floor, they entered the dressing room to change into their costumes. Sugarcoat looked at her reflection in the mirror. Normally not one for vanity, she allowed herself this moment to admire the yellow costume she had picked out the week before. For the first time in a long while, she felt comfortable with her own petite frame - she truly felt beautiful. Sugarcoat's reverie was broken when Pinkie suddenly presented her with a small yellow imitation jewel.
"You suuure you don't want one?" asked Pinkie.
"Positive," replied Sugarcoat, giving Pinkie a sidelong look. "But thank you."
"Suit yourself!" cooed Pinkie.
Despite Twilight's attempts to dissuade her, Pinkie wore an imitation jewel in her navel that matched her magenta costume. Rarity, clad in a blue costume, began assisting Pinkie with her makeup. Like Pinkie, Rarity had opted for a matching navel jewel. Sugarcoat quietly checked her own navel to make doubly sure that it was clean.
"Either way darling," said Rarity. "We will all look fabulous!"
Fluttershy fidgeted with her green outfit. She seemed a bit more nervous than usual.
"You okay, Fluttershy?" asked Sugarcoat.
"Oh, it's just...I'm used to performing together when we sing, but..."
"You'll do fine," said Twilight as she finished donning her purple costume. "Just dance like nobody is watching. I know it sounds cliché, but it does work."
"You're also the first one up," said Sugarcoat with a wry smile. "You won't have any time to fret."
Their words seemed to bolster Fluttershy a little. Sugarcoat quietly took Twilight's advice to heart, since she would be performing her solo last. Compared to narrowly avoiding getting eaten by a giant carnivorous plant, this ought to be a walk in the park. Right?
Rarity went to work on Fluttershy's makeup. Sugarcoat and Twilight removed their glasses and applied their contact lenses as they awaited their turns. Once they all had their makeup on, each of the girls went to a rack on the wall and took a veil that matched her respective costume color. In preparation for their opening group number, they draped themselves in their veils like cloaks.
Quietly, they emerged from the dressing room, walking softly on their bare feet. They could already hear their friends in the studio chatting on the other side of the room dividers. Sugarcoat discreetly peeked between the cloth screens. Their friends were already seated in the chairs lining the edge of the dance floor. From Canterlot High School: Sunset Shimmer, Rainbow Dash, Applejack, and DJ Pon3. From Crystal Prep Academy: Sunny Flare, Sour Sweet, Indigo Zap and Lemon Zest. Vice Principal Luna and Dean Cadance sat alongside them.
Chiffon Veil stepped out onto the dance floor wearing her most welcoming smile. "Good morning everybody and thank you for joining us today. I am Chiffon Veil, and I welcome you to my studio. Our first junior class has worked hard these last six weeks, and they are eager to show you what they have learned. Before we begin, I would like to recognize Miss Luna and Miss Cadance, for without their help, none of this would be possible!"
Luna and Cadance smiled as their students applauded them.
"And now without further ado, let the show begin!" Chiffon Veil gestured behind her as she stepped off to the side. From the studio sound system, a haunting blend of foreign chanting, strings and percussion poured into the room.
"Here we go," whispered Twilight to her classmates as they emerged from behind the dividers. Their friends applauded as they stepped out onto the dance floor - Rainbow Dash, Applejack, Indigo Zap and Lemon Zest even cheering. The five of them moved as one, shimmying and circling their hips to the rhythm underneath their veils. As the string melody intensified, they cast off their veils to another wave of cheers and applause. As they twirled their veils about, Sugarcoat discreetly stole glances at her classmates in the audience whenever she could. They all appeared enthralled with the performance - Lemon Zest was even bopping to the rhythm with DJ. While Sunny Flare wore her usual mask of poise, she watched intently.
With their group opening complete, Sugarcoat, Twilight, Rarity and Pinkie stepped off to the side, leaving Fluttershy to begin her solo. Fluttershy began with her back to the audience, dancing sinuously in place as a drum and flute instrumental began to play. She smiled coyly as she turned around, circling her hips. All the while, she kept her feet directly underneath her - at one point, even seeming to glide across the dance floor on her tip toes. Fluttershy finished her routine undulating as she slowly raised her arms overhead.
The audience applauded and cheered. Fluttershy took a bow and stepped off to the side as Pinkie took her place on the dance floor. A lively drum solo boomed in over the speakers. Pinkie shimmied to the crisp staccato rhythm, giving a little hop here and there. All throughout the song, she moved with that same boundless energy she gave as the Rainbooms' drummer. Pinkie wrapped up her number with a twirl, dropping into a kneeling backbend - far enough to look back at the audience with one of her big grins.
Next up was Rarity. A classy violin solo flowed from the speakers as she undulated and circled her hips. Graceful and elegant, her routine was a sharp contrast to Pinkie's wild, energetic number. Throughout her song, Rarity rolled her shoulders and arms. Every now and then, she slid her head from side to side as she cast her alluring smile toward the audience. While she did not leap or bound, she displayed all the finesse of a seasoned ballerina. Rarity twirled in place several times before finishing her solo with a flourish of her arms.
Now it was Twilight's turn. She circled her hips to the reverberating drum and string instrumental that filled the room. She shimmied and twirled as the rhythm intensified. Twilight's former classmates from Crystal Prep were astounded. The Twilight they now watched was an entirely different person from the shrinking violet they once knew. Of the five now performing, Twilight was the most skilled dancer overall. Even more, there was an unmistakable power behind every one of her moves - every undulation, every shimmy. Twilight finished her number falling prostrate upon her knees - as if praying to some forgotten primal deity.
Finally, it was Sugarcoat's turn. With a deep breath, she cleared her mind as she stepped out onto the dance floor, her back to the audience. As her selection - a somber drum and string instrumental - began to play, she slowly circled her hips. Very gradually, she turned around, slowly and sinuously rolling her arms as she did. Now facing the audience, she undulated as she slowly brought her arms over her head, then arched backward. Lowering herself to her knees, she continued to undulate - rolling her chest and isolating her core muscles. While Sugarcoat's solo was not as lively as the others before her, it was no less impressive. Through her dance, she demonstrated the same discipline, control, and focus she applied as a student of Crystal Prep Academy. Rising to her feet again, she ended her solo by slowly joining both hands over her head in a statuesque pose.
Their friends in the audience clapped and cheered - Indigo Zap and Lemon Zest most enthusiastically. Even amid their cheers, Sugarcoat could hear Sunny calling out "Brava!" as she clapped.
Twilight, Rarity, Pinkie and Fluttershy rejoined Sugarcoat on the dance floor for their closing group routine. Another song began to play over the speakers, but it was not a belly dance song like the ones they had just performed to. Instead, it was a lively contemporary song which they and their friends all knew! Once again, the five of them moved as one, playfully shimmying to the energetic pop melody. As they danced, their friends in the audience all began to clap and sing along. Sugarcoat and her friends concluded their performance with one final dramatic group pose. After giving them a standing ovation, their friends gathered around them on the dance floor.
"I'm really proud of you, Fluttershy," said Rainbow Dash as she hugged Fluttershy, who was crying tears of joy. "I knew you could do it!"
"Great performance, Pinkie!" said Sunset Shimmer as DJ grinned and flashed two thumbs up.
"Beautiful as always, Rarity!" said Applejack, fighting to keep from blushing.
Indigo Zap jokingly scrutinized Twilight. "Hmm, you guys sure this isn't really the other Twilight we heard about?" Twilight giggled as Lemon Zest elbowed Indigo in the ribs. "Ow! I was just kidding."
"You were incredible," said Sour Sweet as she hugged Sugarcoat.
"And we're sorry for what we said before," Sunny Flare said solemnly. "Can you forgive us?"
Sugarcoat just smiled and brought Sunny into their embrace.
They all spent several minutes posing for photos with their friends and teachers. Sugarcoat made sure to get a photo with both Twilight and Dean Cadance. If only Dean Cadance could have been dressed as she was during her demo performance, then this photo would truly be complete, she thought to herself. As the others continued to snap photos and chat among themselves, she approached their teachers.
"Miss Chiffon Veil, Miss Luna, Dean Cadance, thank you all so very much. These last six weeks were a real pleasure."
"The pleasure was all ours, dear Sugarcoat," said Chiffon Veil as she hugged Sugarcoat.
After a brief pause, Sugarcoat asked "Think you might offer another session?"
"We're currently planning it," said Luna. "If there is enough interest, we might even offer it as a regular, ongoing class."
"Oh I think there'll be plenty of interest now," assured Cadance as she nodded over to Twilight, Fluttershy, Rarity and Pinkie Pie who were fielding questions from the other girls - Lemon Zest in particular.
Sugarcoat looked down at her costume, which in a few minutes she would be returning to the studio wardrobe. I'll have to ask Rarity about making a bedlah for me, she thought to herself. One in orange, perhaps. She watched as Lemon inquired Pinkie and Rarity about the jewels they wore in their navels. Culturally and historically inaccurate as they were, Sugarcoat had to admit, they were eye-catching. And rather cute. And maybe, just maybe, I will take Pinkie up on her offer the next time around...
The following Monday afternoon was one like any other at Chiffon Veil's dance studio. The receptionist was absorbed in reading a magazine when somebody entered the lobby. She looked up to find a woman she had never seen before.
"Good afternoon miss," the receptionist greeted the visitor with a smile. "Can I help you?"
The visitor - a tall woman with long flowing pastel hair of blue, lavender and green, wearing a honey-colored blazer - removed her sunglasses.
"Yes," she hesitated a moment before asking, "Were you currently accepting new enrollments for your adult beginners class?"
Well, it took a while with all of the winter holiday insanity, but I finally did it!
I strove to make each of the five solo routines unique to the character performing, albeit without going "Robert Jordan" on the details.
As I wrote this final chapter, I found myself listening over and over to the song Great Days from the JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond Is Unbreakable anime. Silly as it might sound for a story like this, I couldn't help but imagine this song (or something like it) playing during their closing group number and the remainder of the story...
And yes - I'll update this story with a cover image and a few more visuals as they come to me.
As much as I enjoy drawing and writing about belly dancers, I definitely be trying something different on my next story. Although...I know will still occasionally imagine the Humane Seven performing a group belly dance number to the Cafeteria Song.
Happy New Year!
MLP:FiM, Equestria Girls characters (c) Hasbro
TBH I'm not really sure where else I can go with another such story that would not sound like a rehash of the previous three.
Although I might still illustrate a few similar-themed pieces if time permits.