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Hello, my name is Nihal.
I've come to read you a bedtime story and tonight is one of my favourites.
It's called Dogs Don't Do Ballet and it's by Anna Kemp
with pictures by Sara Ogilvie.
My dog is not like other dogs.
He doesn't do dog stuff, like weeing on lampposts,
scratching his fleas,
or drinking out of the toilet. Ugh.
If I throw him a stick, he looks at me like I'm crazy,
so I have to fetch it myself.
No, my dog likes music and moonlight
and walking on his tiptoes.
You see, my dog doesn't think he's a dog.
My dog thinks he's a ballerina.
When I get ready for ballet class, he looks longingly at my tutu
and ballet shoes and I just know he's dreaming of his name in lights.
"Dad?" I say, "Can Biff come, too? He loves ballet."
"Not a chance." says Dad.
"Dogs don't do ballet."
Then, one Saturday on my way to class, I get a funny feeling.
A funny feeling that I am being watched.
A funny feeling that I am being followed.
When Miss Polly is teaching us a new routine,
I think I see something peeking in at the window.
Something with a wet nose.
Something with a tail.
"Right, girls." says Miss Polly.
"Who's going to demonstrate first position?"
But before anyone can step forward,
there is a loud bark from the back of the hall
and something furry rushes to the front.
"What is this?" asks Miss Polly, peering over her glasses.
"This," I say, "is my dog."
"Well, take it away at once," says Miss Polly wrinkling up her nose.
"Dogs don't do ballet."
My poor dog stops wagging his tail
and his ears drooped down at the ends.
I take my dog home and give him a bowl of Doggy Donuts,
but he won't touch them.
He just stays in his kennel for days and days and at night,
he howls at the moon.
For my birthday, I get tickets for the Royal Ballet.
"Can Biff come, too?" I asked Dad. "He loves ballet!"
My dog pricks up his ears and wags his tail.
"No," says Dad. "If I've told you once, I've told you 1,000 times,
"dogs don't do ballet."
As we wait for the bus, I think about my poor old dog all on his own
howling at the moon.
Then I get a funny feeling, a funny feeling that I'm being watched.
A funny feeling that I'm not alone.
The ballet is magical.
The orchestra plays as the prima ballerina dances and prances
and twirls and whirls and skips and...
Oh, no! She trips!
It's all over, I think.
But somebody doesn't think it is over.
No, somebody thinks it is just beginning.
Somebody with big, black eyes.
Somebody with pointy ears.
Somebody wearing my tutu!
The audience gasps.
"It's a dog!" someone shouts.
"Dogs don't do ballet!"
My dog turns bright red and looks at his feet.
"That's what I've always said," Dad mutters.
But then the orchestra starts to play
and my dog dances like no dog has ever danced before.
Plie, jete, arabesque, pirouette.
He is as light as a Sugar Puff. As pretty as a fairy.
The audience can't believe it. "Hurray!" I shout. "That's my dog!"
When the music stops, my dog gives a hopeful curtsy
and blinks nervously into the spotlight.
The theatre is so very quiet that you could hear a bubble pop.
Then, the lady in the front row stands up.
"It's a dog!" she shouts. Biff's ears start to droop again.
"A dog that does ballet!" she adds.
Suddenly, the whole audience cheers and throws bunches of roses.
My dog glows pink with happiness.
"I don't believe it!" says Dad, shaking his head.
"Biff is a ballerina, after all."
"See?" I say proudly, ruffling Biff's ears, "Dogs do do ballet."
That story was called Dogs Don't Do Ballet.
And as we found out, actually, some dogs do.
Good on you, Biff.
I hope you enjoyed the story as much as I did.
But it's time now for you to get tucked up in bed.
I'll be back again soon to read you another bedtime story.