Friday, May 18, 2018

📘🎥Friday's Film Adaptation🎥📘: Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild

In the tradition of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Little Princess come Noel Streatfeild’s classic Shoes books. In this story, three orphan girls vow to make a name for themselves and find their own special talents. With hard work, fame just may be in the stars!

Pauline, Petrova, and Posy love their quiet life together. The girls are orphans who have been raised as sisters and when their new family needs money, the girls want to help. They decide to join the Children's Academy of Dancing and Stage Training to earn their keep. Each girl works hard following her dream. Pauline is destined for the movies. Posy is a born dancer. And Petrova? She finds she'd rather be a pilot than perform a pirouette.

This beautiful children's classic is perfect for girls who love to dream about ballet, friendship, and finding their own special talents. Adult readers may remember them as the "Shoes" books from You've Got Mail!

The Fossils became some of the busiest children in London. They got up at half-past seven and had breakfast at eight. After breakfast they did exercises with Theo for half an hour. At nine they began lessons. Posy did two hours’ reading, writing, and kindergarten work with Sylvia, and Pauline and Petrova did three hours with Doctor Jakes and Doctor Smith. They were very interesting lessons, but terribly hard work; for if Doctor Smith was teaching Pauline, Doctor Jakes taught Petrova, and the other way on, and as both doctors had spent their lives coaching people for terribly stiff examinations – though of course they taught quite easy things to the children – they never got the idea out of their minds that a stiff examination was a thing everybody had to pass some day. There was a little break of ten minutes in the middle of the morning when milk and biscuits were brought in; but after a day or two they were never eaten or drunk. Both doctors ahd lovely ideas about the sort of things to have in the middle of lessons – a meal they called a beaver. They took turns to get it ready. Sometimes it was chocolate with cream on it, and sometimes Doctor Jakes’ ginger drink, and once it was ice-cream soda; and the things to eat were never the same: queer biscuits, little one from Japan with delicate flowers painted on them in sugar, cakes from Vienna, and specialties of different kinds from all over England. They had their beavers sitting round the fire in either of the doctors’ rooms, and they had discussions which had nothing to do with lessons. At twelve o’clock they went for a walk with Nana or Sylvia. They liked it best when Sylvia took them. She had better ideas about walks; she thought the Park the place to go to, and thought it a good idea to take hoops and things to play with. Nana liked a nice clean walk up as far as the Victoria and Albert and back. On wet days Sylvia thought it a good plan to stay in and make toffee or be read out loud to. Nana thought nicely brought-up children ought to be out of the house between twelve and one, even on a wet day, and she took them to see the dolls’ houses in the Victoria and Albert. The children liked the dolls’ houses; but there are a lot of wet days in the winter, and they saw them a good deal. Pauline and Petrova had lunch with Sylvia, Posy had hers with Nana. After lunch they all had to take a book on their beds for half an hour. In the afternoons there was another walk, this one always with Nana. It lasted an hour, and as they had usually walked to the Victoria and Albert in the morning, they did not have to go there again, but took turns to choose where they went. Pauline liked walking where there were shops. Petrova liked the Earl’s Court Road, because there were three motor showrooms for her to look at. Posy liked to go towards the King’s Road, Chelsea, because on the way they passed a shop that sold puppies. They all liked Posy’s walk; but they did not choose it themselves because they knew she would. If Nana was not so sure that they must save and penny and walk they would have gone to much more exciting placesl for you can’t get far on your legs when there is only an hour, and that includes getting home again. Tea was in the nursery at a quarter to four, and at half past they went by the Piccadilly railway to Russell Square. They all liked going on the underground; but both Gloucester Road, where they got in, and Russell Square, where they got out, were those mean sort of stations that have lifts instead of moving staircases.

“Going to dancing class,” Petrova said almost every day, “wouldn’t be so bad if only there was even one moving staircase.”

As soon as they got to the Academy they went down to the changing-room. There they shared a locker in which their rompers and practice-frocks and shoes were kept. Their rompers were royal blue with C.A. for Children’s Academy embroidered on the pockets. They wore their rompers for the first half-hour, and with them white socks and black patent-leather ankle-strapped shoes. In these clothes they did exercises and a little dancing which was known as “character”, and twice a week they worked at tap dancing. At the end of half an hour they hung towels round their necks (for they were supposed to get so hot they would need a wipe down) and went back to the changing-room and put on their white tarlatan practice-frocks. These were like overalls with no join down the back; the bodice had hooks and the frills of the skirt wrapped over and clipped. With this they wore white socks and white kid slippers. The work they did in these dresses they found dull, and it made their legs ache. They did not realize that the half-hour spent holding on to a bar and doing what they thoughts stupid exercises was very early training for ballet. Ballet to them meant wearing blocked shoes like the little pair that had come with Posy or such as the more advanced classes wore at school. Sometimes Madame Fidolia came in to watch their class, and directly she arrived they all let go of the practice-bar and curtsied to the floor saying “Madame”.

They got home at half-past six, and Posy went straight to bed. Sylvia reada to the other two for twenty minutes, and then Petrova had to go up, and at seven, Pauline. The lights were out by half-past and there was o more talking.

On Saturday mornings they worked from ten to one at the Academy. As well as special exercise classes and the ordinary dancing classes, there was singing, and one hour’s acting class. For these they wore the Academy overalls. They were of black sateen made from a Russian design, with high collars, and double-breasted, buttoning with large black buttons down the left side; round the waist they had wide black leather belts. With these they wore their white sandals.

Petrova, who hated clothes, found the everlasting changing an awful bore. Saturdays were the worst.

“Oh, I do hate Saturdays,” she said to Nana. “I get up in my jersey and skirt, and as soon as I get to the Academy I change everything, even put a vest on instead of my combinations, and wear those rompres; and then my practice-dress and the overall; and then back into my combinations and my skirt and jersey. I wish I was a savage and wore nothing.”

“That’s no way to talk,” Nana told her sternly. “Many a poor little child would be glad of the nice clothes you wear; and as for changing out of your combies, I’m glad you do; you wear holes in them fast enough without all the dancing in them.”

From the very beginning Madame took an interest in Posy. Every class that she came to watch she made her do some step alone. Posy had her shoes taken off one day and her instep looked at; Madame was so delighted at the shape and flexibility of her feet that she called the rest of the class to look at them. The rest of the class admired them while Madame was there, but secretly none of them could see anything about them different from their own. Pauline and Petrova thought it very bad for Posy to be made so conspicuous, and to teach her not to get cocky they called her “Posy-Pretty-Toes” all the way home. Posy hated it and at last burst into tears. Nana was very cross.

“That’s right, you two, tease poor little Posy; she can’t help Madame saying she has nice feet. It’s jealous, that’s what you are. Any more of your nonsense and you’ll go to bed half an hour early.”

“Why should we be jealous?” asked Petrova. “Who cares what feet look like? They are just useful things.”

Pauline giggled.

“Have you pretty feet, Nana?” She looked down at Nana’s square-teoed black shoes which she always wore.

“I have what God gave me,” Nana said reverently. “and they’re all I need, never having thoughts to dance in a ballet.”

The thought of Nana, who was very fat, dancing in a ballet made them all laugh so much that they forgot to call Posy “Pretty-Toes” again, and they were still laughing when they got home.

It was at the acting classes that Pauline shone. The acting in their first term was entirely in mime. They acted whole fairy stories without saying a word. Whether she was a princess, or a peasant, or an old man, Pauline managed to make them real without any dressing up, but just in the way she moved.

Just before Christmas the school broke up for a month. All the senior girls were working in pantomimes, and for some time all those who were not old enough for licenses had felt very important. The children’s classes were moved from one room to another to make room for rehearsals, and the notice-board was covered with rehearsal calls. “All concered in the Rose Ballet, in room three at 4.30”. “The children appearing in Red Riding Hood, 5.30, room seven.” “The principals for the Jewel Ballet, 4 o’clock, room one.” And, as well, calls for the children stars. “Poppy: 10.30 with Madame Fidolia.” “Winifred: 12 o’clock with Madame Fidolia.”

Pauline, Petrova, and Posy would gaze in great awe at these names.

“Winifred,” one of them would say – “that’s the girl who wears a fur coat. Poppy is going to be Alice in Wonderland. She’s the one with the long hair.”

They would peep through the glass on the doors of the rooms where the rehearsals were taking place, and stare at the children who were already twelve and old enough to earn money.

“Not this Christmas, but the one after I shall be one of those children,” Pauline said enviously.

“Do you want to be?” Petrova asked in surprise. “I’m very glad I’m not twelve, except because of Garnie wanting money to look after us.”

Pauline watched the figures through the glass, the rows of white practice-dresses, and the rows of pink canvas ballet shoes.

“I don’t want to be them, exactly,” she explained, “but I want to be old enough not to dance, but to act. I’d like that.”

Posy could not see through the glass window without standing on her toes. Suddenly watching the ballet rehearsal she got up on to her points. She was only wearing her sandals, but she did not seem worried by the position. Pauline nudged Petrova.

“Look at Posy.”

Petrova looked. Then both of them tried to stand up on their toes, but they could not – it hurt. Posy was not looking at them; but she lolled against the door balanced on her points as easily as if they were her flat feet. Petrova said at last:

“Could you walk on your toes like that, Posy?”

Posy looked down at her feet as if surprised at the way they were behaving. Then she walked down teh passage. She was perfectly easy on her points, as though it was ordinary to walk on them. Pauline and Petrova did not show her how impressed they were, as they thought it would be bad for her. But on the way home, Pauline said:

“You know, Petrova, I do think Posy really has got rather nice little feet.”

Petrova nodded.

“I shouldn’t wonder if she danced terribly well.”

The story of three orphan girls (Pauline, Petrova, and Posy), adopted by an eccentric explorer, Great Uncle Matthew, and his niece Sylvia, in 1930s London.

Release Date: December 26, 2007(BBC One)
Release Time: 85 minutes

Emma Watson as Pauline Fossil
Lucy Watson as Young Pauline
Yasmin Paige as Petrova Fossil
Lucy Boynton as Posy Fossil
Richard Griffiths as Great Uncle Matthew Brown "Gum"
Victoria Wood as Nana
Emilia Fox as Sylvia Brown
Eileen Atkins as Madame Fidolia
Peter Bowles as Sir Donald Houghton
Marc Warren as Mr. John Simpson
Harriet Walter as Dr. Smith
Gemma Jones as Dr. Jakes
Lucy Cohu as Theodora "Theo" Dane
Heather Nicol as Winifred Bagnall
Mary Stockley as Miss Jay
Skye Bennett as a Young Sylvia
Don Gallagher as Mr. French
Annabella Anderson as a Pauline Fossil's friend
Nicolette Baker as young girl in red dress
Adrian Lester as Mr Sholsky

Author Bio:
Noel Streatfeild was born in Sussex in 1895 and was one of three sisters. Although she was considered the plain one she ended up leading the most glamorous and exciting life! After working in munitions factories and canteens for the armed forces when WWI broke out, Noel followed her dream of being on stage and went to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, where she became a professional actress. She began writing children's books in 1931 and Ballet Shoes was published in 1936. She quickly became one of the most popular authors of her day. When she visited Puffin exhibitions, there were queues right out of the building and all the way down the Mall. She was one of the first winners of the Carnegie Medal and was awarded an OBE in 1983. Noel Streatfeild lived in London. She died in 1986.



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