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Dance Lessons, Charm School, and the Old Meets the New in Class Galore! (Closed: Bunsy)

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Lilac Briolette took in the electric afterglow of a long, successful day of fashion and artistic triumph. All around her models and designers had gathered to discuss the major stories of the day and congratulate each other on work well done (and well presented!). This was an energy the prima ballerina was well-acquainted with, though in a slightly different flavour. She found it infectious, too, causing her crystalline body to shiver with excitement at the plans she was hatching! And so, inspired and flooded with second-hand glee the graceful pony swept through the buzzing crowds and made her way towards the more exclusive areas set aside for top-name designers and their models. Luckily this event was being held in the Crystal Empire, which meant that Lilac Briolette, the prima ballerina of the Trillion Ballet Company, would have little to no trouble getting access to the VIP crowds. After all, in her sparkling metropolis home, the dancer was a Very Important Pony.

The shimmering mare’s target for the night was the model for the fabulous and elegant unicorn Rarity. Something about Garnet Galore’s performance had snagged the crystal pony’s attentions and demanded she introduce herself to the mare. Though a fellow crystal pony, the model had an air about her that betrayed a presence of…modernity that was truly rare amongst her resplendent kin. It fascinated the ballerina as nothing else had in years!

Lilac was hungry for a taste and understanding of modern Equestria. She had seen small samples of where their art had been pushed over the thousand years that the crystal ponies had been in their strange sleep and she liked it. She liked it terribly. Though her love of classical crystal ballet could not be swayed, the creative force within her that demanded to be constantly learning and evolving sensed the potential of blending old and new, and that same force wanted Lilac to go and experience the new world for herself. If she did, if she could capture that uninhibited creative spirit of modern Equestria which focused on true expressions of one’s own self rather than mathematically and tightly crafted traditional practices…she could bring the beauties of both art forms together in a new style of ballet! It was her newly acquired dream, and just as years of practice and patience took her from a clumsy filly to an accomplished prima ballerina…Lilac was ready to start from the ground up once more – hopefully with the help of a modern, talented crystal pony like Garnet!

More determined than ever just thinking of her plans, the confident mare with the icy-cool exterior moved through the throngs of ponies with motions that hinted at her ballet background. When she neared Garnet, a flicker of nerves passed through her, but she simply brushed them aside. Lilac Briolette was no victim to nerves.

“Excuse me? Ms. Garnet Galore?” she said politely, trying desperately to summon a smile that didn’t look like it was delivered by the frosty wrath of the north wind (an unfortunate affliction for the crystal pony was her undefeatable and utterly unintentional icy exterior).

Well, even if her introduction might come across as off-putting, the ballerina was at least dressed to impress. Abandoning her usual fondness for softer colours, the ballerina had swathed herself in flowing, rich reds. Braided, dark red silks clung tightly to her lithe form were topped with breezy chiffon of the same tone, draped like a toga that was knotted at her shoulder with a warm gold brooch shaped like a thrush poised for flight. Golden ribbons were woven into her mane and tail with elaborate plaiting, and her shoes were golded-hued as well, with modestly-sized rubies set in the front.

Her ensemble, of course, was put together by the best of the Crystal Empire. Lilac held a great love and pride for her home, and at an event that brought the modern world to her beloved crystalline metropolis, well, of course she was going to showcase the best the crystal ponies had to offer!

Lilac offered a polite curtsy as she greeted the lovely model, then continued, “My name is Lilac Briolette, prima ballerina of the Trillion Ballet Company here in the Crystal Empire. Sorry for intruding on you, but I wished to extend my congratulations on your excellent walks and the success of the line you modelled.”

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Valen- no, Garnet Galore, she had to remind herself every once in a while- had undergone a trial by modeling fire. New body, new aura, but the same job and with the stakes higher than ever for her friend Rarity. When she had arrived in the Crystal several weeks ago in her old form, she had committed herself to helping Miss Rarity with whatever she needed. Previous modeling experience as both Valen Orange and Gilded Lilly had given her a wealth of experience and an even better connection with Rarity and her style. That was why she had been offered to come to the Crystal Empire, she thought. Well, that was a half truth. She was here to be Rarity's model during arguably the most financially important event of the year and it was an honor to do the work for Rarity, who had shown such great kindness to the pony from Manehattan. But that had been just one reason she had been invited and it proved to be somewhat lesser of a concern.

Valen Orange had been transformed into Garnet Galore for a week, and it wasn't something she had planned on. It had been Miss Rarity's but truth be told that was a story for another day. the important matter was that she had a whole new body to work with, and it was spectacular. She was bigger, stronger, probably faster, and far more beautiful than she had ever dreamed possible. The biggest problem was getting used to the way she moved, as while it wasn't as if she was sprouting wings or horns or growing ten hooves high, she had a different skeletal structure, a different muscle structure, and different ways of walking in the most basic of senses. What followed was nearly three weeks or backbreaking labor just getting her new body under control, learning all of the ways that she ticked and getting comfortable with it. That was a much easier transition in her head than it had been in reality.

From the way she carried herself to the way she walked and even how she drank and ate, the differences were vast in their banility and subtlety. Still, she did it with as much excitement as nervousness and with all the help of Miss Rarity and as she got closer to the actual modeling portion of her schedule, she had significantly less tredpidation about the event. It then just came down to preparing for it and while her body presented many unique advantages and disadvantages, she had experience to fall back on. In a way it was comforting, both as it kept her mind on what she needed to do so as to not embarass herself and so she could take her mind off of life-altering events. Routine was splendid catwalks and commissions hashed out between the friends. Miss Rarity was a designer without peer and wearing her fineries was an honor, and their working relationship ensured a good degree of comfort. There were moments of high drama and many of stress but at the end of the day it was another great bonding experience. But it was just a prelude to the main event.

The day came and the Equestrian Fashion Organization's big Crystal Faire show made its claim to the gestalt consciousness of the Crystal Pony. An all day event, the Crystal Show was a unique blend of fashion show ideals. There was a runway and Garnet took her first walks down it at precisely six in the morning, but it was a small part of the show. A larger part of it was the showroom, which for Miss Rarity's designs was a twelve by twelve space where she could display the many styles she had made for sale that day. Garnet worked for more than fourteen hours, changing more than twenty times to display the many various styles that Rarity had on hoof. Walk down the runway, strike some poses, then stand by and help Miss Rarity by looking gorgeous in her designs. Her breaks were short and infrequent by her own desire so she could stay out on the floor and help in any way she could, but Garnet came to regret that foolishness by the end. Her four hooves felt like they were glass shards and her stomach was in knots, but she found solace in her work- a gentle breeziness to her trot, almost as a dancer might swim across space effortlessly before the main movements began. It was eight o'clock- almost time to leave and relax for a job well done and a new life begun. Most of the crowd had started to disperse as the selections that remained grew scarce, but a few dozen remained. And that was when another well-wisher/admirer/random pony approached the tired Garnet, who had finished her last runway of the night.

Garnet turned to the pony who asked for her attention in as many words and was able to hold firm despite the harsh look of her face. She had enough experience in the business to not wilt under immediate pressure, even though she was incredibly tired. It didn't hurt that the pony who was in front of her had a grand sense of style herself. What little Garnet saw of the pale lilac crystal pony was quite fetching, the subtle shimmering of her coat in the night cloaked beautifully as stars by some strange reflection of light. Most of the lithe pony was hidden behind a fantastic ensemble. She was swallowed by beautiful vivid reds and braided darker tones that hugged her form well, a chiffon wraparound clasped at her shoulder with a gold brooch that matched the sneaky streaks in her pale pink mane. Ribbons of gold were woven expertly into her mane and tail and her shoes held court with gold as well, little rubies adding to her splendor.

Compared to this pony, Garnet felt underdressed woefully. She was in a formal Anarkarl, a striking black satin top held at the shoulders and transparant along the legs settling amicably alongside light tan bottoms and a dupatta scarf made of sequins and lace. Stitched with savant accuracy with the top was the santool bottom which flowed out from her chest all the way past her tail and back legs, with a heavier tan work underneath. Her shoes were not as resplendent, but they glittered in a soft heeled pink nontheless. Her mane and tail were not nearly as buttered up either, instead controlled in their great length by a weave for the mae and by the work forcing her tail down and to the ground, giving her a seemingly extended and flowing tail. She also glittered as an Crystal pony, though Garnet knew this would not last. Even now she glittered and shimmered at a far lesser shine than others, and her garnet coat shone just as well, her amethyst mane faring just as well. In the end, they were both beautiful beasts.

Lilac introduced herself, much to Garnet's interest. Ballet? She had never much of an interest in it, though she had seen a few shows with the other Oranges and appreciated all they did to get where they were. In retrospect, a perfect explanation was given for her style. She even moved like a ballerina. Garnet would have returned the curtsy but didn't know how without breaking the work, so she just bowed.

"Very nice see yoo, Lilac. Heard much about Trillion, best ballet I hear. I ahnderstand zat yoo must be best, prima ballerrrina, da? Very good accomplishment. Am Garnet Galore, model of Miss Rarity," She said, her thick stalliongrad accent another 'benefit' of the change.

"Vhat can do for yoo? Ve have many fine dresses for such красота!"

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If there was one sure way to make Lilac Briolette purr with delight, it was to compliment the Trillion Ballet Company. It meant more than any praise of her successes or looks (a compliment she picked up on only through her familiarity with titles of songs and dances from the famed Tchaihoovesky’s ballets). The Company as a whole meant more to her than her own self, after all, and she was terribly proud of the coworkers and colleagues she so happily called family. And so, Garnet Galore was instantly labeled a friend and a nice pony to the prima ballerina. The fetching model even caused the small beginnings of a genuine smile, completely uninhibited by the dancing mare’s unfortunate facial permafrost, to twitch in the corners of Lilac’s lips.

“I thank you very sincerely,” Lilac replied happily, “It gives me no end of pride knowing that I am a part of Trillion. Of course, I’ve heard yours and Ms. Rarity’s names buzzing amongst the crowds today. You’ve both made quite the impression and it’s hard to miss why. These ensembles are all stunning, and you have only magnified their splendour! I can’t imagine how you’re staying on your hooves. If I had to dance all day in such precious clothing, well, I’d fall asleep halfway through the event.”

The prima ballerina paused then, awkwardly searching for words to continue the conversation along. In truth, she had no idea how to breach the subject she had come to speak of in the first place. Uncomfortably away of the growing silence, however, she blushed and charged the conversation forward. Straightforward and honest couldn’t be the wrong approach, could it?

“I- I would certainly like to browse through Ms. Rarity’s gowns, though first I must admit that I came to speak with you for a different reason…You see, the more I see of modern creative practices the more I wish to understand them. Technicality still exists in Equestria, but there is a level of pure freedom of expression I have never seen before. My art is perfect, precise, and tight: it is beautiful, and it is liberating in its own way…but I think that combining the old with the new could make for a fantastic new style of ballet.”

Lilac found her stride with every word she spoke. Like many creative types, once she got on the topic of her art form it was hard to stop her until every tangent had run its course!

“This is why I approached you: your style is flawless, and you have the presence of the modern creatives that I have begun to see popping up in our beloved Crystal Empire. I-”

Almost immediately after she had cut herself off, Lilac Briolette found herself blushing furiously. Somehow, throughout the course of her rambling, she had lost her grip on the cool and collected prima ballerina that had been the core of her identity for years. That left her feeling more like the clumsy and humble little filly she had been before she had earned her cutie mark. Perhaps that was a product of presenting herself before a fellow artist in order to beg to shadow and learn from her… Speaking of – oh! She hadn’t finished speaking!

“Truth be told, I wish to learn from you. I wish to learn current and lyrical artistic practices, and I feel as though you would make an excellent tutor,” she finished, before worrying her lip a little and sheepishly adding, “I’m terribly sorry for my clumsy rambling. It is rather out of character for me. You must think me to be a horrid old windbag…but…about those dresses?”

And of course, Lilac Briolette finished her conversational fumblings with a glamourously awkward giggle.

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It looked as if her charming words no matter the accent found a sweet home in the ballerina's heart. Garnet even before the transformation had a knack for saying something as sweet as silk. It was part of growing up Manehattanite, sweetness and politeness joining forces to create a barreling combination of charm. But even if it was partly an act, the words were true. This mare was certainly beautiful and what she knew of high society in the Empire told her that Trillion was not only the best and most prestigious ballet company, but one of the few that survived the eons intact. It was nice to see such institutions survive and even thrive and it told him that the prima ballerina was one to be respected and worthy of heeling to her grandeur. Once she started discussing the ensembles present Garnet was far more familiar and comfortable. It was true that they were spectacular and while Lilac gave a solid portion of the responsibility to Garnet, the model certainly placed the full bore of the success on Rarity. Few ponies had such an articulate yet audacious sensibility, and fewer still the drive to see it through. She was simply the avenue of Rarity's expression.

"For kind vords, spasibo. Miss Rarrrity makes великолепный dresses, I prrresent vell. Her accomplishment, her glory. I stay on hooves because Miss Rairrrity, her zvyozdochka made prrromise and sees through. Zough, is true I have great hoof pain. Vill rrrest vell tonight, da," Garnet replied with a soft, melodious laugh at the end. She was still technically at work, hawkin' pretty things.

There was a minute pause in Lilac's speech as she searched for her words. Garnet understood this well. As Gilded Lilly she had often found herself slower than she would have liked in interviews, trying to keep the prench accent that was indicative of the filly supermodel. But here it seemed a bit different, as if she was trying to keep it up. The manner of speech she had was overwhelmingly formal ad polite, which by no means was a bad thing to be. By all rights it was difficult always trying to keep a certain air of great poise and grace about you, a sort of performance that while it was obviously on airs during a show, often was kept up later. Interviews, getting onto or out of character, and generally being who you were supposed to be for the media. It made for an emotionally exhausting experience but more importantly, could leave you fumbling. Garnet kept the smile on and it broadened as her kind words flowed.

More importantly, Lilac had something to ask of Garnet! The dresses were a fine entryway but the fact that anypony wanted Garnet's opinion on anything was shocking, if very pleasant. Modern creative expressions expressing freedom better than the lilting movements of a ballet? Perhaps, but why talk to Garnet about it? Garnet was simply a model. True, back in Manehattan Valen had taken his fair share of various dance classes as part of a wide ranging cultural curricilum and it was likely that the movements therein may have snuck their way into the catwalk once or twice as a load bearing mechanism. But Garnet was no fine dancer and no expert on it or other creative expressions, especially to the degree that a prima ballerina would talk to her about it. If Garnet did try and go further than that, she would feel like a charlatan and a trickster of the highest and lowest orders.

Lilac got her groove back as she spoke and there was nary a break in the wall until she fell back on a poor habit, stuttering and stopping as a train pumps the brakes. The awkward forced nature of the smile and the slow collapse of the vener of approachability about her was off-putting. She seemed to be an icey individual trying to be warm, but all that did was melt away the facade. But Garnet wasn't above her. She understood the actions and lifestyle of a Prima Ballerina must have involved a tremendous deal of focus and effort, and that in many cases the best of the best were going to be a bit harder than diamond. It made the effort she was going through to be warm all the more appealing, as she obiously did not wish to scare the 'crystal' filly or put her off. And then she finished with another incredibly awkward giggle. It sounded like one from a horror moving picture.

"Vell, I am honored yoo vanna get my help. But nyet, I am not best suited to pomogite you. Many better, I am simple model. I dance sometime part of training nothing more- little bit of contemporary dance and ball[]rrr, but not special. I am not so divine! But if like, maybe we have meal after show, da? Eat good food see vhat ve have. I am modern creative as much as yoo past creative. Look modern enough to me, krasavitsa," Garnet said with a smile, somewhat confused by what the ballerina thought she offered. She was just a model and while there was a great amount of performance art inherent in that, she knew that it was hardly crossover worthy!

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Already tense from a rather sad display of her conversational skills, Lilac felt as though her mood hinged on whatever Garnet would say next. In a professional environment, the crystal mare was typically a shining example of eloquence, but in this instance she had lost herself. Something about being prima ballerina for years had resulted in her losing a real grasp on what it meant not to be number one all the time. Even though the dancer had never forgotten her humble beginnings in ballet, she had lost her connection to the little filly sitting on the bottom rung. Something about openly admitting that she needed to grow beyond her current position had left her feeling somewhat…mediocre, and all of a sudden her way with words had escaped her.

Thankfully, however, Garnet Galore’s professional attitude (and relatable subject matter) succeeded in throwing Lilac back on track. Her awkwardness melted away quickly, and once it had she found herself growing more curious about the crystal filly. Her accent wasn’t much of a surprise; with a bustling arts community, the Crystal Empire had always been a travel hub and many different accents peppered the streets of the shining metropolis. The fact that she was working with the designer Rarity, however, seemed a very fortunate thing indeed for a crystal filly. Though Lilac knew that Rarity was part of the group of mares who had helped save the Crystal Empire, she also knew that designers usually had relationships with their models. Had the lovely white unicorn truly spent enough time in the Crystal Empire to discover and feature such a young filly over somepony else she may have worked with previously in her career?

Perhaps it was all a matter of being in the right place at the right time, however, and Garnet Galore carried herself as any practiced model would – she held quality conversation and was obviously very capable of managing the pain and the workload that came with her work.

Finally, through her sense of respect and mutual ground with painful work to stand on, Lilac had found her stride.

“What was it?” she said smoothly, artfully touching her shoed hoof to her chin in a vision of thoughtfulness, “Dobro pozhalovat! I do recall some manners from old choreographers of mine. After a day of hard work like this, I highly recommend a good hooficure. Any hooficurist worth their salt will always massage and soothe you first to help you unwind, after all. If you don’t have a regular salon or spa that you visit I do have quite a list of recommendations. Of course, stretching will always help after a full day like this as well.”

With the sudden return of her confidence, the prima ballerina found herself easily slipping back into a position of cool, collected sophistication. She would have to apologize for her earlier fumblings, but that would come later – no sense in dropping her stride after she had just picked it back up!

“I fear you underestimate just how much you have to offer, little gem,” she purred, brandishing a petite hoof to gesture to the many fashions displayed about them, “All art forms are different in practice, but there is a certain theory to them which informs and connects each of the disciplines. Connections can be found among design construction and in dance, for example, when you look to the past and present and where things are currently headed. In a time when bodices were tight and hoop skirts were used to create a precise, sculpted form in fashion, every “artful” form of dance, be it ballet or simple routines indulged in during high-society functions, were rigid and choreographed. Now I wear a dress from the Crystal Empire, influenced by the research the designer was quick to gather from the modern world and put into her work. It is bold, confident, and it flows naturally and with my physique – similar in nature to how you made the clothes you wear and your movements contain a lyrical note of you. We ballerinas of an older school of artistry do the moves we are told, we mimic swans and lovely things – I do not know where Lilac falls into the picture. We do put ourselves into our work somewhat, but not the way I saw today. But I digress – dinner sounds lovely. Is there any place you would prefer where we may continue our discussion?”

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It was good that she understood some Stalliongad words, because there were times when Garnet did not. She had only recently been given the...gift of this voice and the accent and language that came with it, and she spoke in a manner that at times confused her. It was part of the package she had been told and still something that was a bit annoying. Then again, meaning to say thank you but saying a different words at least allowed him to learna foreign language, even if it wasnt the most effective or easiest way to learn. Maybe one day this accent would grow on her if she used that potion often enough to stay this way, but on the other hoof, hopefully she would be able to hold conversations with ponies without always sounding like she was from a faraway land. It was hard enough to explain sometimes why a Crysal Pony like Gallore spoke with such an accent since the Empire had only recently returned, she had no history there speaking to her before the Fall, and back then the area now known as Stalliongrad was just a few tundra farmers. Foal steps before she could gallop, she supposed. Garnet also agreed all around with Lilac: This was a mare who knew the right way to relax after a day of great activity.

"Zis true, very much so da? Yoo must have best vays of relaxing after hard vork. Ve must get best hooficures sometime as together, kotyonok. Your hooves, splendid!" She returned with aplomb, energized briefly by the daydreaming beauty of a good hooficure and massage.

And then Lilac started up on trying to connect the various type of arts, at which poiny Garnet started to lose track of her. Garnet had a love of fashion and a talent for modeling but she had never given it such a devastatingly insightful look. She had attended as Valen the best academies in the city of Manehattan but they weren't art focused or theater focused, they were more conventional. Some even had a business tilt, which was as far removed from art as possible. She always had a small dream that she would be given a better education for her chosen path but such was life and she had little to complain about. Well, exceept for the fact that she was only barely following. What Lilac said made sense and had a bit of factual evidence in Fashion History. The style of clothes that nobility wore often had a direct impact on the sort of dances that would gain popularity. But that struck him less as a statement of art or a flow of creative energy and more just a practicality. However, Lilac seemed to buy into it hard enough and the key to life and the arts were closely related. It hardly mattered what you were selling or how real it was, what impact it had outside of yourself or what others believed. If you bought it and made it true, then it may as well be fact. And that was enough, coupled with Garnet being overwhelmed, to get her to agree to what Lilac was wanting.

She laughed, before turning to face a photographer and getting the mane out of her face for another picture. That done, she turned around.

"Vell, I see that yoo have must have strrrong belief I can help. I vill do vhat I can, but I am zvyozdochka, da, compared to Rrrarity. I vill see vhat I offer, but you probably help me more, da? I finish show now. Ve meet after at dinner. Vhere at?"

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