I finally updated! Hope you like it. Thank you to all of my reviewers. You really helped me out. I'll try not to make you wait as long for the next chapter. The song is called "Dancing" by Elisa. Here is the Youtube link to the song. .com/watch?v=zpbVrqezAgc. Here is the Youtube link to the dance. .com/watch?v=T2pV7_16RoY&feature=related. It's with Kameron and Lacey. It's such a beautiful dance I couldn't help but use it with Herc and Xena. Enjoy!

Chapter 7: Contemporary

The main ballroom was enormous with cathedral ceilings and different elevated seats. Lady Mia was speaking with band members who were set up on the far north end. She was a middle-aged short woman with very short blunt hair. She dressed in all black with a small black cap adorning her head. Xena and Hercules arrived and approached the woman.

"Oh good you're here," she said with a smile.

"Lady Mia, it's nice to meet you," Hercules said as he shook her hand.

"Yes, it's quite nice to make a connection with you two as well," she said as she grasped both their hands in greeting. "Please won't you take a seat?" She led them to the front row of seats in front of the band.

"Are we practicing in here today," Xena asked.

"No. I believe that before you learn to move your feet you must learn to move your heart. You see, dancing is not just about the steps but about the experience that you create. You want to show the audience the emotions in the performance. You want to make them feel something," Lady Mia explained while gesturing gracefully.

Sounds like something Gabrielle would say, Xena thought.

"So how do we achieve that," Hercules asked curiously.

"First, we must listen to the music and let it transport us to another place. We must listen and feel what the music wants us to feel."

Hercules and Xena look at each other questioningly. Hercules shrugged while Xena raised an eyebrow.

"I'll have the band play the music for you. I want you two to sit here and listen to the music. Listen to the lyrics. Open your body and soul and feel the music flow through you. Let the music communicate with you," Lady Mia said noticing their hesitation. She turned and quietly walked toward the band.

Great, Xena thought. She was uncomfortable with the idea of showing her emotions. She was very good at keeping them out of public view. Now it seemed as though she would either have to let her guard down for an entire audience or try to be a really good actress. I guess acting wouldn't be too hard to pull off.

The music gently started. A slow deliberate melody of three notes began to play. Middle, down, middle, up, middle, down, middle up, the notes played. The percussion kicked in lightly adding to the mood. A slender brunette stepped forward to sing.

Time is gonna take my mind
and carry it far away where I can fly
The depth of life will dim my temptation to live for you
If I were to be alone silence would rock my tears
'cause it's all about love and I know better
How life is a waving feather

So I put my arms around you around you
And I know that I'll be leaving soon
My eyes are on you they're on you
And you see that I can't stop shaking

No, I won't step back but I'll look down to hide from your eyes
'cause what I feel is so sweet and I'm scared that even my own breath
Oh could burst it if it were a bubble
And I'd better dream if I have to struggle

So I put my arms around you around you
And I hope that I will do no wrong
My eyes are on you they're on you
And I hope that you won't hurt me

I'm dancing in the room as if I was in the woods with you
No need for anything but music
Music's the reason why I know time still exists
Time still exists
Time still exists
Time still exists

So I just put my arms around you around you
And I hope that I will do no wrong
My eyes are on you they're on you
And I hope that you won't hurt me
my arms around you they're around you
And I hope that I will do no wrong
My eyes are on you they're on you
they're on you

My eyes

Xena and Hercules sat there motionless as they listened intently to the music. The melody and lyrics flowed through Xena. She was suddenly transported to another place and time. Memories with Hercules flooded her thoughts. They were so clear. She could see them all happening right in front of her. He was sitting across the campfire joking and smiling her favorite smile. He was sleeping on a fur just a few feet from hers, his skin glowing in the firelight. The inner struggle and heartache knowing she must leave him and atone for her crimes. Her heart raced though her breathing stayed calm. Hercules was having a similar reaction. He too was thinking of Xena and their time together. He could remember everything, every touch, every taste, every smell. The feeling of being whole, of being with the one he loves. They were both so caught up in their own experiences they didn't even notice the music had ended until Lady Mia started addressing them again.

"Ah," She exclaimed with a smile, "I can see it worked." Hercules and Xena quickly looked at one another realizing they each had similar experiences. There was a quiet longing in their eyes. "Now that you've experienced the music, we can return to the studio and continue with today's lesson. I'll finish up with the band and be right behind you."

The pair exited quietly. They walked to the studio in silence, each engulfed in their own thoughts. Occasionally one would glance at the other, only to look away when they noticed. Xena tried to build the walls around her heart back up and keep her thoughts in order. This is going to be a lot harder than I thought.

They made it back to the studio in record time. They were both quiet, wondering what the other was thinking. Were they thinking the same things?

"It's a beautiful song," Xena said hesitantly breaking the silence.

"It is," Hercules said relieved that one of them had started talking. He didn't like the silence but he didn't want to rush Xena to talk if she didn't want to. "I just wonder how we're supposed to dance to it?"

"I have no clue," she said feeling the mood lighten again, "but it looks like we're about to find out." Lady Mia opened the door to the studio and assessed her couple. She knew that the music had done it's job and got the pair to feel the emotions.

"Ok, well let's get to it shall we," Lady Mia said as she circled around them. "Now music and dance is about making a connection, with each other and the audience. We experienced the emotional connection from the song, now we must feel the physical connection."

Lady Mia gently pushed the pair closer together until there were a mere few inches apart. Xena could feel her heart race being so close to him. She looked into his eyes for a moment then stared straight in front of her at his neck and chest. Hercules longed to gaze into her eyes longer but felt awkward with the instructor so close. He knew he would have to be alone with Xena to explore their feelings more.

"Now Xena place your arms around his neck and Hercules you place your arms around her waist." The couple obeyed tentatively. "Yes, very nice. Now I want you two to close your eyes and feel and connection."

Trust me, lady. We already have a connection. Xena thought a little frustrated. She could feel the tension between the two of them. She couldn't allow herself to completely relax, but then again she rarely did anyway. Hercules felt the tension too.

"That's right. Don't forget to breathe. Feel the bond starting to form between you. We have to get this right to make the rest of the story believable." Lady Mia left them for another moment not knowing the agony she was causing them. "All right, now you can release each other slowly." The pair opened their eyes seeing the yearning in each other's as they slowly released.

"Ok, now you won't be doing the full version of the song. We have a tight time limit. If you recall the music we will start with the intro, chorus, bridge, and the chorus again to end it."

Xena recalled the music very well. It sang in her head the words flowing like water. Hercules could feel the melody in him as well. He had always enjoyed music but never had it captured his attention like today.

"Now Xena it is important that you stay relaxed and loose. Hercules you will be her support throughout the piece."

They both nodded. Lady Mia positioned Xena first hugging around Hercules' waist half crouched on the ground. Gee, this isn't awkward at all, Xena thought. Hercules then positioned his arms under Xena's holding her up. This is awkward, he thought.

"Xena, I need you to relax. Think of it as being a rag doll. Let your body become heavy and limp. Allow Hercules to hold you up."

Xena tried to loosen a bit, but felt herself still tense. She still supported a little of her weight even though Hercules had the bulk of it under control.

"Xena let your left hand drop heavily to the side and Hercules hold the back of her head. Go ahead and put your fingers in her hair. Yes that's right," Lady Mia said as the pair followed directions. Hercules felt her soft silky black hair in his hand and a small twitch of a smile came to his mouth. He relished the chance to hold her. Xena however was fighting. She couldn't let go. She both loved and protected herself against him.

Lady Mia began blocking the routine. Both moved clunky and hesitantly around each other. Not just because the moves were in such close proximity to each other but that the whole style of the dance was so different than what they had learned the previous day. Xena rose up hands outstretched and then plummeted to the ground. Then they both spun around each other and ended up in a folded position. Xena bent wrapping her arms around his torso and Hercules doing the same.

"It's like a weird puzzle," Xena said with a small chuckle.

"Yes, throughout the dance you will be doing a series of moves intertwined like this," Lady Mia explained.

They then moved so that Hercules was bending Xena forward and backward and then another spin.

"Think about the lyrics of the song. 'I put my arms around you.' We are using our bodies using our arms to create the movement in each other. Each of you is acting and reacting to each other."

Xena then stopped at Hercules outstretched hand and pulled herself upright. Hercules slid his hand away and carried her, her body sliding on the floor. Hercules stopped her by gripping her wrist and opposite foot. They lowered to the floor. Hercules did a cartwheel over her while she slid the opposite direction and they did a series of falls. They ended with a series of moves where they grabbed after each other's hands every time they found a new position reaching and twisting around each other. Xena spun to release herself and danced gracefully to the other corner of the room while Hercules ran to catch up with a large jump at the end. She spun around in time slightly falling into Hercules who was standing behind her with his arms wrapping around her.

"Now staying in this position Xena let Hercules guide you around the room. Move your legs when you need to but let him do the work." Xena was finding this more and more frustrating. There was no structure, no technique it seemed like. She had never done this style before and was finding it to be more difficult than she had imagined.

After guiding her around the room she moved around to face him placing her arms around his ribs and resting her head on his chest. The moves felt more and more uncomfortable for the two as the tension grew between them. Hercules was then instructed to lunge and reach with one hand while Xena guided it back. He then lunged and reached while she guided it back. She then guided both of his hands to his face.

"Ok, and now we come to the lift. Xena you're going to run around to this point. Hercules you're going to do a series of arm movements then turn around. Xena I want you to run at him and jump. One leg will be on his shoulder and other will be around his waist. You're arms go around his other shoulder. You're going to envelope him. Let's practice the lift without the jump first, we can add that later."

They couldn't help but chuckle as they tried to figure out what she meant. It felt so ridiculous. They attempted a few times before they figured it out. Xena finally moved into the position as he held her up. As Xena kept herself in the wrapped position with her head around him, she let out a huge chuckle.

"What," Hercules chuckled as well, "what's so funny?"

"Ok, you can't tell me that you don't feel utterly ridiculous right now," Xena said still chuckling. She couldn't believe she was still laughing. She felt like a young girl.

"You have a point there."

They both felt relieved at the embarrassment of the other and the mood lightened. It was enough to break the tension. They blocked out the next few moved oddly enough still chuckling here and there. They both felt a little stupid. However the break only lasted so long as they both became frustrated again. They pushed and pulled each other around. Xena used many of the same positions as earlier, letting Hercules carry her around. They used some more puzzled hand movements and ended up in the starting position again. Xena's hand and head around his waist while he held her and put his hand in her hair.

"Ok, we're done with the blocking," announced Lady Mia.

Xena let out an exasperated sigh. She looked and Hercules as he reacted the same. They had been blocking constantly all afternoon. They were both frustrated with style of movements and appreciated a break.

"What kinds of dances have you both done before," Lady Mia asked thoughtfully, seeing the frustration in the two.

"Um, ballroom style from Twanky and the samba the other day," Hercules said.

"Latin and swing mainly," Xena said running her hand through her hair. She felt oddly self conscious.

"Well, that's why. You see contemporary is a very different style from those," she explained. "No wondered you both are so flustered." Hercules and Xena smiled a quick smile at each other knowing that wasn't the only reason they were so flustered.

"There just seems to be no rules. There's no posture, there's no set rhythm or step," said Xena a little confused. Hercules nodded.

"That's exactly it. It's not just about form and just doing the movements. It's about telling a story. It's about showing a relationship between a man and a woman. It's about the struggle, the back and forth between you. Concentrate on the story, on the feeling; then the moves will become more natural. Ok. Now it's late and we're done blocking the moves. You two go back and get some rest. I'll see you here in the morning." Lady Mia looked at them and smiled.

The weary couple left the studio and headed back to town.

"Those two aren't fooling anyone," Lady Mia said to herself and smiled.