Breaking Point 1.2
Dreams of swans pirouette in my mind. I sit before a vanity in my dressing room as the costume and design stagehand nestles the white feather headpiece into my hair. The downy feathers stroke my slicked bun. My eyes lift to my reflection where I see my normally angular face softened by contouring makeup Flaring eyeshadow and eyeliner shadow my eyes, flaring at the corners like wings. . Pink blush and ruby red lips flush my pale face with a glow. I tear my gaze away from my face when I feel the weight of a tiara settle at the top of my bun.
Withdrawing, the hairdresser wishes me luck. I nod and murmur a thank you, already imagining the curtain rising like a gentleman in my presence and already feeling the scrutinizing glare of the spotlight. to
Someone barks, "Five more minutes, Brianne!"
I leap out of the chair and don't hesitate to lower myself to the floor. Lying on my stomach, I allow my feet to touch and my legs to bend at the knees until my lower body is bent into a diamond shape. I feel the knots in my legs unwind as my thigh muscles open up. I extend my arms forward as the stiffness from my spine melts away. I straighten my legs and lift each one to extend diagonally above my head before letting them drift to the floor as I shift into a split.
"One more minute until showtime."
Jumping to my feet, I rush out of the dressing room. My pointe shoes tap against the wooden floors As I awkwardly scuttle on the tips of my slippers, feeling tension at my ankles, I force myself to slow. What point would it do to make through years of ballet training and months of rehearsing Swan Lake only to injure myself before the show?
As I arrive, the show coordinator glares at me, snapping, "Twenty more seconds!" A hand rests on his chest, curled into a fist as if he feared he would go into cardiac rest. I consider apologizing until he shoves me up onto the stairs of the stage. He skitters away and I forget him.
This is my moment. The music begins, a soft symphony of string instruments. My breath hitches and my heart rises with the curtain. It's time to shed Brianne, and become Odette. As the spotlight focuses on me, I rise en pointe, arms waving slowly as I slip into my role.
The glow of my alarm clock glares at me.5:00 a.m. Today is the precursor to D-Day. After school, near the end of rehearsals at 6p.m., the list of dancers for Swan Lake will be posted. My stomach is bundle of nerves and twinges of anticipation scuttle down my spine, traversing to my limbs.For a As if they have a life of their own, my legs stir restlessly.
An ache settles deep in my muscles with the need to dance. No matter how tight and sore, my muscles only feel at rest when they're moving. Sweat slicks my body, so I kick off the covers. I crane my neck to stare at the twin bed next to mine where my roommate and friend, Marie, lays asleep.
Only I would be crazy enough to waste any precious time of sleep. As a full time high school student and full timedancing student, sleep is rare. But so is my time in the studio alone. And I have to choose between sacrificing some shuteye just to dance alone and unhindered by my dance instructor's expectations or criticisms.
Though, I welcome the criticisms, I understand if a dance instructor corrects you, it is in a paradoxical way, it is a compliment that she is investing in your dancing to correct it. And when you implement your suggestions into your dancing, you may have just made an ally. Besides, being criticized is better than being ignored.
But sometimes it is nice to have the studio to myself and to listen to not the teachers but my own movements and let the guide me through the dance. For a chance, I get to be the artist that crafts my own dance.
But the best thing about getting up early to slip into the studio is to rendezvous with my boyfriend, Stephen. Though we pass each other in the hallway at school, our class schedules don't match up. And aside from dinner break at 7:00, we never get to see each other since Stephen is in dance rehearsals for the male dancers.
After changing into an old leotard, and leg warmers, I slip into the studio as I secure the clip of my iPod nano to the collar of my leotard. Shuffling my Swan Lake playlist to a dramatic flurrying song with crescendoing brass and percussion instruments, I work at the barre to uncoil the knots of stiffness from my muscles as my joints creak. My fingers, clenched against the barre, tap impatiently with the need to just dance.
And it is only discipline that tampers the eagerness. I learned my lesson at the age of ten about the importance of always stretching when I skipped my warmup, which only resulted in a pulled hamstring. Though today, I cannot help but to shorten my stretching ritual.
Maybe the reason I am so awake this morning is for getting alone time with Stephen for the first time in almost a week, but a dubious voice in my mind whispers Odette. Hope feathers in my chest. I can't help but choose to interpret my dream as a positive omen from the dance gods.
As I pull my leg down from the barre, I feel a pair of arms encircle my waist pulling me close to a sturdy chest. I turn my head to the side but not before my kisses are peppered on my cheeks. A giggle bubbles from my mouth as lips graze my neck. Stephen huffs playfully, his warm breath caressing my jawline as a puff of his breath sends a stray curl dancing across my vision.
Removing my earbuds, he leans in to whisper, "Hey, babe. Ready to dance?"