Week Seven: First Bow

Not a poem?  What?!  Yes, I wrote a quick little scene, just to mix it up.

First bow
February 14th, 2014

She ended the fouettes in a perfect fourth position; leg bend over the toe, perfect straight leg behind, an arm majestically outstretched and a smile growing brilliantly in her eyes.  The performance was perfect.  Her feet had carried her across the stage like a nymph, light and vibrant.  Even though she had gripped her muscles to hold a shaky arabesque, her face had never wavered.  Nothing in her life had left so thrilling than to stand posed as the heavy, red velvet curtain fell to thunderous applause.  Her body hummed and her soul threatened to escape.

When her partner, a young, roguishly handsome German rushed to join her, she leapt into his waiting arms.  Her tutu crushed between, but it was an old, familiar feeling from months and years of rehearsal.  He took her face in his hand and brought a beaming forehead to her own.  She couldn’t hear his congratulations over the applause and excitement of the other dancers but she felt the same.  Too many hours had passed between them not to know each other’s mind.

A stage manager clapped her hands; a loud smacking sound and dancers hurried to beautifully straight lines, her partner and herself apart from the rest.  She practically bounced on her toes as the curtain rose and so too, the mass of well dressed, eager attendees.  They led the crops through their first bows and she stood still as her partner took his turn to hoots and whistles.  When he motioned to her, she was almost too struck with emotion to move.

Her legs shook and she willed energy through them to keep them from appearing so.  This performance had been her first that she had led.  From this moment, nothing would remain the same and each toe-ball-heel step forward was a step through a painting of change.  She had leapt from an invisible edge and the wind had caught her wings and carried her.

A stage hand hurried out with a bouquet like she had seen dozens of times, but it was now her arms they were laid in.  She cradled them and dropped into the bow she had practiced dozens of times over the past week.  Her hand floated to her chest, her head dropped and she dipped low and graceful as silk.

At the bottom, she paused and in that pause, the world stopped.  She would never again take her first solo bow and she wanted to remember everything; the smell of roses and their leaves, the head of the stage lights, the sound of a chorus of whistles, all of it.  Her body took it all in and when she rose, her face to the audience, her smile was grateful and overwhelmed.

From outside her body, she saw herself turn, pull the single, best rose and hand it to her smiling partner.  He took it with a nod and drew it to his lips, his first single rose too.  She saw herself reach a hand back to him and he, kiss her hand to a roar of applause.  She knew the rumours would burst with tales of budding romance.  The both knew the dangers of such things, so instead, they shared a secret smile and she rejoined him at his side.

They took a great company bow before the curtain dropped again.  More congratulations circled but eager dancers trickled off to meet their admirers at the stage doors.  She stayed on the stage for as long as she could, the roses in her arms, drinking in the floor.  For as long as she could, she was going to stay in her tutu, her pointe shoes and savor this dream that was now her reality.

She pictured a little girl in her room, pretending this moment was real.  That little girl stood in her practice clothes, soft slippers on her feet and a stuffed animal for a bouquet.  The reality of what she was practicing was a far off dream.  Now, the little girl wasn’t just pretending, but living it.  Shivers trailed down her slender spine.

Her moment of reflection was short.  The crowd wanted to meet the new star.  A stage hand came to collect her, gently taking the flowers to place them in vases for her dressing room.  There was a guiding hand on her elbow.  Before it disappeared, she glanced over her shoulder drinking in the last moments and capturing them for her memories.  When the stage slipped from view, she gave a quick waltz turn, smiling at the stage hand, giggling.  She was once more that little girl with her teddy bear, practicing her bow.


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