January 2, 2018
By Anonymous

Deep in the busy and bustling New York City was a building starkly different from most other offices and restaurants in the area which were usually quite congested and heavily stocked with a variety of peoples. But this hidden gem was a large and spacious, without a large audience who regularly visited. Partially, this was because the outside of the building was dramatically unappealing. Years of serving as one of New York’s most reputable performance center was a its initial purpose, but that left several decades ago. And now, a passerby could walk through the huge and looming buildings plastered with reflective windows and a sense of modernity without showing any care for the walls and intricate copper colored designs etched around the several geometrically arranged glass panes that created the windows, and on each grand door preceded by a flight of cement stairs. Perhaps some of these Victorian embellishments were obstructed to view by a species of ivy, which creeped up the sides of the building and flourished mostly on the windowsills. Though once the building was simply breathtaking, now all that was visible was time’s effect on it: tattered walls, worn out, fading, decorations, broken windows, and invasive plants. And because of this, nobody would ever suspect anybody would be crazy enough to go inside the outdated theater. So nobody knew about the young woman who lived inside.
Nobody knew about the immense amounts of talent densely packed within her skin, bones, and agile body. Every day, she would perform, facing the stained walls and an empty array of shabby seats, skillfully avoiding rubbage and broken glass that plagued the stage. She would wear an old, dusty leotards and tutus located behind the stage, perhaps worn before by only a select group of elitists years ago. With full understanding of the prestige and professionality dancers possessed on the same stage under her firm ballet shoes, she returned no less of a performance than her predecessors did. Each limb moving was another brushstroke in a piece of art. The sound of her shoe gliding across the floor accommodated her jetes, and her pirouettes ended gracefully with one leg landing behind the other. She went slowly at first and then gained momentum while maintaining the elegance she embodied. A generous amount of paint marks in shades of cool going down the center of the canvas began the work of art. Her leaps, however, were undoubtedly the biggest and most beautiful contribution to the piece. With a muscular thigh, she pushed forward and propelled her other leg into the series of graceful motions. As her shoe left the dented, scratched surface, her legs opened into nearly a one eighty degree angle, forearms too flying meeting the air at her sides. For only a few seconds, which felt like much longer, her legs and arms complemented one another as some vibrant shades of orange and pink paint moved dramatically along the canvas, little droplets flying off the bristles of the brush. She soared above the glinting glass chips and managed to land perfectly without making contact with any remnants of the dilapidated interior of the theater. As the paintbrush slowed down and added finishing touches to the painting, the dancer knew she was done. Her lithe limbs and low head slowly collapsed into a bow, the traditional cursive signature on the bottom corner of the canvas created with a thin brush dipped in black paint. The completion of the ballet yielded the finished painting, her personal art, and a mere reflection of what she passionately dreamed of. Together, the marks and strokes creating art were as cohesive as each part of her performance. She had danced a cityscape against a sunset, much like the one visible once outside of the doors of the theater. Because if she had a choice, the young and talented ballerina would carefully walk around anything broken in the broken theater she inhabited and fix her broken life by immersing herself into her work of art: the fast moving city life, away from the place that suspended her from doing anything she truly wanted to rather than what she was good at, where she could feel and be an ordinary woman and do something that genuinely made her happy.

The author's comments:
I took ballet as an elective last year at my school, and boy, was that a mistake! However, struggling through that class allowed me to develop a deep appreciation for what ballerinas do on the daily and what I can only dream of being able to do without tripping over my ballet shoe laces and collapsing on the floor. Thus, I write this fast moving, in-the-moment vignette representing the internal struggles of a skilled ballerina.

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