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A Certain Kind of Magic
I giggle excitedly with the other dancers in the wings.
The lights dim and the audience’s loud hummmm evaporates like water.
My pointe shoes make a slight tap, tap, tap on the stage as I line up in my position.
There is a unique, indescribable, calming silence that only dancers have experienced right before the overture begins.
Adrenaline pumps through my veins as the velvety curtains are pulled back, the spotlight glows, and the audience gasps at the sight on the stage.
In a beautiful formation stands an array of delicate, perfect ballerinas.
A hushed murmur sweeps through the audience like the wind sweeps through the safari plains.
I stand, my head tilted accurately to the side, my arms curved gracefully above my head, my foot carefully shaped in an elegant arch.
I am motionless as a stone statue while the beams of light illuminate the stage.
Then the rhythmical, familiar da-da-da-dum of the music begins.
I rise on my toes, and dance.
Everything appears effortless and magical, for we dance like fairies, floating across the expanse of the stage, and our smiles glitter like jewels.
But what grueling, hard work we had to experience to arrive in this position!
During the hours of rehearsal, sweat beads formed on our foreheads, our faces drenched in sweat.
We received minimal breaks, but when we had them, we massaged our toes, covered with red, painful blisters.
If the audience had been watching us practice, they wouldn’t have found anything magical about our grunts and groans as we executed difficult movements.
There was nothing graceful when our pointe shoes pounded on the ground, clop clop clop, sounding like a stampede of galloping horses.
There was nothing effortless when we did a grande jete and landed clumsily like elephants, making a loud Boom!
There was nothing enchanting about our exhausting repetition of the intricate steps, or my instructor’s constant critique of our movements.
But to me, the persistent obstacles, perpetual labor, and elongated practices were very much magical and enchanting.
Whether on stage or in class, ballet is magic.