Rêverie in the Paris Opera, France

Two delicate turns... and stop! The body was positioned correctly.

Natalia didn’t let the small binoculars leave her eyes for a moment. Now the ballerina rested on one leg. Her partner lightly touched the fingertips of her hand to rotate her in a full circle. They looked into each other’s eyes, and then he left her. She turned to the audience. The spotlight illuminated her face and her electrified eyes looked steadily at an invisible point. Relying on the tiptoes of one foot, she had to restrain the movement of an arabesque. Natalia was holding her breath and counted one... two... three... The arabesque had to give the impression that it lasted forever.

Aurora felt the balance rolling in her body and slowly began to release it. With  an effortless movement she settled her foot on the stage and gently touched it with her points. The orchestra played the last notes of the Third Act of the Sleeping Beauty. The curtain fell.

The audience burst into enthusiastic applause. Natalia remained motionless. With her gaze fixed on the ballerina, a thousand thoughts made her wrinkle her forehead. How would she ever manage to achieve this perfection? How could she defeat her body, every day being constantly at war with it? Yes, she knew it... Ballet demanded everything, but nothing was guaranteed. And though there were a hundred girls who were trying to become ballerinas, ten actually deserved it, but there was place only for one.

She was wondering about her life in Paris. She would manage to live alone. Some scholarship would be granted for the fees and, with the savings of grandfather Stéphane, she could rent a loft in one of the narrow side streets behind the Opera. Anyway, she had to find a job for other expenses. A bitter smile formed on her lips as she wondered what else she could do other than count balances in arabesques. Maybe they would give her a minor role in the ballet performances of the Opera and the rest of the time she could work backstage. It was not a bad idea.

Someday they would recognize her talent. She let this feeling to unfold inside her, wrap her body, and she decided to work hard to reach her dream. The spotlights would bathe her face, the applause would inflame her flare, and she would shine as a ballet star…  

A scene inspired in Paris, 1990

Τhe Paris Opera Ballet School

Τhe Paris Opera Ballet School

Barbara Athanassiadis