"Good morning everyone," Mrs. Flincher said. "I hope you've all stretched, because we have a lot of work to do today."
Mrs. Flincher was a tall woman in her thirties with black, close-cropped short hair and dark brown eyes that held so much persistence and authority. She wore a black, long-sleeve shrug over her leotard and a fever ballet skirt over her tights. She stood with her chin up and gazed at each of her students while she spoke.
"I'm sure everyone knows that the fundraiser will be this Friday." She said.
There were a few nodding, exchange of glances and muttering from the students.
"As of today," Mrs. Flincher's continuation cut all of the conversation in the room. "We will be practicing inside the auditorium. Everyone please follow me."
Thanks to Char and Iris, the walk towards the second floor became shorter than it's supposed to be. They chatted with soft low voices about their weekend and plans for Char's birthday.
Mrs. Flincher clapped her hand twice once they reached the door and the chattering stopped.
"From this day, we will be practicing inside the auditorium. I want everyone to be attentive and no one to be late."
Satisfied with the bobbing of heads that answered her, she turned on her heels and opened the doors to the auditorium without looking back to see if her students followed.
The lights that illuminated the room were dim, but still enough for them to find their way inside without tripping on the flush carpet.
This hall was the largest in the academy and screamed of red and black and fortune. It's complete with infinite, velvet theatre seats that faced headlong towards the rectangular stage. The curtains of the stage were pulled aside, exposing the unfinished props that were pushed at the very back and leaving space for the performers.
Ellie settled at the stage with her fellow dancers––waiting for a word from their instructor.
Mrs. Flincher stood below the stage, a remote on her right hand.
"Let us begin with Odette's solo, Elliot." The instructor voiced loudly. Her eyes were settled on a specific student, expectant.
As encouraging as Mrs. Flincher may seem, still it didn't stop the fastening beat of Ellie's heart as the students cleared the stage for her. The continuous thud became louder that she almost doubted she’d hear the music.
She released her lower lip, swallowed hard and breathed out.
Please don't make me trip and fall on my face like last time. She pleaded in her mind.
The song started with a mournful beat from a piano, melancholic. With closed eyes, Ellie reveled in feeling the song, matching it up with her emotions.
When the second beat came, the girl opened her eyes and easily commanded her body with movements of grace. It's something that she had mastered for years and years of practice. She let the music control her as it began to flood her mind. It moved from her hands to her feet as she sank to the ground and twisted to her left. Without even breaking her balance, her left leg danced in the air and to the floor in a manner of a sitting position. She continued her stance without breaking a sweat and soon she was standing again.
Out of the corner of her eye, Iris gave her thumbs up.
She smiled briefly and continued on.
Not long after a pirouette did Ellie realize that the song was somehow connected to what she's feeling for the past week. It was the reason why the song was very easy to interpret.
When the song slowed to it's ending, Elliot's breathing became more desperate and the balls of her feet slightly ached but she didn't care. Like in the beginning, she ended the song in a sitting position. She cradled her head in her hands.
The clapping hands of her classmates brought her back to reality.
She re-adjusted her leg warmers and stood up, waiting for her breathing to slow.
At that moment, she felt lighter, as if a weight had been removed from her shoulders. Since her mother's death, she couldn't seem to bring herself to dance without loosing her cool. This was the first that she didn't breakdown crying while interpreting a song.
Mrs. Flincher's measuring gaze didn't calm her heart, however a tiny part of her brain continued to hope that this time her presentation was good enough.
Time appeared to have stopped, the clapping of her classmates muffled against her slowing heartbeat and calming breath. The instructor had her lips pursed and her eyes betrayed nothing.
"I never doubted you as 'Odette' Elliot." Mrs. Flincher's expression softened. "In fact, your interpretation was magnificent. Continue on doing that and I guarantee that the audience will love our performance on Friday night."
Elliot happily nodded, swallowing down the urge to hug her instructor right then and there.
She returned to her station beside Char.
"That was great." Charlotte grinned from ear to ear.
"It felt better than the last time." Ellie breathed out, a goofy smile plastered on her face.
"That it was." Iris agreed from her left.
For the next few hours, Ellie couldn't find herself to focus. Her mind was cramped up with thinking about her achievement.
Finally! She thought.