Tulip Daisha

Have you ever noticed the resemblance between each babies cot? Each baby lies accompanied by a doll or a bear, all brand new, bought by loving relatives or passed on from an elder sibling. However, on the 1st of March, 1883, a little baby by the name of Tulip Daisha lay her swaddling blankets accompanied by two tiny, rose pink ballet slippers. They hung from the corner to the right of the babies head and they were attached by a large, but somehow delicate, bow. The baby lay asleep, as babies of that age normally do, and she was totally unaware of the world outside. Of the busy streets, full of people, whose heads were all full of dreams. She also new nothing of her mothers dream or how it would mould her life.


I was that newborn baby. I lay there with the handmade ballet slippers handing above me. Fifteen years and three hundred and fifty one days later, I lay in my four poster bed with a [air of rather worn pink ballet shoes just above my head, swinging from the wooden bar which connected the two top posters together. Although it was the early hours, my eyes were wide open and I had not yet slept. My whole room was veiled by darkness and drapes blocked any light from street lamps being able to get through into my window. The sheets encased my body in heat and as the butterflies in my stomach grew stronger, I began to feel as though I was unable to breath. I kicked my blankets away, kicking my legs threw the air for the third time that night. There was still two weeks to go, how would I survive on so little sleep? But, I couldn’t help it! Soon I would be sixteen and everything I had been working towards would be put in motion. I stopped kicking and looked upwards at the oak bars criss-crossing over itself to hold the posters together and to hold the curtain of thick pink lace that covered the top and bottom walls of my bed, falling in tumbling waves at the foot of my bed, were a chest sat on the ends of the fabric, holding it in place and also keeping spare blankets and cushions tidily out of the way.

I could just make out the reflection of my bed in the mirror across from my bed, I could also just about see my shadowed face through the lace and a pair and shining, pale blue eyes peering back at me. The mirror spread across the whole wall and a bar split the mirrored wall in two. To the left of that wall a tall window stood, hidden by cream drapes, behind which a thickly cushioned window seat was held. Beside my bed a Vanity Table also stood. On the back of the matching chair which had been left messily askew and not Tooke under the table, my dressing gown was hung, I could see the shape of something underneath, only just visible was a tutu and another pair of slightly less worn ballet shoes. I twisted onto my tummy and shoved my head into the feather stuffed pillow.

Every time I shut my eyes I could see a huge theatre. Lined with a thousand red chairs and decorated with magnificent gold chandeliers. I am standing in the centre of the stage watching my audience enter, curiosity twinkling in every pair of eyes, at the curtains already having been drawn. I spread my layered tutu, raising my right leg, going onto tip toe as the final member of the audience takes their seat. I rest my palms on a male ballet dancers shoulders as Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake fills the room, moving through the air from the pit below. I turn on my toe, led steadily by the man who I don’t recognise. Then, my feat are moving without need for thought. I am dancing, head held high I am the lead. My swans follow my movements with awe at the perfection I infuse every movement with. Then I am glowing with happiness and energy, my pale fingers reach upwards as though they shall touch the twinkling chandelier way above, in the dome above the audiences heads, shining first on the Gods. I smile down at the audience in the stalls and then my eyes slowly wander to the circles above, before my partner brings my feet back to the grey stage floor…


The next day, I was to dance. I had a six hour session planned in the studio to go over an exam routine and then over the next show we were doing, the nutcracker. Then, I was to have lunch with mother and then father was taking me shopping for things for my trip. He wasn’t terribly pleased about the trip my mother had planned. He saw it as being all terribly improper. Not the way a young lady should behave at all. But, he was throwing me a huge sixteenth birthday party anyway and spending a fortune on new clothes for me. Just so long as I followed his rules and was accompanied by a woman older than twenty one for all of my journeys. Mother had agreed to this, of course, she had been expecting it really.

So, the next morning, feeling slightly dizzy from my blissful dream, I dressed in my old about-the-house dress and packed my bag. A pair of ballet shoes, a leotard, tights, a cardigan and a head band to keep my hair from my eyes whilst I danced. I stood in front of the mirrored wall in my stocking feat raising myself from the floor onto my toes and then slowly going back to the ground, so that my heels were flat on the thickly carpeted floor. I did this over and over again whilst I waited for mother to be finished getting ready.

She was coming to watch me dance today. To make sure my progress was satisfactory and just to generally show off really. She always came once a fortnight, her own leotard in her bag ready to show us how the routines were truly meant to be done.

She had, on more than one occasion, made one of the younger girls cry.

To look at my mother, she is one of the most welcoming and beautiful women you shall ever meet. But, years of ballet dancing, strict teachers and the years before she had been well known of trying to make a name for herself had meant she was now fierce. Like a snow white, beautiful kitten, with very sharp claws. My mother stands at only five foot four, at the most, she always stands most graciously, like she was born to dance and God simply made her posture that way. She has pale skin, which I have inherited, it I flawless with only the slightest blush to her cheeks, she has almost white blonde hair, which darkens half a shade every winter and brightens up again in the summer. Her eyes are a pale blue, almost pale grey. With those eyes, I am often told, she used to be able to bewitch any man and more than once it was her eyes, not her dancing, which got her a part in a ballet. Which, I must say, seems terribly unfair. Mothers hair is always pinned back with an antique clip in the shape of four pink roses that father bought her on their first anniversary from a jewellers in Paris. Her fingers and elegant. That is one thing I shall always envy my mother for, and the fact she always knows what to say.

Elegant hands and a quick brain full of delicate conversation.

Two things, I shall never have.

Anyway, I stood doing this when my mother entered the room with a graceful sweeping of the door. The room instantly filled with the enchanting smell of her perfume. My mother has worn the same perfume since my father brought her it back from work travels, which was years ago. Every time I smell it I instantly feel calmer, even if my mother can snap, she is still the one person who has pushed me in my dream. Also, she was the one person who could persuade my father to allow me to dance.

He had said it was improper.

They had a huge argument over that one, mother was smoking a cigarette standing by the balcony in the library, glaring at my father. They didn’t know I was watching from the doorway as they were both so busy yelling at one another. I was eight at the time and found it half terrifying and half fantastically hilarious.

“It’s not proper Eleanor. My daughter shall grow up a lady!”

“Ballet dancing isn’t proper?” My mother screamed, raising her hands in the air and grabbing at the light, her face ferocious. I wouldn’t have argued further. “Why did you marry a bloody dancer then?”

“El…Eleanor, you know I don’t mean it like that.”

“Like what Christopher? Like what?”

There was a long silence. My father slouched against the wall at the other side of the balcony and shrugged. My mother flicked the cigarette ash into the ash tray on the desk and was about to take another sip of smoke when my father took it from her fingers and got there first.

“Get your own bloody cigarette.”

“Ladies shouldn’t smoke.”

“Well, in you opinion I’m not a lady am I?” snapped my mother, raising her right arm so her dressing danced.

My father wrapped his arm around her hip and sighed. “You know I don’t think that. It’s just that travelling with a ballet troop, the amount of hours. You have to admit that if it weren’t for your dancing we would have several more children and I would probably be more highly respected.”

There was another long pause. I didn’t exactly understand what my father meant, though now I am perhaps wiser in some of the thoughts people have about dancers, even ballet dancers. Also, the men who allow their wives to keep dancing once they are married, like my father.

The argument had ended with my father agreeing with my mother, as I had fully known would happen. Then my mother going to leave and discovering me at the door. She had tried to look angry, but then had decided just this once, listening in had been ok and then we had gone shopping and for some afternoon tea.

So there was mother standing in my bedroom, her perfume filling the room in a delicate haze. She smiled at me and spun on her heal.

“Ready darling?” she asked, though really she wouldn’t have took a no.

Mother hates to be late.

I followed without replying, my back hanging on my shoulder. I slipped my shoes on at the front door and yelled goodbye to father, to which I received a withering look from my mother.

Mother then continued on into the street, marching slightly ahead of me so that my feet had to dash across the cobblestones so that I could keep up with her. The air was cold, but with that strange tinge of heat that comes between early morning and afternoon, when the sun is just stretching it’s rays through the air, slowly heating the busy mid winter wind. I hunched my shoulders against the wind, holding my collar high to protect my neck and lips from it’s bitter fingers. The floor was wet from the rain of the night before that had not yet evaporated. The air was thick with freezing moisture and mother paused at a stall to buy us some coffee’s to carry with us as we walked. It was terribly naughty considering we were going to dance, but we were both aching so much with the harsh cold we would never have been able to dance had we not warmed up slightly. Mother walked ahead of me the whole way, I kept an eye on her the whole time, but somehow, I still, managed to take in my surroundings. London was busy, everyone hurrying to work or to take their children somewhere. The cold made people walk faster, everyone wanting to be inside, or somewhere else. The streets always seemed smaller in the winter, like there was more people trying to fit in them, which seems ridiculous as most people try to stay away from the streets when it’s cold. The air was actually warmer than it had been in a long while and the first hints of Spring were starting to come through, gradually, the sun became more golden and the clouds had become a little less grey.

The studio was only two streets away, in the corner of a little square. It looked tiny from the outside, it’s bricks all tumbling messily into one another, but, when you stepped inside it was actually a cavernous building. Two buildings in fact, that Madame Stanario had combined to make a huge dance studio. There was always at least four classes going at once. Mother had insisted I be taught by Madame Stanario alone, although there were seven other ballet tutors available. The bottom floor was all one room, with comfy chairs and tables stacked with booklets on dance competitions and shows. The floor was the old wood from the original building. There was a small desk in the corner where a receptionist sat, she logged each girl in and out. It was rare to find such a huge establishment dedicated to dance in London during that time, but Madame Stanario had been left a huge amount of money by her grandmother and had decided to combine that with her love of London and Dance to create a place for people to train.

Mother was, of course, eternally grateful.

She seemed to think that the whole thing had been an unofficial dedication to herself. In the hopes that Madane Stanario would have the priviledge of teaching her daughter.

Yes, it was as embarrassing as it sounds for me.

The End

3 comments about this story Feed