Giselle was the title character of a pretty popular ballet, and the role wasn’t one to be sniffed at. I watched breathlessly as she began, becoming someone entirely different than the Bea I knew.
She was no longer madly energetic and girlish, but graceful and serious. Beatrice moved with precision and confidence, but even more so experience. It seemed as if she had aged ten years just by stepping onto the stage.
When she finished I shot her a thumbs-up, grinning at her despite myself.
But then, of course, I stood up and made my way to the stage for my turn.
It was dizzying standing up there, looking down at the row of people who were going to decide my fate. The bald one sighed, and asked for the hundredth time:
"Show and role?"
"Swan Lake." I replied without missing a beat, "Odette."
Vera was long-gone but I could see some dancers whispering to each other excitedly. The same man gave me the scene I was to start in, and I took a deep breath.
This was it.
My heart was racing and my head was spinning a little, but then I caught sight of none other than Sutton walking discreetly in through the back entrance.
He met my eyes and smiled a little, making a shooing motion.
I resisted the urge to smile back and made a mental count in my mind before beginning, letting my feet carry me around the stage.
There was no music and there was no set, but I could see and hear it as vividly as if there were. I lost myself in the vision but found myself in it too, my focus as sharp as cut glass.
Forest. Night. Odette.
My eyes flitted over Raphael momentarily.
I didn't notice that the coordinators hadn't interrupted me to tell me to stop, as they had the other auditioning dancers. I simply kept on going, the spell only breaking when the scene ended.
I blinked, panting, and turned to see that the row of executives was clapping. So were the remaining dancers.
"Thank you." the bald man said, "Next."
My legs could barely carry me off the stage. I moved, in a daze, to the back of the theater to collect my things. Bea hugged me with the grip of a boa constrictor.
"That was amazing!" she whispered, "I'm so proud of you Kat!"
"I'm sure it wasn't nearly as good as yours." I replied modestly, trying to calm my breathing.
"Oh, please. You're as good as announced Odette." she smiled, before noticing Raphael and raising an eyebrow, "And I think I have a dentist appointment to get to."
Before I could say anything she beat it out of there, and I sighed, admitting defeat, and walked over to Sutton.
"You come here to make sure I was properly en pointe, sunshine?"
He shrugged, smirking.
"I had to make sure that you didn't roll my name in the dirt, is all."
"Oh," I replied, with mock curiosity, "So did I roll or bury your name then?"
"As a matter of fact," he said rather seriously, "I think you dusted it off. If there's one thing I haven't seen in a long time, it's Reginald Price clapping."
"Who's he?" I asked, as socially unaware as usual.
"The director. Sitting in the front row, at the far right?"
I looked, only to see the back of a salt-and-pepper hairdo, getting nudged in the side.
"It's not polite to stare, Abromovich. Now would you like transport home or prefer to watch the rest of the auditions?"