Reaching for the barre
By Addison Carlson
St. Stephen Catholic School
Carrying my used pointe shoes over my shoulder, I arrive at my new dance studio wearing a ripped leotard and muddy tights. I see a group of girls who are holding dance bags similar to what movie stars would have, containing pockets that fit all of their accessories.
Soberly, I glance down at my reusable grocery bag that has all my belongings in it, wishing I could be like the other girls.
I put on my toe spacers and toe tape, slip on my pointe shoes, and head into the studio where I find a spot at the back barre, where my reflection is hovering at the edge of the mirror. I start doing my stretches — from Theraband exercises to my oversized splits (that don’t even hurt a bit).
I notice the other girls bickering back and forth. Our teacher, Mr. Desparski walks into the room and instructs us to gather around and sit down, because he wants to talk to us about something. I sigh, thinking about how he’ll probably make me introduce myself to the whole class, which is absolutely the last thing that I want to do.
“Hello class! If you didn’t already know, I’m your instructor, Mr. Desparski. I’m expecting a lot from you guys. Today, we also have a new student. Meet Juliet.”
Everyone stares at me. I am still. I can’t move. But, just as I was about to introduce myself to the class, he interrupted me. “I expect you to treat her kindly. Now, let’s get started.”
After we finish barre, we have a 15-minute break to grab a snack and water. One of the
girls who looked me up and down earlier, (her name is Aubrey) walks over to me and says,
“Hey! You’re good at dancing. But other than that, you’re nothing, I will always be more than you.”
She kicks my bag and walks away, laughing with her friends. What Aubrey said was true. I do have less than her, but it still hit me harder than I thought it would; even having dealt with the very same situation at my old studio.
Another girl in our class, Sadie, who is actually really talented, comes over and says, “Don’t let her get to you. She’s a brat. She’s ‘Miss Daddy’s Girl,’ which makes her attitude even worse. Her dad is a HUGE movie director, and pretty darn rich. She is ALWAYS like this, so don’t stress about anything she says to you.”
I am grateful that at least one person isn’t mean to me! Sadie splits her energybar and gives me half, plopping the other half into her mouth. I give her a shy smile to show her I’m thankful for her kindness, then eat my half before heading into the studio…with my new friend.
By Cool Breeze
So respectfully you approached
I allowed you my blood
Drinking of my left eye
Until selfish fear intruded
Shooed away, half-full
Red belly swishing
“Live to give,”
You whispered without words