Posts Tagged ‘dance’

Spider

Posted: October 7, 2013 by writingsprint in Poetry
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The lady smiles as he enters
Her ballroom. A silken black glove
Touches gossamer silver threads.

Come closer, she waves to him.

The floor shifts under his unsure feet.
A shimmer races from
his feet to hers as he commits.

She smiles again. Come closer.

He tiptoes toward her inviting
Gown, red hourglass of her body.
The floor sways with a breath of wind.

Her patient eyes trace shadows.

He cannot know that she is a
Rapacious, scornful woman.
A stumble and she will finish him.

Unworthy of her love.

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Dueling over Champagne

Posted: August 24, 2013 by writingsprint in Choices
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galaThe fundraising gala leading up to auditions was one of the most sought-after events on the Coronet City calendar. The guest list was a who’s who of the most dazzling personalities in the system, and many from outside of it. The dancers and their families walked among the guests, introducing themselves and thanking the guests for their generous donations.

“I look forward to giving you a wonderful show. Thank you,” Jeana said, hugging an elderly gentleman and his wife. He smelled like rosemary and good cigars. His wife gave her a light kiss on the cheek.

Her mother scanned the crowd as the couple walked away. “Well then, that’s almost everyone.”

Jeana sipped her champagne. “I’ve been ticking them off in my head. There are three left, and they’re all occupied with other people right now.”

“There’s plenty of time. We should just enjoy ourselves and make our way over to them.”

Jeana tasted an hors d’oeurve of beef wrapped in bacon. Just the right amount of crunch. Simple, perfect. She hoped she’d meet the chef after the serving courses were over. She bit down on the toothpick when she saw Miss Tallus making nice with one of the leading bankers in Coronet. Jeana let out a hotter breath than went in. “I do see someone I’d like to talk to.”

Her mother snorted. “That’s funny. Do you want me to come along?”

“Hmm… nah. You can just watch if you want to.”

Jeana kept her champagne, to keep the pretense of being civil. She walked up from behind the banker, so that Miss Tallus could see her coming. Miss Tallus flinched just enough for Jeana to notice, since she was looking for it. She gave Jeana a look that said not to join them. Jeana smiled and came over.

“And this is one of our principals,” Miss Tallus said warmly. “Mr. and Mrs. Verona, meet Jeana Lysset.”

“A pleasure, but we already know each other. How’s your son’s fencing coming, Mr. Verona?”

“Very well. He placed second in the district competition last year, thanks to you.”

“That’s great. Tell him I said hello.”

“I will.” He and his wife bowed properly, since Jeana was highborn. “My lady,” he said.

“Good sir,” Jeana replied, and returned the gesture. The Veronas excused themselves.

“You need to learn something about courtesy,” Miss Tallus said.

“Pleasantries… we bowed… I can’t think of anything I missed,” Jeana said.

“You weren’t welcome.” Miss Tallus kept smiling as people walked by. Jeana sensed her feelings. She was furious.

“We’re old friends. I hadn’t had a chance to see them until now. It isn’t my fault I came up on them from the blind side.”

“That’s very funny. I trust that, now that you’ve said hello to your friends, you’ll move along?”

“Not at all! We’ve never had a chance to talk. I always wanted to talk to you about dancing. Politics. War. Sports. Smoothie recipes.”

Miss Tallus smiled a hard, angry smile. “Enough, Jeana.”

Jeana stepped closer, and smiled, too. “Sorry to take away your schmoozing time. I’m sure everyone here wants to know how great you are, and when you’ll shake the dust of Corellia of your feet and go back to dancing among the stars. It’s not like there are people counting on you to help shape them into dancers.”

Miss Tallus stepped closer. With their smiles, they looked like friends sharing a joke. “It’s not like they have the Force to help them dance.”

“I can dance circles around anyone at the school and you know it.”

“Not without the Force.”

“Bullshit!”

“Not without the Force. You know that it helps you.”

“No.” Of course it helped her. Jeana wouldn’t concede the point.

Miss Tallus lifted her chin. “Adri Corrino, and girls like her, don’t have that advantage. You and your lightsaber. To you this is a hobby. To girls like Adri, it’s their lives.”

“I love it as much as they do.”

“I don’t care how much you love it. Every dancer who ever lived loves it. I hate your privilege. You’re not a dancer; you’re a Sith. I won’t let you just walk away with the lead.”

“The final round’s a panel of judges. I deserve that spot, and I’ll get it,” Jeana said.

Another group of donors came to say hello. Jeana and Miss Tallus stood side by side and pretended to be best friends. It was the hardest part of the night for both of them. Ten agonizing minutes later, Jeana raised her glass, bowed, and took her leave.

I like how this scene turned out. We finally learn why Miss Tallus (and I’m not too hot on that name, either) despises Jeana. We also get to see them somewhere other than a room with hardwood floors where people are training. The part that bugs me is that the story is getting bigger. I need to keep it focused. Hmm.

Work in Progress

Posted: August 24, 2013 by writingsprint in Choices
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dancersJeana sat down next to her friend Adri. Adri was second principal, second only to Jeana in the company. She was air to Jeana’s fire. Rumor had it there were butterflies and doves on Corellia that were jealous of her grace. Friends had said the two of them dancing together could make angels cry.

“It’s not fair, it’s not fair, it’s not fair,” Jeana hissed.

“You know you she just set you up for it, right?” Adri asked.

“Yeah, I know. What was I supposed to do? She was lying.”

“You’re always picking fights—”

“I am not.”

“You’re always winning fights.”

“What’s wrong with that?”

Adri pointed at her with her pencil. “So she made you mad. You knew you were right. Let her lie and prove her wrong again. You have to learn to fight by not fighting.”

Jeana felt like she was talking to her mother. In a good way. You always heard the same things when you talked to smart people. “How’d you learn so much about fighting?”

“Girl, I’ve been dancing since I could walk.” It was true. She had the pictures to prove it. “Sometimes, dancing is fighting.”

It was probably why they got along so well. “You’re good, Adri.”

“I have my good days.”

The two of them watched the other dancers taking direction. Jeana’s eyes flicked over to the pencil in Adri’s hands. It moved on careful, short strokes. “What do you have there?” Jeana asked.

“I’m drawing the chorus.”

Jeana looked at it. Her jaw fell open. The sheet was covered with five different character studies, all of them flawless. Adri could draw like she danced. In all the years she had known her, Adri had never told her that she drew. Not one picture hung on the wall at her house. “You never told me you draw!”

“Yup.” She flipped to the previous page. “Here’s you.”

They were different stages of the two pieces Jeana had danced, first before Miss Tallus had yelled at her, then after. Jeana saw wonder, peace, fun, and light, then power, fire, anger, and thunder. Jeana felt awe. She said, “You drew my soul. Why didn’t you tell me you could draw?”

“Because it’s only for me. Why didn’t you tell me you could fight?”

Jeana stared at her. Deep down, she wasn’t surprised. If Adri was drawing people’s souls, she probably already had imagined a lightsaber in Jeana’s hands a long time ago. No point in mincing words about it. “I liked keeping it separate.”

“I figured if I’d call you on it, the least I could do is show you that I draw.”

“Fair enough.” As they watched the dancers, Jeana knew there was one last point they had to lay out to one another. The two of them would be competing for the lead in the company’s recital. “It’s coming down to the two of us again.”

“Wouldn’t have it any other way,” Adri said. They fist-bumped each other.

This is part of the first stage of editing on the story “Choices.” Since Adri plays such a pivotal role at the end of the story, I need to introduce her at the start of the story. If you imagine a sketch artist doodling interesting faces as they walk by, you have an idea of what it was like writing this scene. I knew Jeana had fire, so I wanted to complement her with Adri, hence Adri’s maturity, wisdom and artistic side.

Jeana finished fastening the shoulder catch on her armor. Her mother handed Jeana’s dance clothes to the droid that maintained the locker room. The two of them walked out into the training hall, side by side. “So I showed her the power of the Dark Side. In a good way,” Jeana finished saying.

“That wasn’t what I had in mind when I said to take what was yours.”

“What did you have in mind?”

Her mother glanced at her. Except for her eyes, the lights in the room seemed to dim as she said, “Strike a little fear into Miss Graha’s heart, to remind her to do the right thing.” The effect faded. Her mother grinned. “I never learned that mind trick the Jedi use. A little fear goes a long way instead.”

“I thought about it. It still seemed like a cheat. I figured that with the other judges I wouldn’t have to.” Jeana sighed. “I’m going to miss that last spotlight.”

“That’s where I was going. Why’d you do it?”

“Duh. Because me and Adri are friends.” She paused. “We’re both dancers, but dancing is her life. If she’s the principal in the recital, next year she goes to school on Lyrio and becomes the most famous dancer in the Empire. If I’m the principal, it’s one last, beautiful hurrah before I go to Korriban and become the most famous warrior in the Empire.”

Her mother nodded. There was a silence between them; Jeana left one last part out. It was because it was her way. Jeana didn’t want to sound like some noble sage teaching a lesson.

They reached the middle of hall. Jeana greeted her sparring partners. Her mother gave them instructions on today’s exercise. They would circle her, like a serpent, fighting her from all sides, and she would have to fight her way out.

Jeana smiled. “You always have the most fun ideas, mom.”

“If it’s not mine, I borrow or steal from the best.”

“Isn’t that beg, borrow, or steal?”

“Sith don’t beg.”

“Right.”

They started to fan out. Her partners fired up their armor and tested their weapons. Every single one looked nervous. Her mother tossed her the lightsaber. “Fire it up all the way,” she said. “You’re ready.” They moaned. They’d be spending time with the medical droids after this one.

Jeana caught the lightsaber with one hand and turned it on in one move. She flourished the blade around her. Her smile looked happy, beautiful and terrifying in the saber’s red light.

Her mother said, “Music.” Music from the recital filled the training hall. The other warriors didn’t get it. They looked at one another, assuming the worst.

Jeana felt like she could fly. She bowed to them, and the dance began.

A warrior, and a dancer

A warrior, and a dancer

"Sea Serpent" by Mictones at DeviantArt

“Sea Serpent” by Mictones at DeviantArt

Take what was rightfully hers.

Everyone applauded as the soloists left the floor. There were a lot of hugs, some tears, laughter, and pats on the back. Jeana thought of her sparring partners in the training hall at home. Not the hugging type… well, that wasn’t true. They were different kinds of hugs. Less frilly. You didn’t giggle when you wore powered armor.

Well, there was that one weirdo from Dashan…

“Principals, to positions.”

Jeana and Andri jumped up and moved briskly to their places. Andri wore her favorite color, sky blue. Jeana wore her signature black.

They faced a panel of six judges from the school, chaired by Miss Graha. With Miss Graha alone Jeana wouldn’t have stood a chance. With all the teachers in school, Jeana knew she had it sewn up. They would be dancing the same routine, side by side, far enough apart that they wouldn’t get in each other’s way. The judges would decide who deserved the lead.

It always came down to this. Jeana and Adri. Adri and Jeana.

It felt different today. Adri felt like a storm cloud over to Jeana’s left. All churn, no focus. Jeana bit her lip. “Pull it together, bitch,” she whispered.

Adri’s eyes snapped over to her. “What?” she hissed.

Jeana’s eyes flicked over to her. Her eyes narrowed just so. Slowly, she said, “You heard me. You’re dust.”

Adri looked away and fixed her gaze on the the judges. She grit her teeth. Jeana felt her storm focus into a jet of rage.

The music started. Both dancers bowed, and the audition began.

The dance started slowly, symbolizing an underwater princess rising up from the depths of the sea. Then the pace quickened. There were dark, dangerous things in the water. The dancers circled, gazing around the room. They looked with wonder, then with fear. Their steps moved faster. An ancient sea serpent came at them. Spins. Leaps. The dancers fought. Every stab skewered. Their kicks slashed. Their teeth bared and snapped. Jeana felt like she could smell blood in the water, everywhere around them. The madness of battle engulfed them.

The music rose to crescendo. In final, titanic struggle, the dancers overcame the beast. The music slowed gradually into a lilting melody. The princess reached for the surface. She broke through. The dance came to an end.

No one made a sound. Then one person clapped, and the entire studio suddenly roared. It was deafening! People cheered, whistled and screamed. Some of them were crying again. Others were hugging. The judges applauded too. People were crying, “Bravo!” Jeana grinned from ear to ear.

She and Adri looked at each other. Awkwardly, they both hugged, and waved at the crowd. The applause kept going. Some of the judges looked at each other. They nodded to each other. As one, they gave the dancers a standing ovation. The audience screamed louder.

The dancers bowed. The crowd kept cheering. Twice. Now it was getting funny. Jeana and Adri waved at the crowd, and the applause finally faded. The dancers stood side by side and held hands the way they always did to await the judges’ decision.

“Hate this part,” Adri whispered.

As usual, they dragged it out. Without expression, the judges voted and passed their decisions to Miss Graha. She counted the votes, and confirmed them with the judges on either side of her, who confirmed the results. Miss Graha turned to the dancers. Everyone hushed again.

“Thank you, ladies. I speak for everyone on this panel when I say that we weren’t watching dancers today. We watched warrior queens. Both of you were utterly magnificent. Our regret is that only one of you can reign supreme, and the other will be her handmaiden in the recital. Adri, congratulations.”

Adri’s hands covered her mouth. She lowered her head as tears flowed. Jeana wrapped her arms around her. Bitter wine, sweet wine.

Adri hugged her back lightly. When Jeana didn’t let go at first, Adri hesitated, then hugged her like they were still friends. When they let go, she gave Jeana a look.

“You did great, Adri,” Jeana said.

Adri hugged Jeana again, hard. “Thank you,” she said.

ballet stretchThe events calendar in the studio read, “Today: Final Cuts for the Recital.” Below that was tacked a schedule of auditions, from the backup, through the artists, soloists and principals. Jeana and a girl named Andri were the principals competing for the lead. Andri was Miss Graha’s favorite. In spite of that, she and Jeana were good friends.

Jeana arrived early, as she always did. She usually took a place on the rail and stretched while going over the recital in her head.

Andri was here early, too, as she always was. Usually they’d sit together and get ready, but they hadn’t ever since auditions had begun. Miss Graha discouraged it. She said they were rivals and should act like it.

Jeana sat next to Andri where she used to. She smiled. “Hey.”

“Hi, J,” Andri said.

“Big day.”

“Yup.”

Andri was usually the talkative one. Today she was Miss Monosyllable. This was weird. Jeana said, “Uh… look, I just wanted to say good luck today. Kick ass.”

Andri looked down. “Yeah.”

Real weird. Jeana gathered up her things to go.

“I hate the way she treats you. It’s not fair,” Andri blurted. Jeana was about to thank her, when she went on, “Everyone thinks I’m her pet. I’m a good dancer.”

“You’re a great dancer!”

“As good as you?”

“I…” Well, yes. Jeana could feel how upset Andri was. They were friends. Jeana lied through her teeth. “Better.”

“You’re just saying that.”

“What’s up with you?”

“Why did you come over here, anyway?”

Jeana started to get angry. She caught a rush of the Dark Side. She’d wanted to feel something good here before Miss Graha walked in and turned everything to fangs and daggers, but Andri wasn’t helping.

To wish you luck, loser. Because I’m better than you. No matter how well you do you can’t beat me today, and everyone knows it.

Jeana shook her head. “Forget I did. ‘Merde,’” Jeana said. Dancer slang for ‘good luck.’

“Right.”

She turned to walk back to the rail. Miss Graha stood in the doorway. She’d seen everything. They shared a stare. Jeana blinked first but only because she had better things to do, like stretch.

Miss Graha walked over to Andri. Jeana watched them whisper. Miss Graha made forceful gestures. Points. Fists. Be strong. Don’t let her mess with your head. Jeana felt flickers of the Dark Side. Anger. Scorn. Passion. She wondered what she was saying.

Andri noticed her looking. Jeana gave her a small smile. She winked. Jeana lifted her foot onto the rail and began dancing in her mind.

Battle in Dance

Posted: July 19, 2013 by writingsprint in Choices, Fantasy, Science fiction
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rageJeana focused her mind completely on the music. One, and two, three, and four, turn, step, step, jete! Her body sang and the Force sang with it as she landed in time with the music. Jeana imagined herself falling into a pool of water to keep from smiling at –

“No! No! Stop! And stop the music!”

So much for falling into water; Jeana felt like a fish being jerked out of a lake. She pulled up. Miss Graha, her dance teacher, walked over to her. The entire class hushed. Jeana felt their fear. She turned red. Miss Graha had been the most famous dancer on Corellia until an ankle injury two years ago. Jeana had idolized her. Jeana sensed bitterness, rage, something sick that she couldn’t put her finger on.

She knew better than to say anything.

Miss Graha stared at her from inches away for a full three seconds. Jeana looked back, eye to eye.

“You missed your mark. Again.”

Jeana looked down at the floor. She stood on a black X taped to the wood. “This is…”

“Not that one!” Miss Graha stepped to the right and stomped on another X. “This one!”

“That’s my takeoff for the leap!”

“Nonsense! Am I blind?” She turned to the rest of the class and roared, “Does anyone else disagree with me?”

Jeana couldn’t read their minds, but she could sense their feelings. Every last one of them believed Jeana. Every last one of them didn’t want to face Miss Graha, either. Jeana seethed. What she wouldn’t give to face Miss Graha with a lightsaber.

Miss Graha faced Jeana again. She poked her shoulder. “Again, young lady,” she said. She might as well have told Jeana that her dancing disgusted her.

The fire of Jeana’s blood overflowed. The Force flowed through her.

This time, Jeana danced in a whirlwind. Her points sharpened to daggers. She struck silent sword blows on her marks. Behind the music, she heard gasps from her classmates. Even Miss Graha held her voice. The passion built and built and broke and consumed Jeana. If only her mother were here!

The song faded away. Jeana’s heart lifted. She cradled herself on the floor as the music turned to vapors. She unfolded her arms, opened one, then the other, and imagined the fire in her blood fading away, like a sun cooling to night.

The Force warned her first. Jeana imagined blackness. Fangs. A threat.

Normally Miss Graha would lead a round of applause for the soloist. Instead, she walked to where Jeana sat on the floor. She tapped her foot. “You hit your marks, and those were some of the most amazing leaps I’ve seen you do yet, Miss Lysset.”

Jeana heard her mother’s voice in her mind: rage is fuel. Use it wisely. When your opponent expects fury, give them calm. When she expect control, unleash your wrath.

She imagined Miss Graha on fire. Rather than asking her teacher what the hell was wrong now, Jeana asked, “But…?”

Miss Graha stammered. This time Jeana couldn’t help cracking a grin. If this had been a sparring session, she would have hit her four times by now.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t sparring. Miss Graha regained her composure. “Your expression still needs work. It’s all mechanics; there isn’t enough art.”

Jeana’s mouth dropped open. Her rage overflowed and she lost control. “Not enough what? What do you want me to do, bleed?”

Miss Graha cocked her head to the side and folded her arms.

“Oh, no. I didn’t…”

“That’s enough from you for today, young lady. Go sit down.”

“I didn’t….” It was too late. Miss Graha pointed to the side of the room where the rest of the class sat.

“I’m sorry,” Jeana hissed. She wasn’t. Jeana kicked herself. She was sorry she’d lost her cool, not for what she’d said.

The photo above was posted by user DGetz at androidcentral.com and is used without permission.

Choices

Posted: July 14, 2013 by writingsprint in Choices, Fantasy, Science fiction
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sword dancer

Jeana stalked into the gym at her family’s house. Her eyes blazed. Every step flared with barely contained rage. “No one talk to me,” she said. The training droids and her sparring partners didn’t say a word. She waited for her mother to comment. Nothing, yet. She followed a scalpel-straight line from the entrance to the locker room. The clatter of the door slamming behind her echoed for seconds after she was gone.

Her mother Jessica laughed. “Sorry, everyone. Jeana’s going to be on fire today.” She handed her daughter’s favorite light saber to Snow, one of the trainers. He gulped. She said, “Low power, setting two. Don’t worry, everyone. She likes you, so I don’t think anyone’s going to die today.”

Inside the locker room, Jeana went straight to hers and started changing. Her mother demanded strict discipline when it came to fighting. She had ten minutes until it was time to start. Her dance teacher was the same, only worse. Much, much, darkly, blackly, clawingly worse.

She put the bag with her dance clothes in the locker. Jeana was about to change worlds from dance class to what she nicknamed Sith class. The two were alike in a lot of ways. Passion. Grace. Precision. Jeana touched the curled edge of a picture inside her locker door, of her first solo, when she was twelve. Her chin trembled. They also shared pettiness, jealousy, and heartbreak. Her heart vibrated between sadness and rage. Jeana sighed, and her heart chose both. A few tears fell. She kept moving. In moments she had replaced her dance clothes with her training armor.

Jeana walked back into the training hall. “Bad day at class?” her mother asked.

“Mom… I said don’t talk to me.”

“Use that attitude on your training partners, young warrior. Not with me.”

Her mother tossed her the saber. Jeana looked at it funny. “Setting two? We’ve been doing four.”
“At four you’re going to kill somebody today. We don’t have any throwaway partners in here.”

Jeana cracked a grin. Some light seeped into her bitter heart. “You can always make me laugh.”

“Laughter’s good for balance.”

“And balance in the heart means passion with precision,” Jeana recited. “Someday I’m going to get you to lose it, and just see what happens.”

Her mother smiled nervously. “Oh, honey. Just make sure your helmet’s on when that day happens.”
Jeana walked into the center ring. She filled her soul with the fury she still felt, only now she set it to the melody of a song they’d been dancing to in recital practice.

It was a good day sparring for Jeana, a rough one for her partners.

What? I already did a post called “Choices”? Well, here’s another one.

The photo is from Desktop Nexus and is used without permission.

A Dying Art

Posted: November 24, 2011 by writingsprint in Fun Stuff, postaday2011, postaweek2011, Writing
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Ballroom DancersDance was becoming a dying art, like gunfighting in the Old West. Law and order had meant that honest people could put down their guns. Motion capture games and virtual reality meant that people who had no experience dancing would at least imagine what the experience felt like. With a few arm sweeps, flutter kicks, and a waving their Wii remote at the right time, someone could complete a video game waltz without ever having taken a lesson.

Cheryl practiced the waltz steps for her recital in an empty dance frame. Her partner, Lance, was late. The sweetness of “Moon River” filled the studio. The romance of it, and her being alone, made Cheryl sad. She sank into it and flowed even more deeply into the last turn of the song. Lemons out of lemonade. That was one of the first things she had learned. It kept her going.

Lance came running in. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m so damn sorry. Work ran long.”

Cheryl came out of the pose and bowed to her phantom partner. She stood up and gave Lance her best oh-no-you-didn’t-just-say-that pose: hands on her hips, chin tucked under. “I thought this was your work. Our work.”

Lance sighed. “It doesn’t pay the bills. At least not most of them.”

“I’m just saying, we’re a week from the recital, and we need to get better. Otherwise we’re going to wind up being motion capture models or worse for the rest of our lives.”

Lance stood in front of her, ready to go. “I know,” he said quietly.

Cheryl softened. Lance was a good guy. He worked hard. He wasn’t the most talented partner she ever had, but he was always there for her, even if he was sometimes late. “Shall we?”

I hope to God dance never becomes a dying art! This post was inspired by the latest episode of Dancing with the Stars, my video game addiction, and the prompt “a dying art” from Inspiration Monday at Be Kind Rewrite.