Tiny Dancer

In the Spotlight

07 Jan 2013 18:37  |  by Siobhan Knight
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“Are you a ballet dancer or an elephant?!”

It’s been almost six months and I haven’t learned yet to not seize up and freeze the moment Eric barks criticism at another dancer. You’d think I’d be used to it by now, especially since I haven’t been criticism free, but it still gives me pause.

Noticing my stalling, Sharona catches my eyes and waves for me to continue going through our movements. I grin sheepishly and pick up where I left off before Taylor steps on my heels and we mess up the entire line.

At least we’re all doing our part right.

“I’m sorry - “

“Aht!” I don’t have to look to see Eric holding up a hand to cut Delia off in mid-apology. She’s been apologizing a lot today. Every single time he snaps at her, or she goes down in an ungainly spill or falls into a bad rhythm because of a misplaced foot or hip alignment. “Please don’t. You’re obviously not sorry enough or you wouldn’t be staggering like a drunken whore with two broken legs.”

I do wince at that, and frown when I catch Colette’s pinched face in the mirror. Her cat-that-ate-the-canary smirk is very plain to see, though it does nothing to help her countenance. Sadie Jaffe is no longer with us, having finished off the season with rave reviews of her Snow Queen in the Nutcracker; she’s dancing with the London Ballet now, with quite the send off blast on New Year’s Eve. Delia was the obvious choice and inheritor of the title of Golden Dancer and Favored Principal, though she’s been falling short and Colette and Wendy are like coyotes just waiting for the prey to fall into a peaceful sense of false security.

This time my pause is too long, and Taylor does step on my heel. I stagger, she stops short and the whole line is thrown out of formation.

“Siobhan!” Taylor hisses with a glare. That single word conveys a lot, but most importantly that we don’t need to attract Eric’s attention when he’s in a sour mood.

I give her an apologetic shrug, and start back with the next step on queue and proper time. Fortunately, Eric is too focused on Delia and only Adelaide has taken a moment to notice our lag. She raises a brow when I look over at her to check our status and I’m smart enough to immediately focus my attention on Sharona’s bun instead of anywhere else in the studio.

We’re stepping into the pas de chat when Eric snarls, “Stop! Stop! Stop! What the hell are you doing, Delia?! Everyone just stop until Sleeping Beauty remembers what part of the scene we’re dancing.”

We don’t have much choice as Adelaide is no longer calling the time, and one never wants to move a muscle of any sort when Eric has just called a halt. The fire alarm could sound at the moment or a hail of bullets come through the window and we’d likely all just stand as we are.

“Party guests and fairies, take five.” Eric waves a negligent hand in our direction, his attention wholly focused on Delia. “Princess Aurora, shall we engage from the top?”

On some unspoken queue, the music resumes and the rest of the corps begins wandering toward our water bottles and dance towels.

“I want you to stand here, Delia and watch Cyn and Dawna. Mirror their every - “

“I am mirroring. I’ve done - “

“If you’re talking, you’re not watching.”

I watch in the mirror as Cyn and my mother take up positions on either side of Delia, the three of them focused on an opposite mirror as Eric circles around. I catch my mother’s disapproving scowl at Eric’s treatment of Delia and I can’t help but roll my eyes. I’ve been a first hand witness and had first hand experience of how hard, brutal and demanding she can be to her student dancers, and our skin was a whole lot thinner than Delia’s.

It’s been weird having my mother here in the studio, but she’s been the choreographer of choice for Sleeping Beauty for Eric and Cyn for the last five years. She worked with American Ballet Theatre and has even done a stint with The Chicago Ballet and the Boston Ballet Company. This is one of her signature pieces, and it’s different working with her in this sort of professional capacity than it was working for her over summer or dancing for her.

Weird, but nice; since moving in with Jenna and Preston we don’t have our morning breakfast and bonding. I didn’t realize how much I missed it until Mom and I met for breakfast at a local coffee shop before heading into the studio together.

“It’s her developpés,” Nick volunteers as I take a seat in the small semi-circle formed by he, Taylor, Sharona and Kelly. “She’s always had problems with that. It’s a known issue. I haven’t a clue why Colette or Wendy isn’t up there with Delia as understudy.”

I tilt my water bottle back and take a long swallow. Then I frown at Nick. “This is just rehearsal to learn the steps and our marks. Roles haven’t even been cast yet.”

I get that look from all of them. The one that says I’m cute and naive and how much it amuses them. It’s not patronizing, like I assumed it was in the beginning, they are genuinely amused by the naivete of the new girl. They don’t make me feel bad about it, and if anything it’s more like older siblings seeking to impart wisdom after their moments of enjoyment.

“What?” I sigh, exasperated.

“I’m shocked, Duckling,” Kelly smirks in time to my inevitable wincing. Cooper’s nickname has caught on, though only this group dares to use it, at least out loud. “You’ve been here long enough to know how this goes. The casting is just for show, to make it look fair. The role you dance in rehearsal is the role you dance in the performances. We just put in our all so that we can secure our understudy and switch parts.”

Sharona leans against Kelly’s shoulder. “Yeah, why do you think Wendy was so pissed that you started out dancing the Arabian roles before final casting?”

“Because Siobhan owned that role and was way better at it than Wendy could have ever been?” Nick suggests with a boyishly charming grin. He’s almost as hot as Coop, but unlike Coop only swings toward men from what I can tell. Still, he’s a great bit of eye candy. For not the first time, I think that Preston would like Nick, and if he wasn’t pseudo-dating, or whatever it is he’s doing with Coop, I’d introduce them.

I smile graciously at the compliment and sip my water bottle. I’m getting better at taking the compliments and not down talking my talent, but still haven’t managed to figure out how to walk that line between pride and arrogance. “I’ve seen it every year. Wendy wasn’t bad.”

“Stop it.” Kelly nudges me with his foot. “No, Wendy wasn’t bad. You, however, were better.”

“We are going to get you to own your talent if it’s the last thing we do,” Sharona rolls her eyes dramatically. “At least you’re not ducking your head and blushing anymore.”

“Is anyone else here thinking of taking up drinking? I’m starting to think that might be the only way to get through this routine.” Eric’s voice rings out loud and annoyed and everyone focuses on their water bottles, or towels, or cell phones. “It’s very simple, Delia. You have been dancing for years. Do you want to tell me what the problem is?”

“Her developpés,” Nick sing songs in a soft whisper earning a swat from Taylor.

“Maybe the choreography could be changed a little,” I suggest quietly as Eric’s tirade continues and Cyn falls predictably into the role of ‘good cop.’ I’ve known my mother to do such on the fly when her dancers really just can’t get it.

“And maybe monkeys will fly,” Taylor snorts. “That developpés is the entire set for the rest of the dance. It’s the mood and the tempo, and frames the elegance going forward for the final fall. Eric would never go for that.”

“Change the routine?” Eric snorts derisively and I dare to look over my shoulder. My mother and Cyn have evidently suggested it to him and he’s not hearing it. I can’t hear my mother’s response clearly, but I can tell she’s already outlining a few changes that can be made.

“No, absolutely not. It’s not that difficult of a dance. I’ve had dancers previous and I’ll have dancers after who can do it perfectly. Dawna, you’ve had sixteen year old girls who can perfect this. I’m not asking too much of my professional. Do I need to get one of your sixteen year olds in here to show how it’s done?”

“Yes, maybe you should since I’m not your precious Sadie and I’m not good enough!” A water bottle sails across the dance studio and bounce skids across the floor. Delia’s voice is high and shrill, and dead silence follows her tantrum. Looking around, she snatches up her bag and storms out of the studio, the doors slamming loud in her wake.

“Oh no she didn’t,” Nick keeps his voice low and softly snaps his fingers.

“That’s what happens when you’re fucking the director,” Sharona whispers.

“Sharona! Where’d you hear that?” Taylor gapes at the other dancer.

Eric claps his hands. “All right, everyone, break is over. We are going to do this from the beginning. And yes, I’m well aware that I need Sleeping Beauty.” As we put aside our water and other distractions and stand, all our eyes go to Colette and Wendy who straighten up and discretely preen. We’re looking at them, and don’t notice that Eric isn’t.

“Siobhan. Front and center.”

I know it’s my imagination, but in that moment I feel as though the whole room darkens and there’s a giant spotlight on me. I smooth my hand over my dance skirt. “Me?” I glance at my fellow dancers who are all far more interested in stretching than offering me any backup or support.

“Yes, you. Did everyone take idiot pills this morning? We are doing the party scene for Sleeping Beauty and apparently my Sleeping Beauty has taken leave of her senses. Therefore, I need Sleeping Beauty, so hop to.”

I take a few tentative steps toward Eric, my gaze swinging to Colette and back again.

“Today, Miss Knight. Unless there’s a problem? You do know the choreography? Weren’t you one of those sixteen year olds that I just mentioned?”

“Yes.” I can’t lie about it. I know the choreography well. I was there from the first day my mother choreographed and I’ve probably danced all the roles at one time or another. There are a few changes from the student company performance to the professional, but I have an idea of what they are.

“Then let’s go. Dawna and Cyn, if you will please give Siobhan a quick refresher so that we may all move forward — “

“Eric, I’m ready. I know the parts,” Colette calls out, strolling confidently toward him.

“I’m sure you do Colette, but this scene needs the Lilac Fairy so stay in your role please.”

I take my place, with a last quick glance around at the dancers I consider to be friends. I get a full range of smirks and a less than discreet thumbs up from Cooper. Squaring my shoulders, I take up the mantle of Princess Aurora, with Kelly’s words echoing in my head.

The casting is just for show, to make it look fair. The role you dance in rehearsal is the role you dance in the performances.

I don’t know how much truth is in them, and I can’t let myself think about it. Today, I just have to dance.

Email to Jenna: Terrible Friend

15 Oct 2012 17:34  |  by Siobhan Knight
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FROM: Siobhan Knight <moc.cbncyn|thgink.s#moc.cbncyn|thgink.s>
TO: Jenna Donovan<ude.uynhcsit|navonodj#ude.uynhcsit|navonodj>
SUBJECT: I Feel Terrible

I'm a terrible, terrible, horrible friend. Please, please please tell me that you've remembered and have something in your bag of tricks or in the planning.

Pres' birthday is coming up. Not just any birthday but his 21st. I've been so busy and distracted, and I feel horrible.

Did you remember?

Siobhan Knight
New York City National Ballet Company, Corps de Ballet


06 Sep 2012 19:37  |  by Siobhan Knight
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Just when I'm starting to get comfortable, I get thrown a curve ball.

This time, in the form of a fourth ballet set. Eric and Cyn didn't think anything of telling us about that first thing this morning, emphasizing that we're all so good with the other dances that this should be a cake walk.

Except, you know, for the one of us that isn't one hundred percent on top of the other dances? Now, I get to learn a new one.

Fortunately, I've only had to focus on class and forms this morning, and the real work doesn't come until after lunch. I got pulled aside by Cyn who offered me extra time before and after rehearsal to work on anything I want but she assured me that she and Eric have no doubt that I'll be ready to go just like everyone else.

I'm still newly terrified.

Which is why I'm still here, in the changing room when everyone else has started to head out to lunch. It's warm and humid, which usually makes people stay in. But now it's September and we're heading into fall and everyone wants to take advantage of the outdoors while we can.

My hair is down and I've slipped into a pair of capris and a loose shirt, and I'm thinking I'll go have a quiet lunch at the sushi bar or maybe grab breadsticks and salad at the Italian place. It's going to be an afternoon of work, so I need the carbs.

"I'm just so sick of it. She's not better than I am." The voice comes from the other side of the locker room, and I don't hear a response, so either I'm about to learn who the crazy dancer is, or someone's on the cell phone. "I deserved one of those roles, but of course not because I'm not giving blow jobs to Eric."

Whoa, catty much?

I slip into my shoes and stand up from the bench seat. Looking up just in time to catch Collette's eyes on the other side of the locker thanks to the wall length mirror.

"I have to go." The dancer hangs up the phone, glaring at me.

Like it's my fault she's bitching on her cell phone for not getting the parts that went to Sadie and Delia? Suck it up, I say.

"You're still here?" Collette asks, circling the locker. Is it weird that I think she totally looks like a vulture?

Yes, I'm not too comfortable with that idea because that makes me the prey.

"I'm about to go out and grab a bite." I pick up my purse and sling it over my shoulder.

Collette rakes her eyes over my body. "Be careful what you eat. You wouldn't want to …get fat." There's a silent emphasis on the end, seeming to imply 'get fatter' instead of what she said. She sits down and slides off her slippers, "The leotard just emphasizes everything."

"Thanks for the advice," I say, not really meaning it. I'm on my way out anyway. And if I wasn't? I'm not hanging around for target practice.

"You've been talking to Cooper a lot lately." Collette follows me with her eyes. "He's nice, isn't he? Giving all sorts of helpful advice?"

"Yeah, he has." He's not the only one, though he was the first one. Since Cooper started talking to me on Monday, a few others have opened up, but he's really been the most helpful. Outside of Eric and Cyn, of course.

"Mmm." Collette purses her lips and then shakes her head. "Don't get too comfortable with that. He's not being altruistic. I'm sure he's telling you how good you are, and how great an asset you are and all that, but really? He's just trying to get closer. Rub your ego the right way so that he can rub other things, I'm sure you understand.

"It's what he does. You're just another pretty ballet dancer who's going to spread her legs and get her heart broken." She gives me a sad smile. "I'm not trying to be mean, but honestly, think about it. You're not even done with Julliard. You need a ton of training on technique, and the only reason you managed to get a big chunk in the Fall Gala is because it's contemporary and not classical. Better you deal with it now, instead of being disappointed and heart broken later. Cooper Montgomery will say what he has to say to get in your pants. But he's not the one casting roles, and Eric and Cyn are worried about how you're going to do. What does that tell you?"

I open my mouth and then immediately snap my jaw shut. I want to argue with her and tell her she's wrong, but … is she? Didn't Cyn offer to stay and help me after rehearsal? Cooper is a huge flirt, and I don't really know him. I know that I'm good enough to be here, I wouldn't have been selected if I wasn't, but I have a long way to go to be as good as Sadie or Delia. I'm still learning, and no amount of talent or enthusiasm can make it up for that. Classically, I'm not ready for the Gala. Could I be ready in three weeks, enough to fake it? Maybe. But right now? I'm nowhere near good enough.

I'm good enough at Julliard but this is a different world. If it hadn't been for Madame Beaudreau, I'd still be at Julliard getting better. Perfecting myself.

I wouldn't have auditioned.

I wouldn't have killed my audition.

I'm not classically trained and I'm not ready, and I know that. I know that I'm willing to work my ass off to be ready and look as good out there as everyone else. I'm not ready to compete with Sadie or Delia but …

For a long minute, I stare at Collette. Not speaking, just staring in disbelief. Not hurt, not insult, just utter shock and disbelief.

"Wow," I finally find my voice, and the shock turns to annoyance. More than that, I'm suddenly starting to get really pissed off. "Are we fifteen?"

Collette blinks at me in confusion. "What?"

"Are. We. Fifteen?" I fold my arms over my chest and walk back over, out of arm's reach but close enough to stare down at her where she's sitting. "Because the last time I succumbed to that bitchy catty mean girl attitude was when I was in tenth grade. I was the Queen Bitch of Mean Girl and that was only because it took me until I was fifteen to realize how immature I sounded."

It's a good thing she's not an actress because she sucks at it. Collette gasps and tries to look surprised and confused. "Cheyenne, I don't know what you're talking about."

"Just like you don't know my name?" Beat. "Let me spell it out for you carefully, then, and I'll use small words. You need to try harder and do better, because if that's the best you can do with the poor girl prep school psychological sabotage then I'm embarrassed. For you. I'm embarrassed that you are dancing with the top ballet company in New York City and are so insecure in your talent that you have to pick on the new girl because she might be a little bit of competition."

I glare at her a moment, hold my hand up when she tries to say something. "You know something? You're right. I am not a prima ballerina. I am nowhere near being a prima ballerina. I need work and I need training. But I. Am. Here. And I wouldn't be here if I wasn't good enough. So walk your drama off the stage and watch your back, because I'm going to dance all over it."

I leave her sputtering and calling me several names as I walk out with my head held high.

Like I said, I may not be a prima ballerina yet, but I'm good enough to make Collette sweat. I'm good enough to be here and every day, I'm going to get just a little bit better.

And Collette can kiss my well dressed Upper East Side ass.

A Bewitching Enigma

06 Sep 2012 15:16  |  by Siobhan Knight
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This blog was written the night of Wednesday, September 4 2012

A busy schedule means even fewer updates to my blog, and I really should do it more. I have so many thoughts in my head, and they're distracting. I focus better and work with a clearer head when my thoughts aren't chasing themselves around.

Remember when I said that I joined the company in the thick of it all? It wasn't an exaggeration. They're We're gearing up for the Fall Gala. For all the work that goes into this, it's amazing that it's only for two weekends. The Fall Gala is three ballets; one is traditional and the other two are more contemporary. They're staples of NYC National because the founder created and choreographed them. Once we're done with those, we start gearing up for both The Nutcracker and the Fall Repertoire, which will be an additional set of short one act ballets in early November.

I think I'm the only one completely overwhelmed by all of this. Cooper says that it's normal and it's helpful because it gives a distraction and something else to do while working toward the Nutcracker that everyone knows is the biggest production of the year. The way the roles are cast, every thing overlaps, no one is over worked and it all comes together beautifully in the end.

That's what I've been told. I should listen to him, I guess. Cooper, I mean. He's been doing this for years and I've seen him dance. He's very good. (Not that I'm fan-girling or anything, but seeing him and Sadie together in Giselle last year? Awesome. They looked like they were made to dance together and it was just … words fail me.) It still makes my head go spinny though.

Speaking of Cooper … Hello, Enigma Boy. I don't know how I managed to be around the studio with him that first week and never find it out, but Cooper Montgomery is a witch. Ok, yes, I didn't dance with him or even really talk to him that first week, which is probably why I never made that eye contact that gave me that witchy vibe. Like the one I get from other witches, which is different from the one I get from sorcerers.

Pres and I went to Purgatory Saturday night to blow off some steam. I was so tense and then just wound after finding out that I'm dancing in all three ballets (it's a good feeling and the sort of bad that makes my belly tie itself in knots). The unrestrained crazy dancing always takes the edge off, and plus, I could celebrate the awesomeness of Brooke's hawt boyfriend giving Jenna and me a special pass.

That's where we ran into Cooper. Who's not only a great dancer and pretty damn hot outside of his dance uniform, but he's over the top flirtatious and swings both ways. Not that I care about the latter, it just came as a surprise. I know a few of the girls at the Company are in lust with him, but I never gave it any thought as to whether he's the stereotypical gay dancer or not. That would be a not.

He's pretty fun, and I had a good time when I wasn't blushing like crazy. I mean, the flirtation was just so overboard. (He actually told Pres that he wanted a threesome with me and Pres. How do you respond to something like that? "No, my boyfriend would get mad, but thanks for the offer?") I consider myself a good flirt, but I was too busy being surprised and trying to find my footing to respond to him. Pres didn't have a problem, but I'm kinda thinking Pres was pretty serious about his flirting. I really think that if Pres hadn't been worried about me and it wouldn't have been leaving me alone? He'd have gone home with Cooper or taken Cooper home with him.

Anyway, he's a witch, but I'm not sure what his story is. It's not like we witches have a secret handshake or anything, but on Saturday night? I got the feeling that he didn't know what I was. Not just in that curious sort of 'what the heck, is she a sorcerer?' reaction that I get from other witches sometimes, but like he'd never sensed it before, which is possible.

I could have said something, but didn't want to out him to Pres, because that's a trust thing and I trust Pres completely but Cooper doesn't know him. I held my tongue and I'm sort of glad I did. Every time he looked at me it was with that bit of curiosity, and the longer the night went on, the less I got the feeling that it had to do with him maybe figuring out that I'm the Scandal. "The Knight Girl" (as opposed to Chris who's "The Knight Boy.")

I will never be a detective, but I felt him out at the studio the past few days. Just poking around to see if he knew anything. I asked Mom too, if she knew of any other male witches in the City. Of course, she didn't give me an complete affirmative or negative because she says she doesn't know everything, but she did tell me that she doesn't know of any beyond Chris. Of course, then she wanted to know why I asked and I hedged because this was Sunday and I didn't want to spill about Cooper until I knew more.

Tonight, I told her and I also told her my suspicions. She said she'll talk to Regina. I don't know what my face must have shown, because she immediately promised that they won't do anything. Just see what they can find out about The Montgomerys. If Cooper is a witch, he might need help or guidance at some time, but if his family isn't in the know, The Coven doesn't make it a habit of pulling the rug out from under 'normal' people.

It all came down to Mom asking me to keep an eye on him, just in case he comes into explosive power or something (which had me trying not to laugh, because I could honestly just hear how Cooper would twist that around to something dirty). It's ironic that she told me to do that when he's been sort of keeping an eye on me this week. Not in a bad way …well, I suppose if I were easily offended, it could be bad since I'm pretty sure he's been checking out more than my dance moves a few times. But … he's been helpful. He's had some good advice, and constructive criticism that has helped me. He also told me that I was good and that I'll probably be a threat to the other dancers once I'm trained. Which felt good and I really, really needed to hear.

I know that everyone has faith in me: Harper, Jenna, my parents, my friends and I love them for it and appreciate their support. Hearing it from someone in the Company and a fellow dancer's perspective though? That helped a lot. I just felt more confident and calmer on Monday, and every day since. This whole week has been an improvement over last.

I'm still nervous scared shitless about going on stage. Scared and excited. It's less than a month away, and I still have sooo much to learn.

And oh yeah, I'm taking a physics class. So that I'll maybe have a vague idea of what Harper and his engineering friends talk about. I don't figure I'll ever understand it all, but at least I won't be the completely clueless wife and he'll be able to come home and share his day with me.

Speaking of my hot boyfriend, it's time to call him and then get some beauty sleep.

Not Sinking (Yet)

31 Aug 2012 22:17  |  by Siobhan Knight
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This blog entry was actually written on Thursday, August 30, 2012.

You know how when in middle school and high school, you would walk into a room and conversation would stop? Or you'd look over at a group of people and they'd pointed look away and stop talking? The tell-tale signs that all scream "Yeah, we're talking about you."

That's been my life for the past two days.

I'm trying to ignore it, and I'm trying really hard not to imagine what's been said just out of my earshot but it's hard. I know that I'm not a professional and I haven't had all the training that they've had, but I'm trying, I'm really trying.

I've been getting to the studio thirty minutes earlier just to have the time to warm up and do a little solo practice before class starts. I take a shorter lunch and I stay after everyone is gone so that I can work on the routines and get them perfect. It's not easy and they've been doing this for weeks before I even started, and I know that I have a long way to go by the September 28th Gala.

The repertoire is three ballets, all stand alone pieces, and each is a little different from the rest. The last one is unexpectedly contemporary, and while it's really the most fun, it's turning out to be the most complicated. Not that the others are easy. I make mistakes, and I know I'm going to have to work harder. It would just be better if I didn't feel like everyone is looking over my shoulder waiting for the new kid to make a mistake.

My mother says I'm pushing too hard and that if I don't take a break, I'm going to burn out before I even get started. I know she means well, but she hasn't been in the studio with these other dancers. She doesn't know just how good they are. Okay, that's not fair. I know she choreographed for the big Gala two years ago, so she does know. So, how can she possibly tell me that I need to slow down?

That's the worse part of it all. The Gala. This isn't a ballet that I've seen danced before. Yes, every choreographer is different, but I've seen NYC National Ballet do a number of things (all of them fantastic). I mean, I'm honest flattered that I'll be on the same stage (maybe if I'm lucky) with Sadie Jaffe. She's brilliant, and phenomenal. (Even if she does give me that little 'oh aren't you cute' smile whenever she sees me. At least she's not watching me from the corners and whispering like a high schooler.)

But the Gala is this huge benefit and showcase and it's like a trial by fire. Sink or swim.

I'm terrified.

I've tried to talk to Pres when he bought me lunch, but for some reason, sitting there and listening to him talk about Broadway and how great things are going for he and Jenna? I didn't want to bring him down. I mean, let's face it: there's only room for one RSVP at a pity party. That's the reason I haven't been in touch with Jenna much either. I don't think she's noticed though, with how busy she is and seeing Chance. Which is good, I'm not begrudging her that. I'm glad she's able to unwind with him when she's got free time.

I'm talking to Harper every night, and it helps. He knows what to say to cheer me up and make me smile, and he's been sending me little gifts all week. I'm carrying my dance gear in the butterfly bag, even though I'm not a pink girl. It's got a butterfly and it's from Harper, and it reminds me that even if he's not here, he's supporting me.

Anyway, tomorrow, Friday, is D-day. Eric and Cyn are announcing the role assignments. I'm not even holding my breath or crossing my fingers. The others have all been dancing the parts they're most suited for since the beginning of August. Honestly, I won't be at all surprised if I'm only the background ensemble dancer for the last ballet number that we do. Or if I'm relegated to understudy for a background ensemble dancer in case someone breaks a leg or twists an ankle.

Mom and Dad are already talking about tickets and having Nana and Aunt Elizabeth come up for the performance. I think they're getting ahead of themselves. There's no point in Nana and Aunt Bethie coming up here if I'm going to be on stage for thirty seconds. Honestly, I'm really tempted to just not tell anyone when opening night is. Tell them that I wasn't good enough for the fall Gala, and that I'm hard at work for the Nutcracker. There's no point in making a big deal out of nothing.

At least tomorrow I'll know. I'll know and I'll only have to concentrate on whatever my understudy and replacement parts are. A little less stress might be a good thing.

Over My Head

29 Aug 2012 13:54  |  by Siobhan Knight
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Today was hard. I don't just mean the work I put in because that was hard too. The ballet class and warm-up in the morning are nothing like the routines we go through at Julliard. It's intensive and it calls on everything that I've ever learned (and a whole bunch of stuff I probably wouldn't be able to do so well if I hadn't been dancing since I could walk.) It was hard because, those other dancers? They're good. Like cream of the crop, star quality good.

I have never felt so out of my league in my life. I've never seen such a great set of dancers working together the way they do except when I've watched performances by the NYC National Ballet. In the back of mind, I've known what goes into such a thing, I've been part of it on a miniature scale, but actually living it and experiencing it first hand is different. Working with and seeing people who just click so well together? Fucking unnerving.

I think the only reason I didn't spend ten minutes there and run out crying was because I took Brooke's advice and cast a calming spell on myself before going.

I'm the youngest one there, too, and I can just imagine that they're wondering what this young half-trained ballet dancer is doing there. They're not the only ones.

I really wanted to talk to Jenna and Pres about it. I tried a few times but couldn't bring myself to do it. They've got their musical and they're so busy and Jenna is so happy (and I'm happy for her) and I really don't want to bring them down with my issues.

I'm going to call Harper. Just to talk and hear his voice. I don't want to bawl to him on the phone, but just hearing his voice sometimes calms me down.

Talking to Harper helped, a little. I mean, I'm always glad to talk to him, even if it's a catch-22 where it's good to hear from him but it does make me miss him a little more. He always knows what to say and can make me smile.

I'm good enough to be there. I wouldn't have been accepted otherwise. I'm just not up to their caliber and I'm going to have to work at that. I don't want to be the one that screws it up, so I'm going to take the extra practice time and really work at this.

Going to take a bath and get some sleep. Making it an early day tomorrow.

The Unexpected

23 Aug 2012 02:56  |  by Siobhan Knight
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I'm a slacker.

I know I'm a slacker, but there's just been so much to write and I get so lost in my thoughts … and then I get discouraged because it will take forever to write it all down.

So, I'm not going to. I'm just going to jump in and start.

We came back from the Hamptons on Sunday. There was a letter waiting for me. Not just any letter, but a hand addressed in calligraphy letter. To Miss Siobhan Knight. Inside was the invitation. The one that I've heard about but never expected to receive. The one that Madame Beaudreau sends a small, selective elite group of students every single year to have brunch at her Manhattan Penthouse overlooking Central Park.

The coveted invitation because it means that you're one of the best of the best and brightest of the brightest.

I swear, I thought the woman hated me. She has never had a good thing to say about my performance or my technique. Other dancers, she throws a few crumbs. Nothing huge, because I don't think the woman can say anything too complimentary to anyone ever but it's usually something to keep them going. All I've ever gotten is, "Miss Knight, next time do better." (Remember how this woman drove me to tears my first few classes with her at Julliard?) I'd probably have given up a long time ago if I didn't have other instructors telling me to ignore her and that she always picks a few students to pick on.

So, anyway, here it was. The invitation. The one that meant that maybe, just maybe the woman at least thinks I'm as good as some of the other students.

It didn't even come with an R.S.V.P. It's like Madame Beaudreau knows that no one is going to turn her down and not show up. There are still rumors about the one dancer that did that and never danced lead at Julliard, or any where else. Ever. Probably only a rumor but …

I obediently went, although I was still expecting the other shoe to drop. It didn't. The brunch was lovely. Madame Beaudreau was as pleasant and polite as I've ever known her to be, and even Evageline didn't put on the attitude and airs that she usually does. I did my best to stay in the background, just in case my hair or my nail polish or my breathing offended Madame Beaudreau, but of course, I got dragged into a few conversation. Summer at the Hamptons, what I planned on doing after graduation. Nothing major.

I was ready to go when we wound down and that's when the other shoe dropped.

"Miss Knight, could you stay behind for a few moments?"

I swear, my stomach just sank and everyone else? Those other three backstabbers? (I don't count Evangeline because I know she hates me. She sees me as her biggest rival, which has always made me laugh because Madame Beaudreau always has a good word to say about Evangeline.) They took off like someone would break both their legs if they didn't.

She invited me to walk on the terrace with her … and that's when it turned surreal.

"You plan to teach after you graduate Julliard, Miss Knight?"

"Yes, ma'am, I do. I've spent the whole summer working at my mother's studio and teaching. It's gratifying - "

She held up a hand. That hand. That motion that she uses when she thinks you're making excuses and wants you to stop. Like Pavlov's dog, I did. Just like that in mid-sentence. "That is what people say when they are rationalizing their failures."

Because yeah, the niceness was fake and too good to last, right?

"I'm not a failure."

"No, you're not. You're not a failure, because in order to fail, Miss Knight, you must first try." She pointed at a fancy iron wrought chair and I sat. Just like that. I felt like a five year old, and I was beet red and stammering, but as usual, the woman didn't care. She made herself comfortable across the table from me and told me to stop acting like a fish. "Your mother settled for her life and it suits her because Dawna Lowell Knight never had and does not have your talent." Again she held up a hand. "Don't get offended on her behalf. Your mother has choreographed some of the most exquisite and complicated dancing I have ever seen grace any stage. She found her calling.

"You, child, are still hopeless."

Yes, this is the point where I was about to cry. I was pretty sure she'd just given me a back handed compliment, but I didn't know why she was wasting her time. Isn't humiliating me more fun in front of a crowd of observers?

I even asked her that and … she laughed. Here I am, practically in tears and ready to run out and she's laughing.

"Is that what you think I've been doing? Humiliating you? I push you, Siobhan. I push you hard. Because on any given day, you are a great dancer. One of the best. But when I push you, you become a superlative dancer and the best out there. You accept mediocrity in yourself, and allow others to shine when you are the brightest star on that studio floor."

Madame Beaudreau sighed and shook her head. "It is an insult to your talent what you do with it. What you are willing to settle for. Why do you not seek to be the star? The prima ballerina?"

"Have you seen me? I don't have the looks for it, okay? I'm short and I'm curvy and I've got ghetto booty and D cups. Tell me when you've seen a ballerina who looks like me?" Mom would have been proud. I wanted to scream and yell, and all I did was raise my voice a little and hold my chin high. A few of the leaves might have moved in the wind, but that could have just been weather. "Honestly, Madame Beaudreau? I like my body. I don't want a breast reduction or liposuction on my backside so I can have the perfect ballerina body."

"It is the passion and the dancers that shape the company. It should never be the other way around." Madame Beaudreau stared at me across the table. "You have a magnificent talent Siobhan. God has gifted you, and that should not be squandered away teaching a new crop until you're too old to soar across a stage. Those other girls that were here today? They work and they work and they are good because they work. You were good when you danced Clara at twelve years old. You are spectacular when you work.

"It is your talent and your passion for dance that will land you the roles that will help you shine and grow, child. "

I had to look like a complete idiot. This woman, who has been the bane of my existence, was complimenting me. Telling me that she thinks I'm the best student out of my classmates. I know I was just staring at her with my mouth wide open, waiting to catch flies as my Mom would say.

"Close your mouth, Miss Knight. That's not at all an attractive look." She slid an index card across the table, with her careful, meticulous script. "You have an audition at eleven o' clock Friday morning at the New York National Ballet. Their auditions are closed, but the director owes me a favor. I promised him that you would be worth it."

"But … I can't … school?" At least I think that's what I said. It was mostly squeaking.

"Am I or am I not the associate dean of the department? When you are accepted into the company, we will see to it that all your hard work and effort counts toward your school credits. You will, of course, have to return next semester, but only so that you may properly complete your studies in a timely and acceptable fashion."

There was more, like suggestions on what pieces I could dance on short notice, and how she didn't want any excuses from me, and how much she wanted me to stop crying like some fragile breakable little doll.

I was in a daze when I left. Somehow I managed to make it through all my classes and now I'm home and it still seems surreal to me.

I have an audition for the New York National Ballet Company on Friday.


This is good, right?


27 Jul 2012 12:30  |  by Siobhan Knight
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The Ball was perfection. For the first time in years, I had the most wonderful time ever. I wasn't just there with my parents or family, I was there with Harper and that makes all the difference. I know, in years past, we've gone and I've met up with Jenna and Harper and gotten a few slow dances out of it, but this time, Harper and I were there. Together. Our first official outing as a couple.

Although it was a bit questionable at first if we'd get there at all.

I must have gone through ten, twenty maybe thirty dresses trying to find the perfect one. The one that would knock Harper's socks off and show him that I'm not a little girl anymore. Yes, we're dating and we fooled around together on the boat over the holiday, but sometimes I get (or got) the feeling that he didn't really see me. He saw Siobhan, the girl he grew up with; his best friend who morphed into something more. It's Harper, so I know I have to give a little leeway, but when we're together, he's so sweet and respectful that sometimes it made me want to scream.

So I wanted to wow him. I wanted him to see me and realize that I'm not just the comfortable best friend who happened to fall in love with him. I wanted him to see a sexy, adult woman. I wanted him to want me, really want me the way a man wants a woman and not the way a boyfriend loves the girl next door that he's known forever.

He saw me. Boy, did he see me. Just the look on his face when I opened the door was enough. It was what I wanted. It was more reaction than I'd expected from Harper. It was like he was undressing me with his eyes, right then, right there, on the spot. I went to give him a kiss on the cheek and … wow. Harper was all over me. Harper was all over me. It bears repeating because this is Harper. Mr. Laid Back and Restrained and I wasn't able to step back before he was kissing me. Passionately.

I'm pretty sure the only reason we didn't take advantage of the empty house then was because everyone would be expecting us at the Ball and we had a hotel suite for later. I still had to spend a good thirty minutes fixing my hair and makeup and getting my dress back in place. He had a few adjustments to make too. *cough cough*

Best distraction and delay. Ever.

Pres made a splash at the Ball, just as he said he would. He showed up in a kilt and a top hat, and it couldn't have been more fitting for Pres. He also showed up with a date, chosen by his mother, who happened to be a lesbian. Talk about your perfect beard for the evening. Both of them were able to relax and just have a good time.

Naturally, Preston and I strutted our stuff on the dance floor. How could we not? No one is as awesome a dance partner as Preston is. We compliment each other so well, we know the other's moves so well. It took us hardly any time to pick up the other's rhythm and then we just worked it on the dance floor. Yes, we were showing off, but I don't do it often and I'm not going to feel guilty. I know that I'm a good dancer, and that Pres is a good dancer and together? We're fantastic and beautiful and awesome to just stop and watch.

I am seriously going to teach Harper a few dance moves too. Not that he was bad, or that we didn't dance. He has no issues slow dancing with me, and I loved being in his arms and not having to pretend like I wasn't floating on air. Harper thinks he isn't a good dancer, and that's the problem. He doesn't lack rhythm, he lacks confidence. I think he'll be pleasantly surprised how much he can learn with the right instruction. We'll look great on the dance floor at our wedding, and yes, I am getting ahead of myself. Except not really.

Harper is The One. Harper has always been the one. If I didn't know it before, I know it now. Since we made love? There's not a single doubt in my mind. I know I don't have a lot to compare to as far as the full four bases goes. Jesse was really my only lover, but Jesse never made me feel the way Harper made me feel. I was shy at first, and a little nervous, because it was Harper and I wanted it to be perfect. He made me laugh and then the shy just went away. Once it did … it was spectacular. Mind blowing spectacular. We just clicked. No fumbling, no awkwardness, it was like we were made to be together. My body just responded to his like - well, not to sound cliche, but like I was made for him and had been waiting for him my whole life.

I still smile when I think about it.

It was intense and romantic and just wow. I don't know what time we went to sleep that night. It was like we couldn't get enough of each other. I kept expecting Harper to get tired, but damn does he have some serious recovery time. I've heard about couples going all night long? Never experienced it before that night and just … wow.

Also? Morning sex? Totally everything it has been made out to be. I was worried about morning breath at first because Harper wouldn't let me out of bed to brush my teeth, but then … let's just say that our mouths were otherwise occupied and I forgot all about it.

It wasn't even embarrassing when we finally made it to brunch (late, because of a shower and yeah, naked wet Harper and naked wet Siobhan and *cough*), and I knew that everyone knew what we'd been up to all night. The only part that was a little embarrassing was the soreness. I was walking just a little bit more slowly than normal, and Jenna gave me an odd look when I kept wiggling in my chair until I could find a comfortable way to sit, but it. Was. Worth. It.

The strangest thing? I haven't told Jenna or Pres yet. Pres asked and I told them it was 'nice' and Jenna gave me a hard time about using the word 'nice' but I'm not ready to share it yet. It was personal and special and I'd like to just keep it that way for a while.

The worse part is going to be not being able to be with Harper now that we're back in the real world. I know it makes me sound like a sex-crazy little nymphomaniac, but it wasn't just about the sex. It was that connection, that being together as completely as we could. I'm not saying that sitting and snuggling and cuddling with Harper isn't the highlight of my day, but I'm definitely going to be counting the days until we can steal a night to ourselves again.

Email to Quintin

21 Jul 2012 05:28  |  by Siobhan Knight
1 comment(s) made on this entry

FROM: Siobhan Knight <ude.drailluj|thginks#ude.drailluj|thginks>
TO: Quintin Bruning <ude.aibmuloc|gninurb.nitniuq#ude.aibmuloc|gninurb.nitniuq>

I got your DM. It's taken me a while to answer it because I wasn't sure how I wanted to answer it. I realized I didn't want to answer it as another DM. I didn't want you to think I was ignoring you, but I needed sometime to get my head together.

In answer to your question, I'm doing … better than I was on Tuesday, or Wednesday even and I'm glad that you checked up on me. I know things were left in a bad state, and I do feel bad about that.

I owe you an apology for my behavior, but we also need to talk, Quin. I need to explain some things about me and why I reacted and behaved the way I did, but I don't want to do it like this. Not in a text message or an email or a tweet.

But I also need to wait until after the Ball Saturday night. After this weekend, even. After everything that happened earlier this week and how my magic affected my emotions and vice-versa, I need this Ball. I need to wear a gorgeous gown, and dance with my handsome boyfriend in a lavish ballroom. I need a night of perfect where I can just be a pretty girl in a pretty dress, who is going to go back to a hotel suite with the man who loves her and for one weekend just have everything I ever wanted and pretend like all of that stressful upsetting stuff didn't happen to any of us.

Then we can talk, okay? Just you and just me, though. No Harper, no Jenna, no Chance, not even your friend. Just us because I can't speak for anyone else and this is our friendship and it doesn't really have anything to do with anyone else.

Love ya,

Jagged Little Pill, Redux

21 Jul 2012 04:58  |  by Siobhan Knight
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IC Date: July 19, 2012 — Evening

Have you ever said or done something and looked over it or remembered it later and not recognized yourself?

Yeah, that's me.

I read my last blog entry and it was like reading something written by a stranger, except not. I mean, the feelings were there and they were raw. Like an oozing open sore, which is a pretty gross analogy but it works. I had so much going in my head, so much anger, hurt and frustration that I just spilled it onto the pages without editing or self-censure.

That's what a journal is for though, right? No self-censure. No filters, just say what you feel and think as it comes to you.

Even if it scares you and you might not know who you are anymore.

Funny thing is? The feelings? They were real and they were off the scale and out of control. I remember how I felt as I was writing that. I remember how hurt I was; how hurt I still am when I think about those few minutes when Jenna made me feel like my world was coming tumbling down around me.

I remember how offended I was when Quin's friend laughed. How much it made me angry and made me want to verbally rip her a new one. How much it still offends me that she laughed and made light of the situation and everyone there seemed to condone the laughter, and I was in the wrong for being hurt and upset by it.

How much it hurt when Quin made it clear that he thought I was a threat.

So, the feeling weren't wrong. They're still there, just not as blinding and overwhelming anymore.

The scariest thing is that I've looked it from the inside and the outside and from all sorts of angles and I don't know why I felt everything the way that I did. It scares me to think that I have some hidden hair trigger that makes me go from pissed off to She Hulk, even if it is only on paper.

It scares me because I really kinda liked She Hulk.

I wanted to ask my mother if she's ever been that upset where she started thinking not good thoughts regarding her spells and her magic. I didn't because I don't want her to know I did. I don't want it getting back to The Coven or Regina.

They'll blame the sorcerer part of me, and I don't know that they would be wrong. It seems like that part of me gets a little stronger every day. Now that I'm more aware of it, I can feel that difference inside of me. The witch on one side and the sorcerer on the other. It's like yin and yang, one part calm and focused, the other chaotic and fiery.

I broke another crystal when I wrote that journal entry.

No, broke is wrong. I pulverized it. It turned to powder in my pocket.


I guess it's good that I'm channeling the power there when I'm emotional. I'm not sure what the fallout would have been if that had gone into the house. Power loss, maybe. Maybe an electrical fire. Yeah, that would have been fun to explain.

I've been kind of quiet because I don't want to think too much. I really didn't want to go back to that dark, twisty place that I was in Tuesday night. It's funny but that was submerged, just kind of buried while I was with Harper. I really didn't think, and the hurt wasn't so bad and the anger wasn't so bitter. I didn't write that until he left for the night.

I've said it before, but I wasn't sure how truthful I was being or if it was just wishful thinking, but I know now. Harper soothes me. Just being close to him is calming and soothing. Sure, I'm a neurotic emotional volcano waiting to go off any time, but somehow he makes it all better. He makes me handle it and process it normal.

Cliche as it might sound, he really is my other half. My better half.

So, where am I now?

Tired. Still hurt, but mostly for Jenna. Disappointed. Anxious.

I'm disappointed in Quin. I was harsh in my last entry, but … no, he wasn't dating Jenna. Yes, she told him that she wanted to figure out what she wanted. And that's great if he wanted to date around, he has that right. No one expected him to wait in the wings, but rubbing his new friend and relationship in Jenna's face? Not cool.

Maybe I didn't give his friend a fair shake, but I'm adult enough to admit that I'm a bitch. She was in the wrong place at the wrong time. She is in the wrong place at the wrong time. Solidarity. Chicks before dicks. Right here, right now, on paper? I'm willing to be honest: I love Jenna too much to warmly embrace the woman who became the competition that Jenna didn't even know she had. Maybe it's not fair, but that's how I feel.

If she's Quin's girlfriend, fine. I'll play nice if I have to. I've done it before, with how many of Harper's girlfriends? It's not a hard role to pull off, but it feels a little like she's the interloper. Like all of us were just getting comfortable together and finding our groove and fate upset the apple cart by dropping this wolf chit into the mix.

Maybe Quin and Jenna weren't a good match, but they should have been able to find that out.

No it's not Wolf Girl's fault (and I honestly don't know her name), and I am annoyed with Quin. He told me that he hadn't given up on Jenna and that he was going to come back and figure things out. I want to believe that he believed it when he left, and that it was his wolf instincts or something and not just that Wolf Girl was willing to attach to him whereas Jenna wasn't, or she was willing to sleep with him … and I wish that he'd given a heads up so I could have prepared Jenna.

I know what she's feeling. I think everyone remembers that I dated a lot of guys, but they seem to forget that I got hurt by a few of them, too. I walked in on one of my boyfriends kissing another girl, and he wasn't even contrite about it. He treated me like I was the problem and his actions were perfectly legit. People forget Anderson. I haven't forgotten Anderson or how small and rejected and 'Wasn't I good enough' feeling that I got from that.

No it's not exactly the same, but in a way, it totally is.

I'm going to go to bed. It's late. I'm going to see if I can meet up with Brooke tomorrow. I know it's short notice, but I think she's the only one right now that might understand all the emotion I was feeling. It's weird how she seems to get the sorcerer magic and power inside of me.

Especially when sometimes I don't.

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