The minutes before, during, and after a performance.
|Eager whispers shatter the fervent silence as they wait: audience and entertainers alike. Together impatiently awaiting the rise of the ruby red curtain. Parents sat with fussy babies and antsy toddlers; grandparents with ancient marvel, smiling as their wrinkled hands clasped one another with the passion of young lovers. A quieted hush settles over the crowd as the lights dim.
Backstage the scene was oddly comparable. Silhouettes scampered in the charcoal darkness. Whispers were filled with excitement, followed by urgent pleas for silence. The young ones cried that their outfits were too tight and their stomachs too empty. On the other side crisis ensues as the older performers race to make final adjustments to hair, make-up, and outfits. Instructors hasten to get the acts lined up, prying the teens from the dressing room and the children from their snacks and coloring.
The moment has arrived. A single spotlight shines in the center of the curtain, and everyone’s eyes go to the stage where slowly the curtain arises. On the stage appears a petite figure embellished in a matching pink leotard and tutu: simple yet elegant. Despite her size, once the music starts, she demands attention. Leaps and turns were done with skill, keen and flawless. Even if she did mess up, no sign of her frustration penetrated her calm façade. Her movements were mesmerizing. As the crowd watched, they grew envious, but proud of the girl. After all her hard work, it was paying off noticeably.
Too soon the music stopped. The poised ballerina stood breathless. There was a pause between the music and the crowd’s reaction which felt like an eternity to the tiny dancer. Relief flooded her body as the crowd enthusiastically applauded. She bowed quickly with a wide smile and rushed off stage. She’d done it! They’d liked her performance which meant so much to her. It was nice for someone to appreciate her hard work and the result of such work. What mattered the most was that she’d conquered her fear of performing in front of people, and no matter what, she hadn’t back down.