By:Eva Yin

Chapter one: 

I remembered how hard I practice before the ballet competition; everything is worth it… 

 One month ago, 

  “Ding Ding Ding” the alarm clock rang. It’s 5:50 in the morning, the hardest time of the day is to get up! I sat up on my bed looking int o the darkness and tried to put my legs out of the comforter. Goosebumps covered my legs, it’s freezing cold in December, so I decided to put my legs back into the comforter again. Then I thought: There is still one month away from the ballet competition, it’s better to practice hard. I struggled to crawl out of the bed in the darkness and open the curtainThe first rays of sunlight lit up my room. After I brushed my teeth and got changed, I looked at my watch: six o’clock exactly. My body is the laziest in the Morning, it won’t move because the muscles on your legs is weak, really need to make myself warmed up. In order to strengthen the exercise, I also wear a sweat suit, it’s a suit that makes you sweat and lose fat. After the exercise, I am already sweating. If you collect the sweat all together, it will be enough for you to take a bath for three days. Birds dancing, cricket singing and insects crawling from outside of my window. I can even smell the fresh air from the nature. Another day had dawned, bringing with its new hopes and aspirations. 

Maria: 

 The practice room is large ad square with a barre affixed to the wallThe floor is slanted. 

“Everyone should stand on the barre and do Tendu exercises!” the ballet teacher voiced. 

 She always stands in the center of the classroom, because others are not as good as her. The teacher asked her to demonstrate Tondu to others. Everyone looks at her with admiring eyes, her eyes keep staring the clock that’s hanging on the door frame. There were still thirty minutes and twelve seconds, eleven seconds…the last minute. The clock ringed… 

“Today everyone’s homework is to do sixteen Tondu every single day, Aileen continues to go back to practice the kicks, and everyone else practices the dance I choreographed for you. Class is over!” the teacher announced 

“Thank you, teacher, and goodbye!” everyone shouted in unison. But she ran out of the classroom ahead of time without saying goodbye, she ran faster than a leopard that found its prey.   

 

Chapter two: 

I stand in front of the barre and waiting the teacher to look at me. My arms are at my side, my feet in first position. Shoulders down, I say inside my head. Neck long. Hands and elbows soft. Be still, don’t look around, and don’t bother about Maria positioning in the center in the better practice skirt, looking proud and unbeatable. 

Maria: 

During lunch, she goher lunch tray and sat on an empty table, eating a tuna sandwich. Some of the girls came to sit with her. 

“Can you leave me alone; I hate making friends.” Maria commanded with her eyes rolling.   

One of the girls said immediately “: You know what, I don’t want to sit with you either, AND we will never sit with you again! Let’s go guys. Everyone followed her. The girls swish their ponytails around and walk away from Maria’s table and sat on the table where I sit.  

 

Chapter three: 

You will never understand the feeling when you’re trying your bestbut no one see your improvement and only see the weakness of you. Hours of practice but still there’s no “perfect”I can only hear: “Your legs are not straightened, AGAIN!” or “Where are your arms supposed to beyou never think of where the arms should be.” or “You are no a toy that has no feelings. Where’s your feelings, you need to express yourself.” The teacher always picks your problems, each time I do the dance, she can always give me thousands and thousands of corrections. 

Maria : 

” How’s your ballet class?” Her mother asked her with soft eyes. 

“Very well, the teacher let me demonstrate other people every time.” She answered confidently, “There must be no problem with the competition.”  

“Are you sure? The ballet teacher is asking you to add some more training class before the competition.” Her mother with worried. 

Nah.”Maria responds, “I don’t need more training, I’m totally fine, don’t  worried about me.” She grabs her phone out of her pink pocket; went to her own room and locked the door. 

 

Chapter Four: 

I have a cold sweat in my hand and my feet can’t move. It feels like my heart is up in my throat, and the brain was blank. What if I forgot the movements? What if didn’t have a good score? What if I did a mistake? I let myself take a deep breath, but my body was out of my control. My stomach reacts so much that it’s like saying, “Stop, I can’t stand it,” and it keeps making me feel like I’m going to vomit. 

“Player Elaine, number 23, please come on stage.” The staff said flatly, he doesn’t seem nervous at all. I hope he would go on the stage for me. 

I took to the stage in small steps and imagined myself as the real Cupid that’s vivid and naughty in my solo. I am a lovely Cupid that brings people love, I raised my left hind leg to a hundred degrees and do a Fondu, and the movement the same on the direction, the stage light shine on me, the decorations on my dress flickered. When I turn on forth-position the dress swish around my waist, it looks like butterflies flapping their wings. Music is short but beautiful, as if this little Cupid will never rest. I was fully engaged in my own dance and enjoyed the charming scene. The music was over, and the audience clapped loudly, some whistles. 

Maria: 

I was the first one to get on stage, the sooner I finished, the better. She walked on the stage confidentlyeyes shining, feet moving the music beginsThe first movement was kicking the back leg for three beats, she was unstable, everyone thinks she’s going to fell from her demi-point. Everyone one is holding a breath for her, worried about her ankle that could sprain anytime. Her eyes have no emotion anymore, her brain is memorizing what the next move might be, she reluctantly put her left leg in front, then the big thing that everyone concerned had happened, she twisted her ankle. She saw countless eyes staring at herher heart accelerating, like drumbeats. The music kept on going, and she stood on the stage like a statueAudience whispering, heart beating then the music stops, there’s a long silence. She ran down the stage with tearon her face. 

Chapter five: 

I really feel sorry for Maria, she can easily go to a ballet academy because of her talent. She has such long legs and arms; her body shape is perfect. She doesn’t have bend knees like me, she’s also more flexible than I am.  

On the award ceremony, I still feel a bit nervous. What if I didn’t get a reward, what will my ballet teacher say to me? I stand on the stage with the other competitors waiting for the moment to come. The host said a lot of things that I can’t hear clearly but the murmurs around me. 

What reward do you think you will get?” The girl with purple make-up and wears a purple tutu ask me. 

I’m not sure. I shrugged. 

The host started to say out loud the name of list, I wait and wait, still she didn’t mention my name. I’m worried, the girl that just spoke to me went to the front and get a bronze medal from the judges. There’s about twenty people that got third place, none of them are Maria or me. Then the host announced the list of people that got second place, most of the people around me get to the front and get their medal, but still not me. I’m hopeless, no one mentioned my name or even noticed me.  

“Now, it’s the most exciting part! Who will get the gold medal for this competition?” The host look at her card and said into the microphone, “It’s number 23 Lanyi Yin! 

Everybody cheered, then the others on stage are all pulling me to the front stage. Did the host just say my name? “It’s you!” someone said behind me. 

My heart pumping, hands trembling. I can’t imagine I got first place. The judge put the gold medal on my neck and said: “Well done.” I bowed. 

Excellent is never an accident, and your effort will pay out.