Annika Thompson 2/22/19 The stage is set. The elegant tufts of tulle on the metal hangers flutter with the bustle of backstage preparation. The house is silent, but only for a moment, as eager theatre patrons gather outside its doors, lining the gold-tipped velvet ropes that accompany its entrances. The scene beneath the stage is chaotic, and the crisp, strong smell of hairspray has settled in the air. Many a performer are running about, tying bows made from pink ribbon and adjusting crystalline headpieces so they will sparkle just right when they catch the magnificent stage lights. Last-minute concerns about that tricky set of turns arise, but the doubts are brushed aside as a loving partner reinstills confidence with reassuring words. The chaos turns into chaotic serenity as the minute details of performance preparation are all accounted for. The performers of the opening act take their places on the slightly scuffed black stage and in the wings behind the grand black curtains. The air is filled with a heavy silence, as the theatre patrons have taken their seats and are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the orchestra's first notes. The excitement floating about the stage is compelling and powerful, but the performers must not move a muscle until the right moment. Months of intense preparation have led to that moment. The lights finally flick on, and the exquisite music begins. This is the right moment. This is ballet. The world inside the theatre during a ballet is a different world from that outside the theatre's doors. This ballet world is far away, and is not of an earthly kind. Magic occurs through the fluid motions of a ballerina's body. A story is being told without words, and there are no limitations in this faraway place. The ballerinas are bringing their audience along with them in the journey they are performing. The audience is transported to another dimension in which fairytales are reality and time is not an element. Every emotion displayed by the performers are another part of the story, so one must not look away so as to not miss a single moment of it. Words do not belong in this magical world within the dark theatre, only music, motion and facial expressions so powerful that words are not missed. A ballet is a breath of fresh air, a release from the bounds of real life, even if only for a short period of time on a Saturday evening. It does not matter what is going on outside the theatre's doors when a ballet is being performed on its stage; the captivating, breathtaking performance is enough to make it all stop being important for a while. A ballet becomes moments shared between the performers and their audience. A bond, even if only temporary, is formed between these two parties throughout the course of the story, the journey. This bond is part of the magic of ballet as well. There is nothing else in the world that can foster a bond quite like this one. The moments of a ballet are meant to be cherished by both the performers and the audience. For a ballerina, performing in a ballet is their chance to share their most treasured passion with whomever is longing to see a good story, and for the audience member, attending a ballet provides them with the opportunity to step away from life and see a good story. There are no bounds when it comes to ballet; there is only magic, and chaotic serenity.

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Author, Writer, Actress

Manchester , United Kingdom