The Dancer

The Dancer

A Story by West Coast

The life of a professional dancer always has its dark sides


Eleanor sat at her mirror; the bare bulbs cast a yellow glow upon her face. She was smiling to herself, vain for having just come off stage from her standing ovation. People bustled backstage, the other dancers were busy getting out of costume and throwing on large coats for the cold weather. The set changers were putting away the large stage props and backdrops. Admires were dropping off their bouquets for the dancers. The hectic atmosphere was an acquired taste. She gloated in front of that mirror, pretending, in it, was someone lesser. “Elli, are you coming with us for a drink, to celebrate? It wouldn't be the same without the Swan Princess.” Her words were hollow. Everybody envied her; they all pretended to be friends. But this was a cutthroat business. The best succeeded.  The second best waited for the best to fall. “I’ll catch up with you guys later.” Eleanor readjusted one of her many bouquets on the table. The other girls left without another word.

She lit a cigarette. It dangled from her lips as two streams of smoke escaped through her nostrils. She remembered something her mother had mentioned on her last visit. “You look ill, dear. Have you been taking care of yourself?” Eleanor had put it out of her mind. But as she looked at herself now, really looked, without all her makeup and costumes, there were dark bags under her sunken eyes. It was true, she truly did look sick.

Her cheeks were hollow; her skin had an unhealthy grayish tint to it. They say the eyes are the window to the soul, but hers were empty. Every dancer knows you have to sell your soul to be the best. She reached into her coat pocket and pulled out a small plastic bag. She riffled through the vanity drawer and produced a small straw and a credit card. She carefully poured a small amount of the white powdery substance onto the table top. With the card she formed it into a nice defined line. With the small straw gripped between her thumb and forefinger she snorted the white powder. She felt the drug invade her system. She felt her hairs stick up on end, sending a shock wave through her nerves.

She looked again in the mirror, her skin had regained its youthful glow, her cheeks were fuller, and her eyes sparkled. Even if it was just an illusion, she preferred this Eleanor more than the real one. She put away the drugs and the straw and grabbed her car keys from another drawer. Her judgment altered by her buzzed brain.

The lights were more intense, more beautiful, the sounds were different, fascinating, the smells were overpowering. She was so distracted by the things she could smell, feel, see, and hear with her bugged out mind, she didn't see the light change ahead.

She had made it out of the parking lot and down the block, but she never made it the three more blocks to the bar. That one red light, that one mistake, cost her her life. The car was t-boned in the middle of the intersection, by a truck. She died in the hospital.

She wanted to be the best, she wanted to look the best, and she wanted to be the center of attention. And for one last time she was. “Beloved Ballet Star Tragically Killed in Car Accident!” that was on the front page in the morning. She was the center of attention at the hospital, people where fussing over her, she loved it, even if she couldn't see it. Until her heart monitor flat-lined. When her test results came back positive for cocaine, there was a different feel about it. A whole page was needed for her story, her early life, her drug use, her professional life. Her fellow dancers were interviewed. They all said nice things, but inside they wanted to spill the hate that had filled their veins all those years. What they didn't tell the press, they told each other, things like, “She was an egotistical b***h”, “She slept with the director, that’s how she got the part”, and “She whored around with the choreographer.” Some were true, but most were made up. She did have an affair with the director, but the choreographer was a happily married gay man, faithful to his partner, and uninterested in her.

This life she had made for herself created a thin film, blurring reality to onlookers. She was destined for greatness. She was going to be world famous. Fame is evil, but greed is the devil. The drug use stole away her innocence, but she had bartered her soul for dance.

© 2013 West Coast

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Added on July 19, 2013
Last Updated on July 19, 2013
Tags: dancing, story, drug use, ballet


West Coast
West Coast

San Francisco, CA

I'm a teen writer. I love writing, let it be fiction, science fiction, adventure, romance, tragedy. I'm also a movie junky (that is why my picture is from Moonrise Kingdom) more..

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