ballet shoes

This post is inspired in part by my own ballet experience. I danced for seven years, pointe for two and a half, and loved it. The thrill, the excitement, the hard work and dedication -- I thrived on the energy. I made the difficult decision to stop last December to pursue my photography, something that I knew was coming and I was confident about, but that was nonetheless bittersweet. The photo is from the 2011 Spring performance and inspired this short story. Enjoy! x - Hannah

"Dance for me," she whispered, and her heart jumped to her throat and echoed in the rom with her words. Bared open and free, she longed to run, but couldn't move, couldn't turn, could just whisper, whisper, whisper. "dance for me." it rolled throughout the empty room and hit the concrete walls and amplified, seeming to mock her, seeming to feel sorry for her, seeming to become louder and louder, all the while whispering. She could feel the touch of the words on her neck. "dance for me?"

She turned and her eyes were ringed with shock and sadness thicker than the bun on her head. "Why?" She asked, and it was more than just a question. It was more than just now, it was all the time, it was all that it had been, and it would continue to be.

"Why? Why now?" They both knew that what they were saying lay deeper than just a request and question. It was the bare bones struggle of years laid open and hearts broken and little girls with dreams who grew up to women warring with each other and their selves. It was the whisper of what had happened and the question of what to do. It was the echo of untold dances. Why. They didn't know, they didn't want to know, they did, the world was a mess and all they could do was ask why, each harboring secrets deeper than the sea and pain fiercer than a lion.

"Because," and the words tasted like chalk in her mouth, they tasted like ashes of all she had worked for. "I don't want to forget." Her voice was vulnerable and her eyes were slapped with regret and wishes and something like a longing so hard that it was consuming her. "please."

It was the please that did it. All at once, she could see her for who she was. Her hair coiled loosely in a bun, hanging as her eyes watched every move hungrily, daring to believe that she had once done them. Tears were what fell from her face and flowed in her blood and she was liquified with a sea of remorse. It all sounds so beautiful in theory, but in reality, it was like being burned up inside, smoke smothering her in waves and waves of memory.

And her heart struggled and her hand slipped and her mask fell and at once, for a moment, they were the two again, talking dreams and dancing in flowers, and laughing at all they could be. It was not this, no, not this, this dark world ringed with a hollowness too deep to touch. It was not this room, not this moment, not the chilling of the stone on bone, not the slow drop of water, leaking from the concrete walls. It was just a word and a wish and an "I'm-sorry" pretending to be a question.

Her heart answered yes. It said, I forgive you, even though she could not admit it. And the tear in her eye said she was sorry. But the dance was all she needed to say so. In one moment, she nodded her head, slowly, and twisted her hand and touched her cheek.

She cried in her chair as she danced and they were just two broken girls clinging for a lifeboat.


  1. You look beautiful, Hannah!

    Sweet story, by the way! --did anyone say talented?

  2. this is so moving and beautiful. xxx.

  3. Whoa now. That story was intense and gorgeous. Your form of expression is incredible. And you look absolutely beautiful dancing.
    Humor me for a minute...I'm just wondering why you had to give up dancing for your photography. Was it impossible to do both?

    1. thanks so much, friend. I was dancing about 20 hours a week, which was mostly in the night + all day saturday. my week days consisted of waking up, doing school, going to ballet, and coming home to work late (9-11) at night. this was before my surgery. if I were dancing now, it would be every day except for sunday, for I don't know how many hours a week. To top it off, I had to buy new pointe shoes every two weeks to month, which were about $80-$120. AND, I was in constant pain. my knees hurt, my ankles hurt, the metatarsals in my feet hurt...everything hurt. I was close to having a stress fracture in my foot, and if I hadn't had surgery to remove the bone impinging my ankle, I would have developed arthritis in my foot. sooo...because of the time, money, and health, I had to stop. I was ready to stop, even though it was bittersweet. don't get me wrong, my studio was WONDERFUL and none of my injuries were the cause of the classes. ballet is just an extremely strenuous art form, and 80% of dancers sustain an injury during their career. so I suppose I was one of the 80%. ;) I miss it sometimes but am so comfortable with my decision. :)

  4. so beautiful Hannah. always love your writing.

  5. Your writing is beautiful. I used to dream of being a ballerina, but my life didn't pull me in that direction. The picture is gorgeous too.

  6. Is that a photo of you? If it's not, it kinda does look like you. . .

  7. WOW. That is a gorgeous picture!! You look like a dancer but if photography's your dream, GO FOR IT. :)

  8. Gorgeous photo and nice story! Too bad you had to stop, but I'm glad your okay with your decision! :)

  9. amazing. that pretty much sums this up♥


  10. This. This was intense...this was beautiful...this was heartwrenching. I just...ahhh! I just love this. So much. ♥


  11. oh my goodness. that picture of you is so pretty! :D

  12. All I can say is KEEP WRITING, hannah! You have talent. I love this story :)

  13. This. Is. Beautiful.

    Enough said. :)

    ~ Abby

  14. That photo is so lovely. You look very much a ballerina. Muscles stretching and strong, but relaxed and graceful. Making it look so easy, that which is so not.

  15. You are such a gifted writer! The picture is amazing =D


  16. Wow ! Stunning...You look amazing. Your form, arms, gracefulness everything about you. And the story was so touching, too.

    I also take ballet :) Going on my second year...and I love it ! But, I am dreading having to make a decision this up coming year on what I really want to focus on in these next couple years in my life...it's so tough to make decisions.

    Thanks for the lovely post. In Christ, Sarah

  17. beautiful Hannah! both the story and the words...you are so talented in more ways than one!

  18. i just felt myself fall in love with words. seriously, i will never write, read, or listen to words the same way again. someday, this website has to become a published magazine-has to.

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