Feet splayed, so well trained in the brutality of the pointes.
The performance begins long before the salutes and bows
with every step to center stage practiced, poised, and perfect.
The crowd is addressed - chest pumped, head high, and haughty.
With a deep bend, the show begins in earnest. A quick twirl, shoulders stretched and level, blades are drawn.
The second position is taken in a flash. An ideal pose to begin taking flesh.
Carefully choreographed prancing, light and nimble - so precise, it could easily be done in the space of a thimble.
This dance is done in loops pushing the needle through and through to sew the strings that ensnare the stares of following eyes.
There is a taunting brutality underneath the graceful disguise. These dainty steps are still tracking blood as they as they perform their pointe work. Every plié is a fractured reminder of bones folded over and broken.
Never scared of scars, a near surgical coupé is executed, cutting clean and deep. Now in the third position, arm raised high, the patrons are called to applaud.
Intensity builds. Adrenaline rushes through widened veins.
The frills fluttering about the waist like a cape demand and draw attention, focused and rapt. A tool used by a master to lead the puppet.
The strings are still being pulled.
The next step, strong and determined, is both the instrument of entertainment and interment, each in turn.
This is how you dance on a grave.
With a pivot, surefooted leap, and a lunge.
This is where the mettle is tested - as it runs through the spine and strikes the heart
of the watchers as they pass on
their cheer, eyes wet and lungs emptied.
As the fourth position is taken, the crowd is an eruption of ovation and praise.
Feet planted firmly, chest pumped, back arched with head held high and haughty, the admiration is greeted with aplomb.
As the roses pour in, reverence greets the exquisiteness and power of the dance of the swan and the bull.