Marie and Giselle – Two Ballet Dancers by Edgar Degas

Two Ballet Dancers by Edgar Degas

The sound of the violins, flute and piano echoes from the stage. Retired on a hidden bench, weary and humiliated, two ballerinas cry their hopes and dreams to dancing solo in the emblematic Opéra de Paris.

They passionately tamed each step, felt each chord in their hearts, and played with each adage, each pirouette. In their white tutus tonight they felt the spectators’ warmth, a thousand of eyes gazing in their direction, admiring the beauty of a myriad of different frail bodies mounted on their pointy shoes, dancing in unison.

Then chaos took over the perfection of the moment. Marie missed the tempo during a fraction of a second. Next to her Giselle, who was finishing her sissone, stepped onto Marie’s toes causing the latter to stumble. The error was imperceptible to the public but the ballet master noticed the slip and stared at both with irritated eyes.

Blushing, on the verge of crying, terrorized, Marie and Giselle pursued their routine without showing any emotion as they were vanishing inside. Sensing no compassion toward themselves, they hurriedly tip toed in the direction of the backstage, desperate to find a space where no one would scrutinise them. As they reached an empty rehearsal room, they collapsed.

A flow of guilt submerged their throats, preventing them from breathing. Tears timidly filled their eyes as they tried to suppress them using the rest of strength. At the melody of the final act, they surrendered.

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