short a/n: this is an art assignment ("image narrative"-ooh) based upon edgar degas' "waiting".
Vivienne hated auditioning last.
"The last audition appointment is nearly always the best," Mademoiselle Laurence chided her nervous pupil as they made their way through the Parisian streets, dreary with rain. "Perhaps they are comparing you to all of the other girls before you, but they'll be sure to remember you."
"That's what I am worried about," Vivienne mumbled as they reached their destination.
Mademoiselle Laurence ushered Vivienne into the building, shaking her umbrella off before starting up the stairs. "With an attitude like that, you will never get the part. Now stop sulking," Vivienne quickly obliged, "There, that's better. You have the better part of an hour before your audition."
They reached the studio to see nearly twenty other girls strewn about the room. Vivienne stiffened beside her mentor. Mademoiselle Laurence grasped Vivienne's shoulders to force the girl to face her. "No. You have no time to be nervous. It will only make you stiff."
"But my ankle may not have properly healed and-" Vivienne paused slightly as she felt the older woman's grasp on her shoulder tighten. She lowered her voice. "Sophie is here."
"Non." Mademoiselle Laurence whispered harshly. "It's been long enough for your ankle." She glanced toward the girl Vivienne had pointed out. Sophie Bouvier was practicing at the barre with the perfect form she was notorious for. "Concern yourself only with your performance. You cannot control anything else." Vivienne nodded as Mademoiselle Laurence released her.
"Mon Dieu," Vivienne heard her mutter. "That child will be the death of me."
As Mademoiselle Laurence made her way to her typical place on the bench, Vivienne began to stretch in her usual territory, the far corner of the room. She could smell the rain on the cool air drifting through the slightly open window. Vivienne closed her eyes as she grasped her pointed toes, trying to forget the other girls, especially Sophie. She blocked out the chatter of dancers and mentors alike filling the room, and instead focused on the steady patter of rain. Her eyes slid open as she stood. She inhaled deeply as she alternately pointed and flexed her left foot.
Across the room Mademoiselle Laurence shook her head as she watched Vivienne. Her pupil had not been this nervous for an audition since her first several years before. The injury had not only set her abilities back, but also her confidence. Vivienne would not get the role if her nerves continued. Perhaps she would make the chorus, but certainly not a scripted role. Mademoiselle Laurence sighed. With Vivienne's left ankle still weaker than they both would like, maybe a small part would be best. There would be other ballets, other parts, other auditions.
Girls trickled in and out of the antechamber in which auditions were being held. Mathilde Roux essentially bounced out of the room, doing a celebratory pirouette as a wide smile graced her face. Vivienne had made her way over to the barre, focusing on her extension as she tried desperately to ignore Sophie's pink tutu skip towards the audition room.
Mademoiselle Laurence tried to read Sophie's face as the girl demurely closed the door behind her, but Madame Colette had trained her protégée to keep a constant serene expression throughout the entire process. The pair swiftly exited the studio, like so many other dancers and their mentors, to wait elsewhere for the results.
Agathe Simon slipped into the sparsely populated studio with her hand shading her face from curious glances. Her audition had not gone well. Agathe's despair unnerved Vivienne, who, with one last plié, lifted her chin and disappeared behind the audition room's door.
A short while later, Vivienne exited the room, promptly sitting beside Mademoiselle Laurence who shot her a questioning glance. Vivienne shrugged. She reached down to massage her ankle. "I think it will hold up."
Mademoiselle Laurence nodded knowingly. "All we can do now is wait," she sighed as she leaned forward to rest her elbows on her knees. Her fingers worried over each other as if she was counting prayer beads.
Waiting was the worst part. In a way, it was liberating for Vivienne to know that she had done her best, which was all she could have done. The ankle had caused a few very slight breaks in her pointe, a mistake that may not have gone unnoticed. Her port de bras though, she felt were exquisite. However, the audition was now out of the dancer's hands, and the casting decisions rested solely on a few fickle directors and managers. Vivienne clenched and unclenched her fist as she nervously rubbed her ankle, wishing she had prayer beads to count.
Mademoiselle Laurence was conflicted. Should she prepare her student for the possibility of failure, or should she remain hopeful? Her indecision prompted her to stay silent. She had never been very good at deciding what to say to Vivienne anyway, and the first audition after a hiatus was probably not the best forum to test the conversationalist form of comfort.
Finally, the door of the antechamber opened as a pudgy elderly man exited with a list. He slowly made his way down the stairs, a horde of anxious dancers following after him, clamoring to catch a glimpse. Mademoiselle Laurence prepared herself to fight through the crowd to find the results.
"Wait," Vivienne whispered, straining against the urge to run to the list. "Let us sit a bit longer." She shook her head slightly. "I want to prolong my career for just a few more minutes."
So they waited.
longer a/n: i have recently become enamored with the work of edgar degas, particularly his pieces featuring dancers. i apologize for any errors in the use of ballet and/or french terms. i used the handy dandy internet for help ;) i hope you enjoy this more than my art teacher does! i was supposed to write a five-paragraph essay for this assignment... oops... thanks for reading! xoxo-xan