They say dedication is the key,

And she knows that.

So every morning.

Her alarm rings at 5am,

And the dance studio’s key is in her bag.

She practices,

And it only the music,

And her.

Encased in her own little slice of perfection.

But after the music is gone,

She faces the reality.

Her toes are bruised,

And they cramp after the long hours,

Spent perfecting routines,

And posture.

She can hear her dance teacher’s voice,

Echoing in her head:

“Get it right, Caroline!”

“Don’t slouch!”

“Do you ever want to be a star?”

And then her toes don’t hurt anymore,

And the long hours practicing into the night,

Seem like nothing,

After all,

She could be a star.

Homework piles up,

And grades plummet,

She makes up excuses,

As to why they were not turned in.

“Get it right, Caroline!”

She tells herself in the mornings,

And her legs,

And muscles are bruised,

From falling,

And failure to complete.

She wonders when,

Ballet became an escape,

And something more important,

Then all other things.

She wonders when ballet stopped being fun,

And started being a chore.

Maybe it was when she was 12,

And saw the glittering star college dancers,

From New York City perform,

And she vowed to be like them.

It was then she took more dance classes,

And cut anything she deemed distracting in her life,


Like friends, TV, junk food, sleep, etc.

It was then that dance became a higher priority,

Outranking so many other important things.

Maybe that is why she made a new vow,

And appeared to ballet class on Monday,


She walked in,

The dark half-moons underneath each eye,

Slowly fading.

The studio’s key had grown dusty the last week,

Because she finally was able to sleep for once.

She stood before her ballet teacher,

And she danced.

Not the stiff choreographed moves,

That had filled her early mornings since age 12,

But the dance she had held inside for so long.

A dance of freedom,


Amd maturity.

A dance that was solely her.

And when it was deemed “Horrible,”

She walked out,

A proud smile on her face,

And laughed with her friends,

On the way to her new dance studio.



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