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WRITING BALLET & DANCE AND WHY IT IS IMPORTANT TO MY NOVEL

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There  is not much out there about writing  dance and ballet  in the fiction novel . But  yet there are tons  of novels about  ballet dancers . I  have yet to read any of them. However, my main character Sirena  is an aspiring  ballet  dancer. For  me it  was hard  writing  this;  meaning my character being into ballet.  How do you write a scene  where  your character is performing a ballet dance?  I struggled  with this question a lot  but  I  came to realize  the answer  to this . It is complicated . You don’t write every step or mechanics of the dance .   And so  I  had to try to  do  this  a lot .  And it took a while to do .  I rewrote scenes  over and over  trying to get it right.  

I  also  looked at the Original Dying Swan Dance by  Anna Pavlova over and over again  to try to figure  out and mark the emotion points  to see  how I was  going to write Sirena  dancing the  same dance .

John Michel CELLO-SAINT SAENS CARNIVAL OF ANIMALS THE SWAN

And so in this 2nd  draft I came up with something like this:   

She stopped  in the middle of nowhere  and  turned her attention  to the night sky. the  stars in the sky  were said once to be  propitious because of their glamorous shine. They were always floating it seemed  careless and unfettered by any  sort of dangers. That is what Sirena loved most about seeing the stars whenever they appeared .

Placing her bag and the cup next to a  rock,  she stood back straight, steadied  herself, held up her head  and glanced up at the waning stars. 

Music played in her head; an orchestra of strings. Le cygne; a classic as old as time.  She hummed the tune she had heard  so many times before. She smiled with grace, towards a stage and audience that materialized before her.

Magic in her eyes she  dreamily circled the stage  with slow ,careful  and precise steps.

She was  now truly the Odette from the ballet. a symbol of harmony and beauty. Regal, refined, loving, and love lorn maiden-swan: airy, feather-light . She was bondage becoming unchained.

With rising motions, swift petite movements and spontaneity, Sirena as Odette fled an old world to a new one. not afraid to depart. desolation to exhalation. But  Odette, the swan of swan lake wasn’t dying. Her life was starting. The  ‘soul’s voyage.  She greeted  immortality.  A final gesture indeed.  But she wasn’t silent anymore. She flew. Odette’s lake flowed and carried her downstream. A lonely sacrifice of course. But she was finally free.

Le cygne ended abruptly in Sirena’s mind and she lifted her body off the ground catching her breath with swirls of euphoria abound,  as the stage and audience faded away…

Needs a little work,  I  know.  But what I try to do with this dance passage  is to focus not on the mechanics  of Sirena’s The Dying Swan  dance  of  Swan lake  but of the  emotions and  the actual scene   and  compare  her with Odette as she dances .   At  the beginning I  only  mention  it once   that she is dancing.   And in the middle  I  mention it one more time  when she is making a transition.  I try  to make Sirena embody  Odette and become  dreamlike .  She is  Odette.  Her fears , hopes  and  thoughts  are  one and the same  in that  moment  upon which she dances.  After  the dance  is done  Sirena  comes   off of a sort  of euphoria.

I  try to make this  dance passage  relevant and significant to the  plot of my story .  With this scene I attempt  to  highlight the importance  .The  Dying Swan represent  transformation.  And  that is why I  use the  Dying swan scattered  throughout my  novel  but in different variations and interpretations  because  Sirena literally   transformations into  the werewolf  as Odette transforms into the swan.

Before Sirena starts  to dance  she  is seen outside in the  mountains .  I  try to juxtapose  where   she is at physically   to where  she is at in her  head when she dances  and becomes  Odette. 

It is an artistic dance. Each dancer over the 100 years since the dance was performed by Anna Pavlova interpreted The Dying Swan in their own way , so I try to describe  the scene of the dance in the best way pertinent to the Character Sirena. 

Moreover , having  Sirena , a character  who is  aspiring to be a ballerina  is risky but  I  took  a chance  because  I felt  like I wanted  to have  my character  interested  in something besides  just  being a student or a regular artist or writer.  Ballet and dance  is important to my novel because  of what  it means  to my character and  the overall  storyline and plot of my novel.  I  also use it as an obstacle for my character even though it is her desire .

If anyone reads this article and they are a dancer or writer who wrote about ballet please let me know your thoughts.

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