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 .
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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