Story Contest 2019 #2 - Highly Commended Stories »

Highly Commended Story - The Audition

“The Audition” by Sarah Serena Thompson, Homeschool, USA, is the Highly Commended story in the junior category of the second biannual Short Story Contest 2019.

Sarah Serena Thompson attends the University of Nebraska High School online and has been an avid reader since age 4. She particularly enjoys the mystery and fantasy genres. When she’s not reading, Sarah Serena loves the performing arts and has appeared in numerous professional and community theater productions in her hometown.

The Audition

I am anxiously waiting backstage, ready to begin the performance. The orchestra is waiting to receive the signal that we are ready to begin.

A member of the stage crew is running around backstage telling us we have three minutes be-fore we start. I drop into my right split, put my head on my knee, and start reviewing my chore-ography for the billionth time. I’m not really concerned; I do know my stuff very well. I have been practicing for months. I could do it in my sleep by now.

Suddenly, another member of the stage crew comes up to me and says, “It’s time to go.”

I get up and walk quickly to the wings. I am listening to the orchestra and waiting for the chord that tells me to go on.

I hear it and begin.

Tombé pas de bourré glissade saute de chat!

Three months ago.

“I’m so excited!” I exclaim.

I’m talking to my best friend Grace. We met at dance about five years ago, and since then, we’ve been inseparable.

“Sofia, calm down! Madame Rabuska will hear you. We have a good chance of getting Clara this year and we can’t mess this up,” she says. Then she pauses, “I really want to impress Addy. I miss her a lot.”

Addy was our other best friend. She had left for New York City a few months ago to be in the Christmas Spectacular with the Radio City Rockettes as Clara.

“Me too. We’ll see her soon though.” I say.

“But anyway, back to Nutcracker auditions.”

We attend Big Star Dance, the biggest Dance School in New Jersey. Every year they hold audi-tions for The Nutcracker. People from all over the U.S. come to audition. There’s lots of compe-tition.

“I hope Riley isn’t as bad as last year.”

Riley is our resident mean girl. She is a very good dancer with a horrible personality. She has a pack of devoted followers that will do anything to help her succeed.

We continue to talk while we walk into the studio. We pin our numbers to our leotards and begin to stretch. Then Riley and her two best friends, Mitzy and Yuno, saunter towards us.

“Hello girls,” says the Blue-Eyed-Blonde-Haired Monster, aka Riley. “Are you talking about me?”

“No,” Grace says. “We were talking about nosy people.”

Riley stalks off, and we continue our conversation until Madame begins to talk.

“Line up girls, we are beginning!” Madame is a very old lady. She has white hair and more wrinkles that an elephant.

We line up and begin to learn the combination. We are doing a part of the dance where the lead, Clara, receives her Nutcracker and begins to dance with him. We get split up into groups of eight and we perform the piece. I don’t like to brag, but I really killed it.

After everyone finishes performing, we scramble into a line. If our numbers are called, we step forward. Everyone who is not called, leaves.

I clench my fists, and I can feel sweat dripping down my arms. Madame is almost to my num-ber.

Riley’s number is called. I clench my fists tighter.

Finally, Madame calls my number and I take a step forward quickly and willingly.

After the people whose number she didn’t call leave the room, we work on the next bit. It’s Clara’s solo that she does during Marzipan. It is one of the most fun solos to do.

But now that Madame has seen that we are good dancers and we know what we are doing, we have to put on the dancer’s torture weapon, pointe shoes.

I hurriedly tie up my shoes. I need to have some time to see what the floor feels like, is it sticky, is it slick, should I use rosin, etc.

I scramble up at the same time Riley does. Thankfully, she does not try to engage in conversa-tion.

Madame gets out of her chair and instructs us to find a position in center, and we begin learning again. She says that we will be performing it by ourselves.

I think that’s a bad idea. Number One: that’s scary. Number Two: when we began the audition, there were about 500 kids. Now there are about 200. This is going to take forever.

We spend about an hour and a half running the dances. I only made one mistake. I feel that I did a good job. I mean, everyone forgets the combo sometimes.

Madame tells us to line up again. This is the time I’m very nervous about.

Recently, Madame has told me that I need to work on my artistry, the character and facials of the dance. This is the part where she eliminates people who she doesn’t see as Clara.

Madame gives us a speech, but I’m not listening. I’m too nervous.

Suddenly, she starts calling a number. I swivel my head around and realize that she called Ri-ley.

I have to admit, Riley put on a stellar performance. Her character was there, and she didn’t make any mistakes.

Madame calls another number. This was taking her a while.

Then she called Grace’s number! I give her a big hug.

Then she called my number.

I was beyond joy. I hoped that I would get to this stage of the audition.

She dismissed the other girls and walked over to us.

“Girls, you have made it to the final round. There are four of you, but I only need one. I need you to repeat your original solo that we did at the beginning of the audition. And remember, have fun.”

We performed our pieces. I was perfect. I kind of loosened up once this stage began. It didn’t matter who got Clara anymore. I was just having fun.

After we finished, Madame said, “All of you were excellent. But there can only be one Clara. And that Clara is…”

I breathed deeply.

“Congratulations Sofia, you are our Clara this year."

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