Saturday, November 24, 2012
When Jordyn woke up on Saturday morning, the most wonderful thing happened.
“Oh my gosh, it’s snowing!” she called from her bedroom.
She felt like a little kid, and she didn’t care. It was the first time she’d ever seen snow fall in her life, and already, it was collecting, turning the ground white, the trees, and everything around.
Jordyn got this ridiculous instinct to get dressed in her warmest clothes, find a sled, and just go play. She wanted so badly to touch it, to see what it felt like. She’d seen people on TV catching snowflakes with their tongues. She wanted to do that, too.
Then she remembered what she had to do today.
She looked at the clock by her bedside table. It was barely 6:30, and just the beginning to what was sure to be a very long day.
Miss Victoria had arrived in Pittsburgh with her team late yesterday afternoon. After she’d settled her girls into a hotel with their parents, she came to Cedarwood, borrowed the Cedarwood Dance School, and went over Jordyn’s solo with her, impressed at what she and Zara had accomplished without her help.
So impressed, actually, that she saw fit to give Jordyn another solo. A jazz piece, to this Cataracts song called Top of The World. Jordyn liked the song, and found out she liked the choreography, but it was difficult, and it was fast. There were turns, a lot of turns, and a lot of flips and tricks in this dance. It would have been better with more time, but Victoria had the utmost confidence that Jordyn could learn the dance even within the day until competition.
Jordyn crossed her room, heading straight to her bathroom for a shower. She was comfortable with the dance so far, but hopefully, she could get some time to rehearse it today with Miss Victoria between sets. It was going to be her last show, after all, and Jordyn wanted to go out with a bang.
She stepped into the shower, under the warm running water, massaging her sore muscles. It had been so cold lately, she hadn’t run that much, so after the long grueling workout with Miss Victoria, followed by another one with her mother, she could really use an ice pack, not a full day of competition.
Jordyn finished up in the shower, dressed quickly, and hurried downstairs, finding only her mother awake.
“Good, you’re ready,” Zara said, seeing Jordyn walk into the kitchen. She slid a plate onto the table. “Here you are. Breakfast for champions. Eat up, then we’ll get on the road.” She turned away, then did a double take, looking back at Jordyn. “Is your hair wet?”
“Well, yeah,” Jordyn said. “I was going to fix it when we got there.”
Which they both knew translated to “Zara was going to fix it when they got there.”
Jordyn poked around at her breakfast, not really in the mood to eat, right now.
“Jordyn, those eggs won’t be good cold,” Zara warned, sitting down with her own breakfast. “What’s wrong. Are you nervous?”
“I’m not sure.”
“Come on. It’s your first competition in months. According to you it’s going to be your last one. You’re feeling something. If you’re not nervous, what is it?”
Jordyn shrugged. “I don’t think I’m nervous. I guess I’m sort of relieved that today actually marks the end of all the stress, but at the same time, I’m a little sad.”
She couldn’t think of another way to put it. It really was a bittersweet moment. She’d sat at the kitchen table back in California, just her and her mom, countless times since she was two, both of them up before the sun, getting ready for competition. But today was different.
As happy as she had been this entire time she’d been in Cedarwood, living her life, hanging out with friends, having a boyfriend, she’d hoped in the back of her mind that competitive dance was over and she didn’t have to stress over it anymore. But now, knowing that today really was the last time she and her mom would leave together for competition, it was kind of sad to think about. Dance had taken up a lot of her life over the years, but it had really made her who she was.
“Having second thoughts about quitting?” Zara asked.
Jordyn sighed, shaking her head. “No. I’m not. I’m just thinking about how much I’m going to miss it.”
“Well, if not sure this is what you want, Jordyn, this doesn’t have to be the last competition. That audition is still open, honey. Two more weeks.”
For a second, just a split second, Jordyn would admit, she thought about it. She considered the audition. And then she thought about Cole. She thought about Alice and the girls. She even thought about Miss Maggie and her dance class. She would miss the dance world, she knew, but if she traded her new life, the one she’d gotten used to and come to love for dance, she wouldn’t be happy.
Jordyn shook her head. “No, this is what I want. I’m sure of it, mom.”
She smiled, and stuck her fork into the eggs. She was really going to enjoy today, she would make sure of it. Because when it was all over, she was getting her life started.
“Alright, Victoria’s in dressing room B,” Zara announced as she lead Jordyn down the hallway in the Pittsburgh Performing Arts Center.
Jordyn scanned the doors on either side as they walked, her suitcase full of her usual dance supplies rolling behind them.
“Dressing room B,” Jordyn said when she saw it.
“Excellent.” Zara stepped up to the door, knocking. When the door opened, Victoria stood on the other side, beaming from ear to ear at the sight of them.
“Ah, Zara! Jordyn! I’m so happy you made it!”
“Of course, Victoria!” Zara replied equally enthusiastic. “We wouldn’t miss this!”
Zara anf Victoria had always had a great relationship. This was the main reason Jordyn had decided her mother would be the one to break the news to Miss Victoria that she wasn’t dancing competitively anymore. After the competition, of course.
Next thing Jordyn knew, Miss Victoria was wrapping her arms around her in a tight hug. “Jordyn, I can’t wait to see what you’ve done with that jazz piece we learned last night.”
She lead them into the dressing room, where Jordyn saw the rest of her old team.
“We worked all night last night, Victoria,” Zara told her.
Jordyn yawned, thinking about that late night rehearsal. “Yes. All night.”
Instantly, her old friends had surrounded her. Among them, her three closest friends from dance, Alana, Kimmy, and Cassie. The three of them were excitedly chirping at once.
“Oh my gosh, look at you!”
“Jordyn, you’ve gotten prettier!”
“Did your boobs get bigger?”
Jordyn raised her eyebrows at Cassie’s question, and smirked as she folded her arms over her chest. Then they all laughed.
“Jordyn, did you know it was snowing here?” Kimmy asked, flipping her red hair over her shoulder.
Jordyn laughed. “Yes, I saw it, too. Isn’t it great?”
They all looked at her wide-eyed.
“It’s cold and slippery,” Alana said.
Jordyn smiled. “I think it’s beautiful. My boyfriend’s taking to me up the mountain as soon as enough’s on the ground and he’s teaching me how to snowboard. I can’t wait, it’s—”
“Hold up,” Alana said. “Did you say, boyfriend?”
Jordyn nodded. “Yeah.”
“You have time for a boyfriend?” Kimmy asked, incredulous. “Wow. You must be flunking out of school.”
Jordyn laughed. “Not exactly.”
“How often do you train here?”
Jordyn actually didn’t even want to admit it. Five minutes ago she was happy about having a normal teenager’s life, quitting dance after this, and not having to train every waking moment of her life. But now, standing here with her elite friends, she almost didn’t want to admit that she didn’t exactly ‘train’ at all anymore.
“Ladies!” Miss Victoria called. “I need everyone over here to get ready. Genevieve is going to go over your group number a couple of times. Jordyn, I want you to come with me. We’re going to run your solos. My other solos, I’ll be back to get you one at a time.”
Jordyn nodded. This was it. Competition had started. So she stood up, and followed Miss Victoria right back out of the dressing room.
From Jordyn’s seat in the auditorium, she could see her family. Her dad, Logan, Ty, Natalie and Cole all sat together, flipping through programs. A few rows away, she saw Alice and Bethany sitting with Alice’s mom, and surprisingly, Blake. She smiled when she saw Blake and Alice leaning over and whispering to each other. Blake obviously hadn’t come today to see Jordyn’s performance.
And like she’d said, Miss Maggie was also in the audience, complete with her pack of advanced dancers, including Erin, Shari, Leah, and even Ashley. She balled her hands into fists, noticing the clamminess. She was actually nervous. But in all fairness, this was the first time in her entire career that so many people had actually come to see her dance.
Next to Jordyn, Miss Victoria checked her watch. “OK, we’re up after the next duet,” she said. “Solos, let’s go.”
Jordyn stood up, and followed Miss Victoria, Alana, and the two other soloists back stage. Jordyn was up first, so she shrugged out of her jacket, and waited in the wings for her turn. Finally, the performance before hers was over, and it was Jordyn’s turn.
“Let me look at you first,” Victoria said, spinning her around and examining her costume. For the jazz piece, Victoria had Jordyn wearing next to nothing. The costume was glitzy, silver, and sparkles, a two piece that showed her belly, and covered just a little more than necessary for decency. She knew girls who wore more on the beach, but this was the norm for dance. Her hair was down for this number, something she didn’t normally do. It was crimped, with the top half pulled back out of her face and enough hair spray to guarantee minimal movement.
“Break a leg, my little protégé,” Victoria said as the announcer started.
“And now competing in the senior age division under Miss Victoria Joy of the La Jolla Dance Company all the way from San Diego, California, please welcome to the stage miss Jordyn Hamilton!”
She took a deep breath and walked onto stage.
This is it, she thought making it to the middle of the stage, smiling her stage smile from ear to ear. Under the spotlights, the audience looked dark and empty, but she knew the place was packed, and she knew her family and friends were out there.
But she also knew this was her comfort zone. She knew this dance like the back of her hand, and she knew a dance floor. This wasn’t her first go round, but it would be her last, so she had to make it good.
And then the music started.
Five, six, seven, eight…