Master of the Dance

buttonWrite at the Merge Week 8 gave us a quote from Ayn Rand and a painting of a ballerina by Degas. Wow, two of my favorites.

It stands to reason that where there’s sacrifice, there’s someone collecting sacrificial offerings. Where there’s service, there’s someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice, speaks of slaves and masters. And intends to be the master.
—Ayn Rand


I don’t think I did this week’s prompt justice. I wish I had more time and more words.

Rachel had texted Moriah to meet her in Gallery 815. It was the most convenient place. For a little over fifteen minutes, she waited. She stood before a woman leaning over massaging her feet, her other foot turned out at a right angle. Her soft rounded shoulders gave way to long lean arms and her body seemed to lose itself in the billowing folds of her tutu. She studied the deliberate perfection in the dancer’s person. She was absorbed into the romantic and feminine illusion, the ethereal quality of it as a whole and the perfection of the realism in its execution by a master painter. It seemed to speak to her, to sing out, “Dance, Dance away, put on your slippers and dance…”

“Your shoe laces are undone,” Moriah’s voice came suddenly, hot and heavily over her right shoulder.


“Your shoelaces are untied.”


“Well, tie them up, silly,” Moriah directed her gingerly as a mother would her five-year-old.

Rachel blinked and softly shook her head as if awakening from a dream. Then she bent over awkwardly and tied her shoe.

“You really like that painting,” her friend remarked.

A momentary pause, then Rachel replied quietly, “Yes, yes I suppose I do.”

“I prefer his bathers myself,” Moriah declared. There was another silent pause.

“Well, I came. Have you been waiting long?”

“Um, no, not really.”

“I’m hungry.”

Rachel looked away from the painting to Moriah.

“I haven’t got much time,” Moriah began moving away, gesturing to the exit,”let’s go to the cafe.”

After Moriah moved forward some steps, Rachel said, “Of course, sorry, I seem to have gotten lost admiring Degas. Silly of me really.” Rachel bounded ahead to catch up with the other woman.

Moriah lightly quickened her steps as she said, “I studied ballet you know, for many years.”

“Did you? I didn’t know.”

“I was quite good too.”

“Do you still dance?”

Rachel envisioned her elegantly gliding across the stage, her arms carrying her weightlessly forward, her long, lean neck glistening, her strong legs moving in calculated practiced steps, her tutu delicately flowing around her. How graceful she was as she leapt into the arms of some dancer. And yet…

“Oh, I quit that. Too demanding, cut throat too. I didn’t like having to please everyone else and always trying to prove that I was better. I much prefer this now.”

Rachel thought of the ballerinas painted by Degas.

“It must be quite a sacrifice,” she said.

“A sacrifice? To whom?”

“To the universe, I suppose.”


6 thoughts on “Master of the Dance

  1. It’s really telling how the women look at the dancers differently, one from a personal perspective and one from the imagined perfection Degas painted.

  2. I liked this. What you feel it wasn’t good enough? Your characters were interesting….I liked the shoe being untied after Rachel had been staring at the picture and then the casual practical control of her friend, Moriah. It’s like the soul of the dancer was in Rachel, even though Moriah had once danced. Well done:~) Sara, A Sharing Connection

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