Artistic Director

Inspired by (and derived from) Brienne’s Attunements.

She’d been selected.

Sarah dropped at the note the Chairman of the Board had handed her. It fluttered to the floor of the stall as she gaped, before coming to rest face-up on the floor in front of her.

The words Artistic Director blurred before her eyes.

Shaking, she tore a square of toilet paper from the roll and dabbed at her eyes. She didn’t have time for this, nor to re-do her makeup. She needed to get into her leotard and warm up.

Telling Matt had been even harder than finding out herself. He was worried what this further power imbalance would do to their relationship. He’d been training incessantly for the lead in La Bayadère this fall, and now if he got it everyone would say it was just her influence.

She loved him almost as much as she loved the dance.

He’d taken it well, though, skipping straight though that stuff to begin weighing her options. He was patient, trying to understand what she wanted before pushing her into anything.

No, she’d never wanted to be a director. No, not even after she stopped dancing. After that, she wanted to open her own studio and pour herself into teaching as she’d done with performance.

Yes, she understood she’d still be dancing, still be involved, but not performing.

But wouldn’t she want to perform?

In every sacrifice she’d made throughout life, dancing had won, performance had one. How could she be happy that way? Sitting there, behind the scenes, pushing other people to perform.

She decided to do it for a month, just to try, just to give the Board some time to find someone else.

The first week was hard, the fourth was perfect.

All those little things that had been off, set in place. The dancers listened to her, respected her, moved how she said to move. The crowd was slightly more appreciative with her changes.

She told the Board she’d stay. She told Matt that she couldn’t both be his director and his partner. The Board thanked her, Matt wept and left. First her, then the company, when she had subtly left his new interest without any roles.

Three years later, she was at a bigger company, more resources and more talent. Sarah pushed everybody to do their very best.

She occasionally wondered how Matt was doing.

She thought of actually dancing hardly at all.