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pirouette know Davidov. It's some kind of package deal where he
agrees to do two more projects. It's him they want. Just think what
this could mean to the company!"
Francie rose on her toes. "How many people can we reach in two
hours on TV compared to those we reach in a whole season on
stage? Oh, God, I hope I get to dance!" She lowered into a pile.
"I'd almost be willing to go back into the corps for the chance.
You'll do The Red Rose." She gave an envious sigh.
Ruth was glad it was time for class to begin.
It was difficult to concentrate. Ruth's body responded to the calls
and counts while her mind dashed in a dozen directions. Why
hadn't he told her?
Her hand rested on the barre as Madame Maximova put them
through their paces. Ruth was aware that Nick stood directly
behind her.
They had been together all day yesterday and this morning. He
had never said a word. Would she dance? Her working leg came
up and back in attitude. Will what's happened between us
As she moved out with the class for center practice, Ruth tried to
think logically. It had been hardly a week since he had told her
things were still unsettled. She struggled to remember what else he
had said, what exactly his mood had been. He had been annoyed
because her dancing had been below par concern that she had
been upset. He had been furious when she wouldn't divulge the
name of the person who had leaked the information.
What had he done? Snapped his fingers and told her that was how
much he cared for what she said. He played the tune, and she
danced. It was as simple as that. Ruth frowned as she did the
combination. But why did everyone seem to know about things
before her? she wondered. One minute Nick would tell her she was
the finest ballerina in the company, and the next, he didn't even
bother to fill her in on what could be the most important company
project of the year.
How do you figure out such a man? You don't, she reminded
herself. Turning her head, she looked him straight in the eye. He's
Nick met the look a bit quizzically, but the tempo suddenly
increased from adagio to allegro and required their attention.
"Thank you," Madame Maximova said to the troupe of dripping
bodies thirty minutes later. Her voice, Ruth thought fleetingly, was
much more thickly Russian than Nick's, though she had been forty
years in America.
"I'd like to see the entire company on stage in fifteen minutes."
Ruth lifted her eyes and caught Nick's in the glass as he made the
announcement. The speculative buzzing began immediately.
Dancers began to file out in excited groups. Davidov had spoken.
Ruth hefted her bag over her shoulder and prepared to join them.
"One moment, Ruth." She stopped obediently at his words. Her
training was too ingrained for anything else. He said something to
the ballet mistress in quiet Russian which made her chuckle a
formidable achievement. With a brisk nod, she strode from the
room as if her bones were a quarter of a century younger than Ruth
knew them to be.
Nick crossed to Ruth, absently pulling his towel through his hands.
"Your mind was not on class."
He recognized her searching look. As usual, it disconcerted him.
"Your body moved, but your eyes were very far away. Where?"
Ruth studied him for another moment as she turned over in her
mind the best way to broach the subject. She settled on directness.
"Why didn't you tell me about the television plans?"
Nick's brow lifted. It was a haughty gesture. "Why should I have?"
"I'm a principal dancer with the company."
"Yes." He waited a beat. "That doesn't answer my question."
"Everyone else seems to know the details." Exasperated, she flared
at him. "I'm sure they're avidly discussing it in the corps."
"Very likely,'' he agreed, slinging the towel over his shoulders. "It's
hardly a secret, and secrets are always avidly discussed in the
"You might have told me yourself," she fumed, pricked by his
hauteur. "I asked you about it last week."
"Last week it was not finalized."
"It was certainly finalized yesterday, and you never said a word."
She saw his lids lower a danger signal. When he spoke, his cool
tone was another. "Yesterday we were just a man and a woman."
He lifted his hands to the ends of the towel, holding them lightly.
"Do you think because we are lovers I should give you special
treatment as a ballerina?"
"Of course not!" Ruth's eyes widened in genuine surprise at the
question. The thought had simply never occurred to her. "How
could you think so?"
"Ah." He gave a small nod. "I see. I'm to trust and respect your
integrity, while mine is suspect."
"I never meant " she began, but he cut her off with that imperious
flick of the wrist.
"Get your shower. You've only ten minutes now." He strode away,
leaving her staring and open-mouthed.
When Ruth dashed into the theater, members of the company were
already sitting on the wide stage or pocketed together in corners.
Breathless, she settled down next to Francie.
"So." Nick spared her a brief glance. "We seem to be all here
He was standing stage center with his hands tucked into the
pockets of dull gray sweat pants. His hair was still damp from his
shower. Every eye was on him. Nadine sat in a wooden chair
slightly to his right in a superbly tailored ice blue suit.
"Most of you seem to know at least the bare details of our plans to
do a production for WNT-TV." His eyes swept the group, passing
briefly over Ruth, then on. "But Nadine and I will now go over the
finer points." He glanced at Nadine, who folded her hands and
"The company will do a two-hour presentation of ballet, in vignette
style. It will be taped here over a two-week period beginning in
one month. Naturally, we plan to include many dances from the
ballets in our repertoire. Nick and I, along with Mark and
Marianne," she glanced briefly at two choreographers, "have
outlined a tentative program. We will, of course, work with the
television director and staff on time allowances and so forth." She
paused a moment for emphasis. "I needn't tell you how important
this is to the company and that I expect the best from every one of
Nadine fell silent. Nick turned to pick up a clipboard he had left on
a tree stump prop from a forest scene in Sleeping Beauty.
"Rehearsals begin immediately," he stated and began to read off
the list of dances and roles and rehearsal halls.
It was a diversified program, Ruth concluded, trying not to hold
her breath. From Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Francie gave a
muffled squeal when her name was called to dance the Sugar Plum
Fairy to de Mille's Rodeo. Obviously, Nick wanted to show the
variety and universality of ballet.
Choreographers were assigned, scenes listed. Ruth moistened her
lips. Leah was Aurora and Giselle, two plum roles but fully
expected. Keil Lowell was to partner Leah both as Prince
Charming and as Albrecht. A young corps member began to weep
softly as she was given her first solo.
Nick continued to read without glancing up. "Ruth, the grand pas
de deux from The Red Rose and the second act pas de deux from
Le Corsaire. I will partner."
Ruth let out her breath slowly and felt the tension ease from her
"If time permits, we will also do a scene from Carnival."
He continued to read in his quiet, melodious voice, but Ruth heard
little more. She could have wept like the young corps dancer. This
was what she had worked for. This was the fruit of almost two
decades of training. Yet even through the joy, she could feel Nick's
temper lick out at her.
He doesn't understand, she thought, frustrated by his quick,
volatile moods. And he's so pig-headed, I'll have to fight my way
through to explain. Drawing her knees up to her chest, she studied
him carefully.
Strange, she mused, for all his generosity of spirit, he doesn't give [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]


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