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A Break From Tradition (Josette/Tony/Anya)

Posted: Wed Oct 14, 2020 2:40 pm
by Josette Wheeler
There’s a dreamy hum of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker on Josette’s lips as she floats her way from one of the rehearsal rooms to Tony’s office, hopeful that he and Anya might be there. She knew they were both incredibly busy with the new season starting up—what with rehearsals, classes, not to mention their young son Sasha to care for, in addition to sweet little Sofi.

There’s a flurry of nervousness like so many snowflakes whirling about in her stomach. Not unlike her favorite Maestro’s “Waltz of the Snowflakes, it begins as a delicate flurry and culminates in a blizzard of butterflies as her hand lingers over the door for a beat or two before ultimately deciding to knock.

For all of her innate grace as a ballerina and ability to hold a position in utter stillness in a difficult lift, Josette’s very cells vibrated with continuous hum of restless energy that needed consistent outlets and movement. Thank goodness she had found dance at such a young age!

She took a moment to steady herself, adjusting her dance bag on her shoulder before she’s unconsciously moving her feet from first position, to demi-plié, to relevé, as she waits in eager anticipation. There’s an unconscious bite to the full swell of her lower lip, nestling into the miniscule vertical crease in the the center out of pure nervous habit.

Re: A Break From Tradition

Posted: Sat Oct 17, 2020 1:18 pm
by Anthony De Luca
There was no pretentious sign declaring him "Ballet Director" or anything else to indicate the door that opened onto Tony's office lead to anyone of importance, other than a simple sign stating his name - Tony De Luca. Not Anthony. Only his mother called him Anthony. Those who were involved in the Shanachie already knew who he was. He didn't feel the need to flaunt his position in any way. Yes, he was Mataya's older brother. Yes, he was also her business partner. Yes, he was in charge of the ballet. But the Shanachie was and always would be his sister's baby.

The sound of muffled voices was heard through the door, followed by a distinctly female giggle, which might make one wonder what exactly was going on behind that closed door. There was a short pause of silence and then another giggle at the sound of Josette's knock, and then a male voice she would likely recognize as that of the ballet director called out, "It's open!"

Though Tony was bilingual and sometimes lapsed into Italian, his first language was English mixed with a faint accent that declared him as having been raised in Brooklyn. He'd worked hard to erase the accent from his speech, but sometimes it still shone through, especially when he was angry or upset, which was thankfully rare these days.

Whatever Josette might have imagined, what she found when she opened the door was little Sofia pirouetting around the room, her one year old brother doing his best to follow her lead, but spending most of the time on his rump. Tony sat behind the desk, Anya perched on his lap, giggling girlishly at the children's antics.

Re: A Break From Tradition

Posted: Mon Oct 19, 2020 7:55 pm
by Josette Wheeler
It was one of the things Josette appreciated most about Tony. As much as he was a consummate professional as ballet director and fellow dancer, he ran the ballet company in such a way that was very relaxed and welcoming. It set the tone for the work environment which was so important since the rehearsal and performance schedules were rigorous and the standards exceedingly high.

Tony, Anya and Mataya were always approachable and that openeness made it a pleasure to work with each of them. It was one of the many reasons Josette loved being a part of theatre for the last few years and what helped her to pluck up the courage to knock at his door in the first place to put forth her idea.

The sound of muffled voices and that distinctly female giggle had the ballerina going utterly still for a moment. Her eyes widened just a touch and she very nearly pivoted away from the door. Not wanting to intrude upon what might potentially be a very private moment for Tony and Anya!

However, when Tony’s voice beckoned her to enter, she slowly opened the door and the sight that greeted her made a smile bloom that lit up Josette’s whole face in pure joy. It was always such a treat when Sofia and Sasha came for a visit!

“Just look at those beautiful pirouettes!” Those graceful hands clasped together in pure delight. Josette’s voice still carried the soft lilt of French that was whipped into her words like so much silken, Chantilly cream, despite her being away from La Ville-Lumière for many years now.

Petite fée...” Josette crooned as she set her ballet bag aside and knelt down to get on Sofia’s level. “Soon you will be doing incomparable fouettés like your Maman.” She looked up to throw a knowing wink Anya’s way. It was no secret in the ballet world that Anya’s fouettés were an incredible sight to behold onstage.

She turned her attention to Sasha next with a beaming smile. “And,mon petit caneton...” Josette could not help but giggle as she watched Sasha waddle after his sister like an adorable little duckling and end up on his rump. “You will fly as high as your Papa with your jumps soon enough, yes?”

Josette stood up again and smiled at Tony and Anya. “I hope I’m not intruding on family time. I’ve been meaning to come by and thank you both for allowing me to be assistant choreographer this year. It’s been a dream of mine for some time.”

Josette paused, there were those flurry of butterflies again whirling about in her stomach! “In fact I...I had an idea for something I wanted to do this season that I think would be something entirely new and thrilling for the company...but it’s a bit of a departure from the traditional way we’ve done the ballet in the past.”

Re: A Break From Tradition

Posted: Sat Oct 24, 2020 2:45 pm
by Anthony De Luca
Anya quietly slipped off Tony's lap to claim a chair nearby, smiling softly at the way Josette praised the children. She knew Sofia's pirouettes were less than perfect. It would be many years before their daughter perfected her dance skills and graduated to toe shoes, but everyone had to start somewhere. As for Sasha, he needed to learn how to walk before he could learn how to dance, but he was trying hard to keep up with his big sister. Another six months or so from now, the children would be joined by a third sibling, the news of which had come as a pleasant but unexpected surprise to the dancers, though they had yet to make it known to anyone outside the family.

The couple rarely danced together on stage these days. It wasn't so much that they were getting older as it was that with a growing family and a dance company to run, there just weren't enough hours in a day. They had slowly been encouraging the more experienced dancers to take on more responsibility in helping run the company, and Josette was no exception. She had been with the company a number of years now, and both Tony and Anya appreciated her talent and insight. That was, in part, why they had invited her to apprentice Anya as assistant choreographer for this year's ballet season. They had also sensed Josette's need to become more involved, and frankly, they did not want to lose her to another company.

“I hope I’m not intruding on family time. I’ve been meaning to come by and thank you both for allowing me to be assistant choreographer this year. It’s been a dream of mine for some time.” Josette paused, there were those flurry of butterflies again whirling about in her stomach!

"You are not intruding. Please sit," Tony assured the ballerina with a smile, gesturing to a chair should she wish to sit, though she might be risking further attention from the children if she did. He and Anya had an open-door policy when it came to their dancers, encouraging them to come to them whenever they had any problems or questions or just needed to talk.

“In fact I...I had an idea for something I wanted to do this season that I think would be something entirely new and thrilling for the company...but it’s a bit of a departure from the traditional way we’ve done the ballet in the past," Josette continued.

Tony arched a brow, as he exchanged a glance with Anya. He was not opposed to new ideas, though they had always tried to keep the scope of the ballet classical. He had, in fact, been working on an original ballet for some years, with Anya's help and encouragement, but did not feel it was quite ready for the stage just yet. But he knew that was not what Josette had come here about.

"What is your idea, dorogaya?" Anya asked of her friend in a decidedly-Russian accent, before Tony had a chance to speak. They had been doing things the same way for years. A little deviation from tradition couldn't hurt, could it?

Re: A Break From Tradition (Josette/Tony/Anya)

Posted: Sat Nov 21, 2020 2:20 pm
by Josette Wheeler
As Tony welcomed her to sit, Josette smiled in gratitude and claimed a seat. Any time she got to spend with the children when she was not busy rehearsing was always a delight and they brought such a wonderful energy to the theatre.

Seeing Tony’s brow arch and the glance he exchanged with Anya, her pulse accelerated just a bit with nerves. Delicate fingers strayed to the hollow of her throat as if to try and coax the words out that seemed to be suddenly stuck there. Josette was aware that Tony traditionally preferred to keep things classical with the exceptions of the Galas, but Anya’s gentle encouragement had her taking in a deep breath and continuing on with pitching her idea.

“I know we’ve already done “Swan Lake” just last year. Don’t get me wrong, I adore the classical version of the ballet. I especially loved dancing as Odile. But there is a version of “Swan Lake” that I came upon that was originally choreographed by Matthew Bourne, where the men actually dance the leads as well as the swans. I thought it would be an exciting challenge for the male members of the corps, and there are wonderful roles for women as well.” Josette paused as she reached into her dance bag to pull out a folder of her research on the version of the ballet she had in mind. The folder which included a brief synopsis of the story as well as some images was placed on Tony’s desk for the couple to peruse at their leisure.

“I’ve included everything here for you both to review as well as some of my own notes and ideas. I thought with all of the exceptional new talent we have this year after watching the group auditions, it would be the perfect year for a fresh take on the story. A gorgeous reinvention of a classic that switches up the traditional gender roles in the ballet.”

Another pause as she watched little Sasha with a fond smile, the image of him trying to imitate his big sister’s pirouettes before he could even really walk prompting her next words. “I...I think it’s especially important for young men to know that they can also dance the role of a majestic and powerful Swan someday if that is what they wish.”

Josette took another deep breath before her last words. “I’ve been really yearning to try something new in the company for the past few years and I just got really excited about this and I wondered if you might take some time to consider it?” She added with a hopeful look between Anya and Tony.

Re: A Break From Tradition (Josette/Tony/Anya)

Posted: Sun Nov 29, 2020 1:27 pm
by Anthony De Luca
Anya smiled, knowing Tony might take some convincing, but she was proud of Josette for being brave enough to come to them with the idea and pleased she thought them approachable enough to consider it. "Do we have Swan Lake on the list of ballets for next season, milaya?" she asked Tony, knowing they didn't. Though it was a staple of every ballet company, the couple tried hard to rotate ballets so that there was some variety in the productions from year to year.

Tony was frowning, not because he was perplexed or upset, but because he was considering Josette's idea and going over the possibilities in his head. "No, but a different version might be interesting," he mused aloud. "We do have some strong male dancers this year," he added. "I am a little familiar with Bourne's version," he said, turning back to Josette. "A friend of mine danced in it a few years ago. I always wanted to give it a try myself, but never had the opportunity."

"Perhaps now you could," Anya pointed out quietly, as she laid a gentle hand against her husband's arm.

Tony smiled back at her, the affection he felt for her obvious in his expression. "No, dolcezza," he told her gently. "That is for younger dancers than I, and we have more than enough of them to choose from." He looked back at Josette again, his smile warm and friendly. "Thank you for bringing this to us. We will definitely consider it."

Leaning over Tony's shoulder, Anya scanned the folder on the desk. She could definitely see that the pros outweighed the cons, but they needed to talk it over with Irina before settling on a commitment to do it. "If we were to stage this production, Josette, we would ask you to be the lead choreographer on it," she said, looking up at the other ballerina. "Is that something you would be comfortable to do? It would be your project, and we would assist you."