She was maybe twenty-one, a pretty girl in a tutu. The program said she would perform a piece by Balanchine. She posed like a figurine, arms extended, waiting for the music. And when it began she moved flawlessly, effortlessly; she floated across the stage, mezmerizing, a beam of purity. At the end she stood to acknowledge applause, and suddenly the audience saw her beneath the mask of her performance. Her chest heaved, the muscles of her neck were corded. Her smile was strained, and perspiration glowed upon her brow.
The moment passed, she seized control, and was once again perfection.