The Vaganova School. Everyone in Russia knows that if you are accepted, you can become a star. Becoming a prima ballerina is one of the greatest honors for the country. Parents spend years and uncountable amounts of money in order to prepare their children for acceptance into the school. But the reality is that of the thousands of children who audition, only twenty will be accepted. The other thousands will have to find another dream to live.
For my friend Pasha, this was his only dream. He dreamed of ballet night and day. He never dreamed of other things-a future, with a wife and children, and a normal job. He only thought of dancing, and of making his mother proud. I was the complete opposite: I dreamed of my future husband, of what we would name our children, and how we would live together. I loved to dance-I loved the graceful beauty of it, the romanticism, and the fantasy-but ballet wasn't my life. It was just what I loved to do.
But Pasha...Pasha only wanted to dance. In some ways, I loved his ambition, and loved his enthusiasm for his art. But as we grew older, and he began to scold my playtime with friends, my lack of concentration, my sporadic practice sessions, I began to grow tired of his continuous pestering. And in turn, he grew tired of my lack of commitment to our ballet.
By our last year of school, we had grown completely apart. At rehearsals, we talked to our own friends. If we had classes together, we would sit apart. If we saw each other in the hallways, we wouldn't make the effort to stop and talk. This made me sad in a way, knowing that my first and best friend from the Academy now disliked me, but there was nothing I could do. We were completely different people now.
But as I looked up at the cast list for the graduation performance in our last year of school, my heart dropped. For next to my name Anna Primakova: Swan Queen, was listed Pavel Smirnov: Prince. Pasha and I were to dance together for our last concert.
My heart sinking, I leaned against the wall the cast list was posted on. For every dancer, dancing the role of the Swan Queen was a dream. But this, dancing with Pasha's incredible perfection and insistent pestering, could wear me down to nothing.
How had this happened? How had we gotten the point where I dreaded being in the same room as him? We used to be best friends. We used to love each other.
But that was just the problem. We had been in love. But then Pasha had decided he loved ballet more. I just couldn't compete.
But let's start at the beginning of our story.