Not two years ago, you made your Broadway debut in “Hamilton” and received a Tony nomination for playing Eliza, the wife of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s title character. Now you’re starring in a Broadway musical adaptation of “Amélie.” You graduated from Juilliard in 2012 — what does all of this feel like?
There’s the cool factor, right? You see your face on a sign or your name on something, like: “Ahh! Here I am!” And then there’s a huge responsibility and the scary part of it, which is like, “Now what happens?” And then you realize, “Oh, yeah, this is my job.”
I’m sure you had many more illustrious visitors during your run in “Hamilton.”
When the Obamas came, that was pretty special. When we visited the White House, I got to watch Chris Jackson sing “One Last Time” right in front of the portrait of George Washington, while Barack and Michelle Obama are sitting right there.
The final scene in “Hamilton,” where Eliza reconciles with her dead husband’s legacy, is pretty emotionally overwhelming. Did you need to rush back to your dressing room and decompress in silence?
Some days. Doing a show eight times a week is kind of like doing yoga or tai chi. A vinyasa is the same every single time you do it, but depending on how you’re feeling, it tells you a lot about what’s happening in your life. So, there were days where I’d come offstage and be like, “Let’s go out and drink.” But you learn little tricks here and there. Some nights I’d say to myself, “I don’t know if I can watch my son die.” But you learn that you don’t have to go there every night; the writing does that.
You reunited with your “Hamilton” co-stars Renée Elise Goldsberry and Jasmine Cephas Jones to sing “America the Beautiful” at the Super Bowl. Was it a different experience to perform for tens of millions of people?
I’m looking out and going, “That’s a lot of people.” But I didn’t really get nervous. Once we got up there, we couldn’t actually hear anything. All we could hear was our own voices. And I was like: “O.K., well, hopefully it sounds good. Am I even performing? Can you guys hear me?” […]
phil lester sits criss-cross applesauce atop a world of his own creation and smiles. he stands in scuffed shoes and cares steady, holds consideration in gentle palms and offers it like the worst kept secret. jokes, delicate and airy, translucent flower petals and lavender blush and making the world a bit brighter. well meaning words settle whisper quiet into hearts, moulding them into something better, something softer. the rosy brightness of adoration blooms steady behind his eyes and glows for something good.
phil lester sits on his old bedroom floor and tells a camera about his day. ten years later he performs his last show on a worldwide tour, best friend by his side and tucks memories laced in silver and gold in his back pocket for safekeeping. he stumbles and a million hands reach out to balance and propel him forward. happy screams and photos and tweets and art and unadulterated love put down roots in his chest. vines creep across his ribcage and beat in a rhythm only he can hear, safecomfortablewarm. he locks it there, vivid and precious.
phil lester smiles, sunlit and breathtaking, the turn of his lips smeared on and dripping joy like a fingerpainting. he inhales colour and light and sound and exhales creativity, his fingers itch for something just out of his reach. mind floating away, barely there clouds dancing and wispy, and lying back among them and dreams about flying. determination is sharp in his veins and laces through his lungs like string tugging him along, do this make that write this down plan this out. add another rung and climb higher. he twists lovely things with clumsy fingers and adds another line to the autobiography titled how to make the stars appear dim next to this.
phil lester looks at the sky, twinkles wistfully and wonders if he could be up there. he doesn’t realise he’s been flying for years.
it was cold outside so, you had the heat booming and episodes of your favorite tv show rolling. your little sister, yenan cuddled up by your side with the hugest grin on her face.
“is he here?! is that him!?” she jumped up in excitement at the sound of a car door.
you shrugged. “it could be him, im not sure.”
sometimes, you thought that your little sister was more in love with dean than you were. she’s basically his #1 fangirl. she knows all of his songs which is super shocking since his songs are in korean and she only speaks english.
lucky for her, she’s been backstage at a few of his performances with you. it’s so cute when they see each other, she buries herself in his clothes, does a little handshake that they made up with him and then she’d sit on his lap and play with his hair until you got noticeably jealous.
you were definitely the jealous type when it came to dean. he was yours and only yours but sometimes, even your sister seemed to get in the way. it was whatever though.
“dean!” yenan screamed at the top of her lungs as she ran to open the knocking door.
“yenan-ah!” dean picked her up by her under arms and swung her around.
feeling a little jealous at how they acted towards each other, you cleared your throat. “hey dean.”
his eyes switched over to yours. ‘damn.’ he thought to himself. your eyes were intimidating him. he knew he fucked up, giving all of his attention to yenan instead of you.
“hey jagiya.” he sat down beside you, pecked your lips and pulled you into a quick hug.
immediately, you recognized that smell that you loved. his cologne was titled ‘bad boy’ but it smelled sweet and innocent, kind of like candy. that was the smell you craved. you craved it so much and at the moment, you couldn’t do anything about it.
“did you miss me?” he nudged you.
“i missed you dean!” you rolled your eyes at your attention seeking little sister.
“shut up yenan.” you pulled her scrunchie out of her hair, causing her curls to fall all over her face.
“yah y/n why you do that?!” she ran away, probably to her room to fix her hair.
“somebody’s jealous.” dean teased you.
you rolled your eyes and masked your smile. he was right, you were jealous. as soon as he came through your door, he was supposed to be all over you, not yenan. it was time to play a little hard to get.
“yupp.” you said as plain as you could.
“yahh don’t act like that. what did i do?” he asked.
you shifted to your side and focused back on the television. you squeezed in a few fake laughs as the minutes past until he realized what you were doing.
“dean! i’m leaving, mommies here bye!” yenan came running back into the living room with her backpack on and stuffed animal in her arms.
“bye my caramel princess. and tell eomma i said hey.” he kissed the top of her head and let her go after saying her goodbyes to you.
as soon as the door shut and the two of you were alone, dean got closer to you and whispered in your ear, “what’s up with you?”.
you bit down on your lip hoping that he didn’t hear the slight moan that escaped your lips. but, he did. you hated when he could control you. when he would make you moan, it meant that you were basically under his control. he knew that most things he did could turn you on. like, just the sound of his voice, his presence or his soft touch.
“nothing.” you responded.
“oh, really? so why didn’t you talk to me for ten fucking minutes?” he placed his index finger on your chin and turned your face to face his.
“because, i was jealous.” you spat out.
he smirked, looked down and back at you. that look fucking killed. every single inch of his face was carved perfectly. his eyebrows gave a mischievous look to his face along with his high cheekbones and tanned skin. he looked like a playboy.
“you were jealous of your nine year old sister? baby if attention is what you want i’ll give it to you.” he kissed your lips.
his lips fit perfectly with yours. although yours were a bit more thicker than his, it still felt satisfyingly equal.
“i want something else..” you decided to make the real first move.
you reached for his pants zipper bit he stopped you. confused as to why he did let you proceed, you looked at him. “what?”
“you wanna do it on the couch? or in bed?” he asked, not even caring about your answer since he most definitely wanted to do it in bed.
ignoring your answer, he picked you up in one swift and carried you to your bedroom. he leaned into you which made you fall backwards onto the bed.
as he left soft wet kisses on your neck, you ruffled his hair around with your fingers. you learned that that fueled him up. it made his performance ten times better than it could’ve been if you didn’t play around in his hair.
“hyuk..” you titled your head back. you were so busy thinking about how good he was that you didn’t realize that he had already peeled your underwear off.
sooner than later, your room filled up with a mix of moans and groans from both you and hyuk. sex with him was amazing. he was gentle but rough at the same time. he would tell you how beautiful your skin and hair is while pounding the shit out of you and you liked it. scratch that, you loved it.
“babygirl look at me while i fuck you.” he grunted as he held your leg up on his shoulder.
the amount of pleasure that you got from this position was unbearable, so instead of trying to escape it, you closed your eyes and bit down on your lip. he hated when you closed your eyes while he fucked you so he would anyways tell you to open them and look at him.
you fought everything that you had in you to keep them fixed on his, staring back at him through your thick lashes gave him such a drive.
“don’t ever ignore me again..” he ordered you.
“yes… i won’t ignore you” you sat up on your shoulders to watch him stroke into;out of you.
suddenly, he sped up his pace. most likely because he was near. realizing the stiffening in your legs, you too were near. “say my name y/n.”
“hyuk…hyuk…hyuk…hyuk..!” you moaned aloud.
he slowed down as his strokes became a sloppy mess. he fell on the side of you after you came together. you rolled over into his chest and kissed the chisel of his jaw.
“you’re not on the pill anymore are you? i haven’t…you know for awhile.” hyuk asked, getting rid of the comfortable silence.
you thought of the last time you even took the pill. you damn sure couldn’t remember. “ahh no.”
“i can’t believe im having a blasian kid.” he lightly chuckled.
your eyes widened out of shock at what your boyfriend had just said. hearing that made you the happiest girl on earth. this meant that, he wasn’t going to care about what his parents would think when he tells them the unconfirmed news. it meant that he wasn’t scared. it meant that you were possibly going to have your own little family with the man you loved.
“go get a test.” you sat up with the sheets thrown over your shoulders.
it had been a long time since you saw hyuk move as fast as he did to put on his clothes and head out the door. he was so excited that he forgot all about a shower.
what if you were pregnant? how would your mom react to it? she would probably think that you’re too young and that it’s too early to start having kids when you just graduated from college. the thought of her reaction made you feel a bit worried so you prayed that it would be a good one. that is, if you were pregnant.
you got out of bed and headed to the bathroom to shower.
“is it finished yet?” hyuk yelled from the living room.
you checked the clock on your phone and the five minutes that you had to wait were up. slowly, you turned the test over and indeed, you were pregnant.
trying to not be obvious at all, you covered the smile that formed on your lips with your resting bitch face. you walked into the living area and sat beside hyuk, handing him the test after telling him to close his eyes.
“okay, 1, 2, 3 open them.”
he quickly opened them and looked down at the small test in his hands. with just his mouth in the shape of an o, and his watery eyes, you could tell that this was indeed a very special moment for him.
“im gonna…be a…father.” he said in english.
you pecked his cheek and leaned into him. he wrapped his arms around you and lightly sobbed until he remembered that he was man and sucked it up.
“we should tell our parents.” he coughed to cover up the fact that he was just crying.
you giggled. “you’re really gonna pretend like you weren’t just crying?”
“baby i wasn’t, i’m a man.” he pouted.
“whatever you say hyuk.” you picked up your phone and dialed your mom’s number.
“hello?” she answered on the second ring.
“yea eomma, i have some news. are you listening?” you took in a deep breath.
dean noticed your nervous state, so he intertwined his fingers with yours to reassure that everything would be fine.
“yeah go ahead.” she responded.
“well, i’ve took a pregnancy test. and it says that im pregnant.” you smiled a little at the fact that you could say that now.
“you’re what?!” she sounded happy.
“i heard! wait until i tell yenan! i just can’t believe it my baby’s pregnant i gotta tell everyone child im-… where’s dean?” you didn’t know this, but she was jumping around in her place of work.
everyone’s eyes were on her with the thought, ‘what the hell’s gotten into her?’
“right here eomma!” he spoke into the phone.
“congratulations.. i’ve got to go.” she finally calmed down same caught her breath.
“ok mom we’ll talk later.” you hung up the phone and looked over at dean who was dialing his parents number.
“hello eomma? is appa there with you? i have important news.” he softly spoke into the phone.
he put it on speaker, so that you could hear. “yes he’s here, what is it?”
“y/n is pregnant.” he bit down on his lip, hoping for a good reaction.
“what? you’re not married to her hyuk! what if she’s using you for-”
“she’s not, i will marry her. i love her and she loves me. just because she’s foreign it doesn’t mean that she’s different. you have to trust me eomma.” his eyes shifted over to you, he was shocked that you kept a smile on your face.
“i see..” she sighed.
“we’ll support you hyuk. we’ll support the both of you and congratulations to you and y/n. i can’t wait to see my grandchild.” his father spoke into the phone with his soothing and reassuring voice.
“thanks appa. we’ll talk later.” hyuk hung up the phone and tossed it to the side.
“you good?” he asked you, lightly tugging on one of your curls.
you nodded. his mother liked you, and you could see where she was coming from. that was her culture so you couldn’t really be upset with it. hopefully, she’ll be more accepting of the fact that you’re going to be carrying her son’s child. hopefully.
“i put a baby in you..” he poked your stomach. “that’s so sexy.”
you giggled at his stupidness and straddled him, unexpectedly. “promise me we’ll be alright.”
“y/n i promise you we’ll be alright. fuck what a hater gotta say. you’re mine and i’m yours. we’re together until the end.”
lite smut cause, i didn’t want to go into detail with that stuff yet. i hope that you still like it.
keep requests coming cause i love getting requests 💗
Pairing: Jaehyun x Reader Genre: Fluff Word Count: 2.2k
Desc: Your group is collaborating with NCT U for a special stage. When you and your partner just aren’t clicking, you find that it’s gonna take a little more than just skills to pull off the dance.
We were in the middle of practicing the dance for what felt like the 30th time when the music suddenly shut off. “Stop, stop, stop!” Danny, our choreographer, yelled. I came undone from Ten’s arms, breathing heavily.
“Guys, I know you’re all tired and frustrated, but this looks like a complete mess. Where’s the enthusiasm? Where’s the effort?” Danny questioned, throwing his hands in the air. He looked at us expectantly, but no one dared to say a word. “Y/N and Ten, you guys are my main dancers. You’re supposed to be leading this, but I’m not feelin’ it at all,” I practically felt my confidence melt out of my body at his words. Ten and I shared an uncomfortable look. What were we doing wrong?
Danny let out a deep sigh. “Well, since no one has any answers, we’re done for today. Come back tomorrow, when you guys are actually ready to show me something good.” With that, he stormed out of the studio, slamming the door behind him. We all turned to look at each other.
“Well, that sucked,” Mimi, my best friend and group member, muttered.
The dining hall was buzzing with excited nerves. At each table, people were huddled, giving furtive looks at their enemy classes, talking hurriedly. The teachers sat at their long table on the dais, looking calm and demure. But with a second look, you realized Madame Choi was talking with a smirk to Master Kang, who talked back with an equally evil smile, not letting her words get to him.
“I can’t believe it’s today!” Hyeun squeaked next to you. You tried to smile. “We are gonna be so good! We’re gonna blow Master Kang’s class way off the ranks.”
“We might.” Yuna agreed. “Unless they don’t have anything else up their sleeves.”
Hyeun grinned. “We’ve got (Name) up our sleeves.”
You felt sick. From this very morning they hadn’t talked about anything else than the review. You would’ve of course have joined them. If only you were actually allowed to dance.
“Good luck, girls.” The serving lady said with a smile as she handed you your bowls of porridge. It seemed that everyone was excited. Everyone but you.
You got out of the line, and were heading for your class’s table when you felt eyes on you. Dawon, Jin, Taehyung, Jungkook, Namjoon, Yoongi and Hoseok sat at their table, looking at you earnestly. Oh God. You turned to Yuna and Hyeun. “Guys, I’ll come in a sec; I just have to do something.”
“‘kay.” said Yuna. Hyeun’s face fell a little.
'You don’t even join in with your class; you go hang out with the seniors.’
Minjee was right, but you doubted you’d ever hang out with Dawon and everyone again.
Nervously, you went over.
“Hey.” You said quietly. Well, maybe you wasn’t the only one who didn’t seem excited. They all looked drawn and tired. You perched on the edge of an empty seat. You looked to Taehyung and Yoongi. “I’m so sorry about last night.”
They exchanged a glance. Taehyung leaned forward, his eyes earnest. “(Name), why didn’t you tell my parents what really happened?”
“That bitch deserves all that she would’ve gotten."Yoongi added.
"I know.” You said. “My whole class would get involved…I just couldn’t.”
“Then they all deserve it, (Name).” Said Taehyung, as if you couldn’t understand.
You sighed, keeping your tears in check. How could you explain it to them? How could you make them understand?
“It’s just that if I told Master Jinho, then my class would have been divided again.” You looked at them helplessly.
“(Name).” Namjoon began.
“And you can’t have a divided class before the review.” Dawon cut in. You looked at her. She was nodding. “I get it. Whatever they did, you still have to function as a class. You won’t win tonight if you all hate each other.”
“That’s what I meant.” You said quietly.
Taehyung still looked unconvinced, his lips pursed broodingly. But the rest seemed to be considering it. “(Name), Minjee at least deserves to get punished in some way.” Taehyung mumbled, his sharp brown eyes furrowed with determination. “We saw your face yesterday morning. She made you miserable.”
“I know.” You said. “But she knows she can’t do it again. And with what you guys did, and with.” You bit your lip. “With what Jimin did, that was punishment enough. She’s been embarrassed enough to know not to try anything like that again.”
“Jimin?"Jungkook mumbled disappointed at the mention of his name. "What did that jackass do?”
“He just talked to them about it.” You told him, wishing you hadn’t said anything in the first place.
“He’s not a jackass, Kook.” Jin said tiredly. “It’s the US Ballet. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Jungkook made a face. “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity whenever Shinn Taeil chooses.”
“Whenever she sleeps with Frank Rebrevae.” Hoseok agreed.
Dawon shrugged. “But Jimin still didn’t have a choice, did he?”
“He would have had another chance; he had that audition in a few months anyway.” Namjoon scoffed. “It’s just because he wanted to get away from – ” He cut off, looking right at you.
You felt a pang of pain surge forward again. So he’d left because of you? Because he’d known what you thought felt him. Because you were messing things up for him, when you’d spied on him when he’d been rehearsing. When you kept annoying Taeyeon, when you’d distracted him in class with Kihyun or with your concussion.
You’d made him leave…
“I’m so sorry.” You whispered, standing up.
Dawon grabbed your hand. “(Name), that’s not true. He left because it was a good opportunity – ”
You shook your head. “No, it is because of me. I made things difficult for him.”
She huffed. “Maybe, (Name), but not for the reasons you’re thinking of.”
This was too much. You couldn’t cope with this all again. Clearly the delusion wasn’t over. You picked up your bowl, tugging your hand from her grasp.
“You’re wrong, Dawon, Jimin explained it to me yesterday.” You took a deep breath. “Good luck with the review.” Then you turned and walked away, the sick feeling mounting up once again. Everything was crumbling. First your damned delusion, Jimin himself, then your solo and now his friends. There was just one more part of your life at Amour which had yet to turn against you.
At your class’s table, you were greeted with smiles. Smiles on the one day where you didn’t deserve them.
“Hey (Name).” Kihyun spoke as you sat down. “What was last night about?”
“I’ll tell you when we get to class.” You said, trying to force nonchalance into your voice. Minjee, who was once again in her usual spot beside Seohyun, raised her eyebrow. You averted your gaze, hoping she wouldn’t say anything.
“I can’t wait for the other schools to get here.” Yuna said perkily. “Show 'em what we’re made of.”
“Yeah, we’ll deflate the US Ballet Academy’s massive egos.” Jongsoo spoke confidently with a smirk. “Just 'cause they’re 'a national academy’.”
“And JYP, YG and SM is meant to be pretty stuck up, too.” Kwangsik put in.
Yuna laughed. “'Cause here at Amour we’re such a modest bunch, huh?”
It was then that Master Jinho stood up from his table and came to stand at the front of the dais where a cherry wood lectern had been placed. Master Jinho’s eyes twinkled in the lights from the chandeliers as he looked out at the hall with a slight smile. It didn’t seem as reassuring as it had been on the first night he had stood up. Last night’s meeting with him had changed all that. Your mind tugged and toiled, wanting to find fault with him, but you understood why he had banned you from the review. You had danced when you’d been injured, and, to the best of his knowledge, you’d also bullied a fellow student.
“Good Morning, school.” He said once everyone had become silent. “In less than ten hours time, you will be on the stage of Amour de la Beauté.” Yuna straightened up beside you.
Master Jinho continued. “Soon, we will get into the programme of the day, but before that, I have a quick announcement to make.” His face turned a little grim. “Two of our honour students, Park Jimin and Taeyeon, have been offered an audition and almost certain spot in the United State’s Ballet’s Nutcracker. This is a very great achievement which we will applaud them for when they return, but for the moment this is just to say that they will not be competing today, and consequently Kim Seokjin and Jung Dawon will be taking their places in the Grand Pas de Deux section of the Review.”
“Lucky bastards.” Dongwon whispered to Kihyun.
“Oh my God.” Yuna exclaimed. “The US Ballet!”
You noticed a few seniors sitting at a table in front of yours give each other glum looks. They’d lost two of their best dancers. At least your class had unwillingly created an alternative dance routine. At her table, Dawon put a hand to her cheek, shutting her eyes. You had been right yesterday – She had far more right to be upset than you.
“Moving on.” Master Jinho silencing us once again. “The day will begin with warm up and barre in your tech classes as usual. Any class disobeying this rule for extra rehearsal time will immediately be pulled from the Review. Also we will not tolerate any risk when it regards your physical health.” His eyes came to rest on you for a split second. You looked down quickly, too ashamed and conflicted to face him.
“Rehearsals will commence at ten and will continue until one, when we will break for an hour for lunch, then return to rehearsals. At five, all those who are not performing in the Review will report to Master Hwan.”
Wonderful. You couldn’t even watch your class. Though maybe they wouldn’t want you there.
“For everyone else, rehearsals will go on until about six, when the other schools arrive. Everyone will proceed to the dressing rooms backstage for hair and makeup – students are not to be seen in the theatre or the corridors. The opening speeches will be made ten minuets to eight. Performances will open with Madame Choi’s first year class at approximately eight.”
Master Jinho took a glance around the hall, letting the words sink in. “After the Review, which we expect to last up to three hours, there will be the traditional dinner in the Dining Hall where the winners will be announced. I doubt I need to remind you of the importance of this review. There will be powerful people in that audience who will be making judgements which could ultimately decide whether you get into their companies or not. Reputation is everything. And reviews like these will make or break your reputations. Understood?” Master Jinho gave his school one last look.
“You are all good dancers, you know that. Remember good things come to those who believe, better things come to those who are patient and the best things come to those who work hard and dosen’t give up. Believe in yourselves, because we at Amour believe in you.”
He then went to sit back down, and Master Hwan came up and began to talk about uniform requirements and rules.
Yuna leant over to you. “Apparently Master Jinho always says that before performances.” She whispered. “Kind of a Amour tradition.”
You nodded, staring at the school coat of arms. Believe, better things come to those who are patient and the best things come to those who work hard and dosen’t give up. Well maybe that was true, but you felt neither. You really did believe. You had worked hard, you hadn’t given up and you had been patient, but in the end nothing worked out. You felt weak and pathetic, torn down by the events of today and yesterday. But maybe that was just life…
“…And must I remind you that all earrings are to be taken off before going on stage?” Master Hwan was saying, mopping his brow. “Right, school dismissed.”
“Oh my God!” Yuna squeaked as you all got up and grabbed your plates. “I can’t believe it’s today!”
“I know.” You said quietly.
“Hey, cheer up, (Name).” She said as you dropped your plates off at the window. “You’re gonna be amazing!”
“I know.” Hyeun agreed tagging along. “When you danced yesterday I was like 'jeez, she’s good.’”
Oh you felt awful.
You reached your studio. Without any of the normal messing around, everyone was putting their shoes on and warming up.
Madame Choi and Mister Ghim came in earlier than usual. Everyone half got up to bow and curtsy, but instead of striding to the front of the class as she usually did, she stayed near the door. “Miss (Surname).” She said, gesturing for you. Yuna gave you a puzzled look as you stood up.
Madame Choi looked tired. Her tight bun wasn’t as regal as yesterday. Her eyes looked a little baggy. But she still stood tall, like the fearsome teacher you now knew her as.
“I’m so sorry, ma'am.” You said quietly, not even sure which offence to apologize for; doing it in the first place or getting found out? “I didn’t mean for this to – ”
“Save it, Miss (Surname).” She said calmly. “What you did, you did with my full consent, and I certainly do not blame you, seeing what you created.” She shook her head. “I assure you that I have tried my best to win back your solo, but the Headmaster has stringent rules about this sort of thing.”
“Did you get in trouble, ma'am?” You asked her.
She smiled. “No more than I can manage, Miss (Surname). It was worth it. Many people will not see that solo, but I will always remember it.”
Your heart warmed for a second. “Thank you m – ”
“Now.” She said, straight back into business. “Do you want to tell them or shall I?”
You glanced behind her to your class’s reflection in the mirror. A few of them were looking at you, but most were stretching or talking quietly. You looked back to Madame Choi. “They’ve heard the wrong stories way too many times. I’ll tell them.”
She nodded. “Good girl.” She turned to the class and clapped her hands, “Silence! Miss (Surname) has an announcement to make before we begin.”
You stood at the front, your fingers twisting around each other. Yuna and Hyeun were both staring at you confused. Kihyun and Jongsoo were both slouched disinterested, while Minjee stood leaning against the barre at the back, smirking at you.
You took a deep breath. “Last night. When Master Jinho called me to his office, he told me that he’d found out about how I’d been dancing while I’d been injured and that.” You swallowed. “I’m not allowed to dance in the Review tonight.”
They stared at you. You bit hard on the insides of your cheeks.
“What. The. Hell?” Seohyun said eventually. “You can’t be serious.”
“We perform tonight.” Jongsoo spoke angrily glaring at you.
“I’m really sorry.” You said pathetically.
“No you’re not.” Seohyun snapped. “How many times have you done this to us now?”
Madame Choi, standing by the wall, caught your eye concerned. You gave a slight shake of your head. You couldn’t hide behind her. You needed them to yell and scream at you. She nodded, but you could tell she wouldn’t let it get too far.
“You don’t give a crap about this class.” Kihyun was next. “You don’t care about being part of a team. You just go making your own rules, dipping in and out of your solo depending on how you feel, rehearsing when you want to. Maybe you couldn’t control it the first time, with your concussion, but you could have just accepted that you weren’t gonna be dancing the solo.”
“Yeah.” Dongwon nodded unhappily. “You didn’t need to go ask for it back and screw it all up again.”
“This is really bad.” Hyeun groaned. At least it wasn’t exactly directed at you.
“We’re never going to win.” Kwangsik muttered.
“Oh stop being such emo’s.” Minjee suddenly snapped, pushing off from the barre. “Her solo wasn’t that amazing in the first place and we have another dance already – one which we’ve been rehearsing for just as long.”
“(Name) was good, though.” Yuna. “Maybe we could all go and see Master Jinho.”
Minjee glared at her. “Grow up, Yuna. Whatever your opinion is, she’s not doing it. So instead of moping around and saying we’re screwed, why don’t we actually do some ballet, huh?”
“She’s right.” Hyeun murmured. “Regardless of our opinions of what (Name) did, we’ve got to start rehearsing. We should just accept that (Name)’s not doing her solo and we have to perform the second version instead.”
“But we just found out.” Seohyun high pitched voice exclaimed. “Can’t we at least get some breathing space?”
“No!” Minjee shouted. “Jesus, we have seven hours max to practise and memorize this dance! We can’t have freaking breathing space! We can’t have a friendship circle and talk about how we feel! We need to rehearse!”
“Well said, Miss Gwan.” Madame Choi said dryly. “It is sad indeed that we don’t have Miss (Surname)’s solo, but I believe now is not the time for placing blame.” She clapped her hands, “To the barre! Come on! Mister Ghim, if you’d be so kind!” Mechanically, your class stood up. They knew what they had to do. Their emotions toward you would have to wait.
Consequently, no one looked at you for the rest of the morning. Not during barre, which Madame Choi told you to do even though there was no point in warming up, or during the rehearsals which followed. You just sat as they went over the dance again and again.
They’d kept certain aspects – the pirouettes at the beginning and the boys entering after the girls – but most of it was different. There was no tentative beginning. There was no tight circle during the bridge which you’d hide in and then burst out of, suddenly understanding dance on a whole new level. There was none of the dance that you had imagined in your mind. No story of awakening. Of realizing the world of dance. It was just. It was just a dance.
But you had no control over that anymore.
It was quarter to one. You had been sitting by the piano for the whole time, trying to make yourself scarce. No one needed you getting in the way. They worked with extreme focus. No one talked. No one looked away from the mirrors and Madame Choi. Hyeun didn’t giggle. Seohyun didn’t flirt. Minjee didn’t tell everyone what they were doing wrong, but even though they were all so focussed, things weren’t going well.
“We have half an hour before lunch!” Madame Choi announced, striding up and down the front of the room once again, as she had done thousands of times already. “Every single interval must be sharper! You need to extend! You need to look brighter! This music is about giving your whole self to something! It means putting your personality into it!”
No one reacted. They just wearily swigged water from their bottles and got back into formation. “And five six seven eight and smile! Come on! You’re not robots! Good, that’s it!”
But everyone could tell that it wasn’t. They were all so tired. At this rate you’d be the only one awake by the time tonight came.
Lunch was a relief, though. Everyone dragged their hoodies and cardigans on and trudged out through the door.
Yuna gave you a little smile as she walked out, but then she caught up with the others. You knew why. You weren’t going through the stress they were going through. You weren’t going through the worry of having to fix a whole dance in two rehearsals. You weren’t tired and aching like them.
So you waited a few minutes before heading down to the dining hall, where you sat alone at a vacant table at the back of the hall, trying to get yourself to eat something. You didn’t want to think. You just sat and let yourself be lulled by the tiny raindrops tapping on the window.
Was it raining in Los Angeles right now? He would probable be the studios already, warming up. Stretching. Maybe he was sewing up his ballet slippers. Rehearsing one of the lifts with Taeyeon?
But it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter what Park Jimin, your partnering teacher, is doing.
The second rehearsal went a little better; everyone was perkier after their break. But there were still problems remaining. “Look lively!” Madame Choi demanded, walking right up to Areum in the front row. “Use your face! Your legs and arms aren’t enough! What is the music saying? What is this crescendo suggesting! Come on!”
They reached the end once again, finishing in one long line, the girls en pointe and the guys down on one knee in between them. Madame Choi had her hands on her hips, staring at them. “This shouldn’t be so difficult. Why are you having so much trouble connecting with a simple concept? Hmm?”
It looked as though no one would reply again, but Kwangsik suddenly spoke up, his voice quiet. “It’s (Name)’s dance, ma'am; not ours.”
Madame Choi raised her eyebrows at him. “It’s not – ” She stopped herself, taking a breath. “Perhaps it is, but I doubt that this music was written just for Miss (Surname)’s enjoyment. You must work this out.”
Just as Madame Choi was about to say the rest of her notes, there was a soft knock on the door.
“Oh my God!” Yuna suddenly squealed. “Jiwoo!”
Jiwoo came in, her arm still in a cuff and collar, wearing jeans and a thick jacket.
Forgetting all class etiquette, everyone hurried to the door with the exception of you, Minjee and Kwangsik, who looked mortified.
“Woah, easy Yu.” She laughed as Yuna gave her an enthusiastic hug.
“How are you?” Hyeun asked given a hug after Yuna.
“Is it going to be okay?”
“When are you coming back?”
“Miss Yang” Madame Choi nodded, a smile sneaking onto her face for the first time today. “To what do we owe the pleasure?”
The class managed to split enough to allow her to speak to your teacher.
“I’m sorry, ma'am.” She said, as politely as usual. “I just got discharged and I wanted to see everyone before the review tonight.”
Madame Choi nodded. “Of course you’re welcome. You can sit in and watch, if you’d like, but I do ask that we return to rehearsing straight away. We’ve had a few last minute changes.”
And suddenly everyone wanted to fill her in on what had happened with you.
“(Name)’s lost the solo again.”
“We’re back on, like, version two.”
“It’s hell, seriously.”
“She’s dumped us in some serious shit.”
“We’re gonna get thrashed.”
You sat back and waited as they vented out a bit of their emotions and got her a chair and made sure she was comfortable. Madame Choi tapped her foot as they finally returned to their positions. “Okay, from the tour jetes, five six seven.”
Jiwoo watched politely as they went through their moves again and again. Though her return had helped, they still weren’t finding much connection in the music. She occasionally looked at you, but you both knew you couldn’t talk here. She must have been itching to, though, because when you excused yourself to report to Master Hwan at five o'clock, Jiwoo came with you.
“Jeez.” She said as soon as you were out of ear shot. “I only saw you yesterday afternoon! What on Earth’s been happening?”
“So much, Jiw.” You said as you quickly hugged. “I’m so glad you’re here.”
You reached the Entrance Hall. There were only four other people not performing. One girl was recovering from a hip operation, two had minor injuries and one other boy had been overseas until yesterday and hadn’t had time to catch up. None of them had been stopped as a punishment.
Your tasks were easy, though. The other schools were coming and you were to be their guides, making sure they got from one place to the other. Until they arrived, you were to set up the dining hall and help out the dinner ladies. Jiwoo and you were put in charge of putting vases of flowers on the tables. You would carry, and then Jiwoo would arrange, seeing as she only had one functioning arm. It gave the two of you good time to talk.
Like yesterday, you found yourself spilling everything out to her, including the whole meeting with Master Jinho. It was a relief to tell someone the full details. Right from Minjee’s first allegations to the fact that she had a twin, to your little confrontation in the bathrooms later on.
“I knew Minjee had a sister.” Jiwoo said while putting a flower in a vase. “I had no idea that you and her were in competition for the last spot here, though. Still, it’s no reason for Minjee to be such a bitch.”
Though it was good to get the meeting with Master Jinho off your chest, you began to realize more and more that the real issue couldn’t even be expressed. How could you explain the whole thing with Jimin to her? How could you possibly admit being such a fool?
Finally you finished doing the flowers, and Master Hwan told you to go upstairs and change into proper clothes. Jiwoo and you slowly trooped up to your dorm. “Aren’t you tired, Jiw?” You asked, pulling on Dawon’s clothes from yesterday. “You only just got out.”
“It’s not too bad.” She said. “I’ll just have a nap when Master Kang’s class starts dancing.”
You laughed. “I dunno, they’ll probably beat us.”
She frowned. “It seemed like Madame Choi was trying to get them to dance a dance which isn’t theirs. From what I’ve heard, you pretty much made that dance your own. Your interpretation of it sounds pretty deep; how can anyone replicate that?”
You nodded glumly. “I guess so. But they have to find some sort of way to get something across.”
Jiwoo sighed. “Realistically, you’re the only one who can do that piece justice. If only you’d get magically reinstated.”
“If only world peace was achieved.” You muttered as you began to head back down to the Entrance Hall.
“So he said you weren’t allowed to dance in the review?”
“I guess rules are rules.” She said quietly.
“You guess?” You repeated.
She shrugged, then winced at the pain. “I mean…every rule is breakable, right?”
You smiled. “Maybe, but I don’t think I need to give Master Jinho another excuse to kick me out.”
“I guess it depends on what you’re gonna lose if you do break it.” She said, “It’s a balancing act.”
Under directions from Master Hwan, you went outside to the front courtyard to wait for the busses. Jiwoo and you had been assigned the group from the US Ballet Academy. The rain was clearing a little, and it only spat on and off.
“Kwangsik didn’t say hello to me.” Jiwoo said whispered quietly, staring out at the trees. “He didn’t even look at me.”
You glanced at her. “He feels guilty, Jiwoo. He dropped you and you wound up in the hospital. You need to talk to him.”
She nodded. “I know. I will.”
The rumble of engines brought you to your attentions. Soon, three large busses were rolling across the cobblestones around the turning circle. Each bus came to a halt with a shudder. They all had photos of dancers on them, stretching in a leap or an arabesque across the entire length of the bus. Words in metallic white lettering were printed by the dancer.
The United States National Ballet Academy
In Association with the United States Ballet
“They’re all from the US Ballet?” You asked Master Hwan.
“Yes.” He said distastefully. “Remember, you’re representing your school.”
“Yes sir.” Jiwoo and you replied, then went down the steps.
The door to the first bus hissed open as you approached, and a woman stepped out. She was tall with dark hair, pushed up into a bun, dressed in a sharp white suit and white heels. Behind her came a man who was even taller, with a slight frame and a square jaw. Both of them looked to be in their forties.
“Hello.” You said awkwardly as you walked up to them. “We’re your guides for this evening.”
The lady smiled politely and held out a hand. “Myoh Youngmin.” She said as you took it. “Senior ballet mistress.”
“Chongsu Sungmin.” Said the man. “Academy Director.”
“I’m Jiwoo.” Jiwoo introduced herself politely with a bow.
“And I’m (Name).”
The Ballet Mistress looked sharply at you. “(Surname) (Name)?”
You nodded. What? How did she know you?
She exchanged glances with the man, who was frowning. “You’re the first year who’s already seventeen?” He asked. There was an undertone of contempt in his voice.
“Yes.” You replied blankly.
Jiwoo was looking at you nervously. “Um, we should probably start heading inside.”
Myoh Youngmin gave a plastic smile and got back into the bus. You heard her telling everyone to get off, but you didn’t take much notice.
“May I ask how you know about me?” You said to the man.
“Oh.” He shrugged, “We have various contacts with Amour de la Beauté. Your case is very. Interesting to us at the US Ballet.”
“Interesting?” You repeated. You struggled to keep the lightness in your voice. “How so?”
He gave a sympathetic smile. “It’s…a little odd to allow a seventeen year old dancer with limited experience into an elite academy, particularly when she has to be put in the first year group.”
The Ballet Mistress came back out, and students in white, blue and red jackets began streaming out of the busses, giggling and chattering.
“Also on your part.” The director continued. “Surely you understand the risks of throwing your whole education away to dance?”
“To dance when I am past the correct age?” You verified stonily. Jiwoo nudged you and you began to walk, leading the students behind you.
You stared straight ahead. “Dancing is my passion, Mister Chongsu. It is all I want to do.”
A smirk crept across the lady’s face. Chongsu Sungmin cleared his throat, putting his hands behind his back. “It’s funny, really, Miss (Surname), because every other potential student who passes through my doors says the same thing; 'dancing is their passion’. But at the end of the day, my dear, all the audiences want is a pretty, youthful face with sharp pirouettes and long arabesques. Take my advice.” He said, slowing.
His students went on around him, following Myoh Youngmin. They glanced at you curiously as they passed. You looked back to their headmaster who stood in front of you. “You won’t get far, Miss (Surname). I know Kim Jinho has probably shouted some shit about you having amazing potential, but you don’t. No one likes an old dancer. At the American Ballet you’re already a laughing stock. Even Frank Rebrevae has been told not to bother watching performances with you as soloist.”
He put a hand on your shoulder, staring into your eyes with sickening earnest. “Go back to wherever you came from. You’re not going to make it.”
You stared. Jiwoo gripped you hand beside you, but you barely noticed. An inferno of thoughts, anger and curses, flamed in your head, but your words came out icy cold.
“I don’t care what you think, Mister Chongsu. I don’t care what your theory books say. I don’t care what tradition dictates. I don’t even care about Frank Rebrevae’s opinion of me.” You smiled a smirk to match Minjee’s. Maybe there’s something to learn from her. "Do you know why, sir?
“I wouldn’t let my own students talk to me like this, Miss (Surname).” He said, as if in warning.
You ignored it. “You haven’t seen me dance.” Suddenly you were pulled back to your first day, sitting in the dorm for the first time, talking to Jiwoo and Seohyun and Minee. You had said those same words then and you said them now with even more conviction. You couldn’t always put your trust in your friends, or your class, or your teachers, or even your own feelings…
…but you could put your trust in your ballet. Always.
You stood up taller, lifting your chin high. The wind toiled with your hair. Rain dotted your skin. “A great dancer told me that a person had no right to judge another dancer until he knew what they were capable of.”
Jimin, his words lifted you higher, until you knew that you were right. You knew that you were being just. “Until you see me dance, Mister Chongsu, you have absolutely no right to judge me.”
He was silent for a moment, staring down at you. “And when will that be?” He said slowly. “I have it under very good authority that you were booted out of the review we’re watching tonight.”
“And on whose authority would that be?”
He lifted his eyebrows. “Shinn Taeil.”
Many things fell into place at that moment. Just like yesterday, the image came into your head of Taeyeon walking into your rehearsal with Madame Choi. Of Madame Choi explaining to her that Doctor Hill had given you a 'silly’ rest period, and that you had a great solo for the review. So Taeyeon was the one who told Master Jinho?
You mentally kicked yourself. Of course it had been Taeyeon! Who else knew who would do something like that? If you had been thinking better last night you would have known that straight away.
But she’d also told Taeil and Taeil was now telling Frank Rebrevae and all the important people in the ballet world how bad you were.
“Reputation is everything.”
Jiwoo was right; everything was a balance, and now the effects of not doing it outweighed the consequences of doing it. You couldn’t let Taeil and Taeyeon win. You couldn’t let your class down. You couldn’t give up your dance. It was time to stop allowing other influences push you around. It was your dance.
You looked back to Mister Chongsu.
“Your informant has it wrong. I will be dancing tonight.”
Yixing may not be part of this comeback’s promotions but SM better give him a solo song, put him in the center in every single choreo, have a group of ten people perform some kind of ritual to worship him every time he enters a room and name someone’s first born child King Zhang Yixing for the next comeback
hey di!! can i ask what ur new url means/is in reference to?
this is late bc i literally had to cut and edit material to expand on this, but it’s all good. we’re all good. i’m ready now, bluebonnet, let me take y’all on a journey.
“Before the show we have a lot of rituals we don’t realize,” Harry said. “We all do the same thing each time. Right before we go on stage we have a little huddle, make each other laugh. We do the ‘hands in’ where we all put our hands in the middle and do one, two, three – push!”
in short, we push is ot5.
in long, we push is 5 hands in, is fingers against fingers and palms against palms and hearts laid gently on top of one another in a circle that says to the rest of the world, this is ours, this is our love just for us, this is us
we push was already set in stone in 2013, early in the TMH era, so it stands to reason, it is something that has maybe existed as long as the band/ot5/my heart has