By Rita Bozi (Calgary, AB)

Kathy and I were senior students at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School. Short on swans for the corps de ballet, the RWB picked us to dance in their new production of Swan Lake with Evelyn Hart in the lead. From Bulgaria, came a fiery peppercorn by the name of Galina who taught us how to whip our arms up and down, elegantly but frantically, to emulate flapping wings while we ran, like squawking birds, driving the black swan Odile and the evil sorcerer von Rothbart to their deaths' into a lake.

Rehearsals were gruelling and our bony bodies felt battered. Ballerinas by day and punks by night, Kathy and I kicked off our point shoes and rolled fatties to soothe our torpid limbs as we blasted the Sex Pistols and sucked on beer.

Days away from opening, our tendons inflamed, our rhomboids thick as nautical rope, and our nerves frayed from Galina's critical eye, we didn't see anything wrong with medicating for the on-stage technical rehearsal. We wouldn't be dancing full out after all.

We toked, had a beer and set off to the theatre giggling, to don our white tutus. We were blasted. When, in the darkened theatre we heard over the loud speaker the distinctly nasal voice of artistic director Arnold Spohr saying, Rita and Kathy, what the hell are you doing? We were too incapacitated to shunt on one leg, the other in arabesque, in a straight line with the rest of the swans.

We were replaced.

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