This is Paige starting her dream ballet

The village is sleepy in the morning sun. Misty mountains lie behind trees that have turned the golds and oranges of autumn.

Giselle skips out of her cottage. She can’t see anyone. She must have imagined the knock on her door. No matter. It’s a new day, she’s young, in love, and can’t help but dance.

...can't help but dance by Ailene. Photograph (In progress)
…can't help but dance by Ailene. Photograph (In progress)

Behind the scenes

Can you imagine Giselle waking with the dawn birds? Flinging open the casement windows in her bedroom, she greets the sun. She flies through her morning routine, excited for the day ahead, stopping only to put on her ballet shoes. She loves to dance.

Or are you imaging backstage before the performance has started? The ballerina dancing Giselle is stretched and warmed up. Now, she’s sitting backstage. She can hear the orchestra warming up, and the faint, expectant buzz of the audience. Her hair and makeup is done, her peasant costume is on, and she’s lacing up her ballet shoes. Soon, she’ll open the door from her “cottage” and skim onto the stage. She also loves to dance.

This is Paige dancing Giselle #1

Paige is my brilliant ballerina model. Her dream role is the lead in the romantic ballet, Giselle. So we’re making her dream come true, creating a whole series of artworks where she’s dancing Giselle’s story.

This piece isn’t part of the story you ever see on stage, but the idea for it got stuck in my head. And I’m hung up on this pointe shoe thing. I’m astounded at what ballerinas can do on hardened cardboard. Paige made it look so easy during our photoshoot. A small step, and suddenly she’s up on the toes of one foot, the other leg reaching out behind her. In that moment, her whole weight is balanced on a rigid box made of packed layers of hardened cardboard, with a shank of (you guessed it) hardened cardboard to provide support for the arch of the foot. Madness.

I also like to think this first piece is setting up the promise for the rest of the series. There’ll be romance, mystery and magic. And from the shoes, you know it’s got something to do with ballet! And watch for the tie-in with the final piece in series (ooooo!)

Next time…

Giselle is meeting her mysterious, handsome stranger with whom she’s fallen in love. But does he love her back? (And is he who he says he is?) You can read it here.

If you’d like to pre-order this print, email me at (I’ve picked out drool-worthy, textured art paper and some gorgeous, antique frames at my local printer and framer – so excited!)

Keep on shining bright,



  1. I’ve got behind on your story-telling-art as I’ve had a rough December – health wise and was just coming right around 25th and somewhere between that date and last day of year, a nasty gastro bug hit the system…

    I’m just getting back to feeling less blah, and about the only thing I have done is consider what I will specialise for my Honours @ TLC this year. I need to talk again with someone at TLC to make sure it will be suitable to fit the programme, I can’t see it not but I ran into problems with Maj/Min during Diploma whereby in the end my last Min was more the 1st Maj & it made many problems 🙂

    Now going to read todays link and see how much further you on the trail of Giselle etc.

    1. Happy New Year Cathy! Hope you’re feeling better. Good luck with your TLC adventures – at least you’ve discovered something you love doing, even if it’s not what you initially thought! Hope you’re enjoying Giselle’s story. 🙂

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