t h e e v e n i n g h o u r t h a t s t r i v e s h o m e w a r dFULL NAME:
ANDREI ISAAK RHEESE
---------------------------------------This is KATJA, proud owner of SARA ALDRIDGE, EDWARD MADISON-VALENTINE, AIDAN HAYLE, WILHELM HOLTER, MACKINSEY BORRAIL,
and I came across this corner of the interweb at MELINDA’S BACK POCKET,
where I've been searching for NINETEEN years.
s i g h s s h o r t a n d i n f r e q u e n t w e r e e x h a l e d a n d e a c h
MAN FIXED HIS EYES BEFORE HIS FEET
Andrei Isaak RheeseNICKNAME(S):
Andy, by someAGE:
Twenty-sevenDATE OF BIRTH:
July 31SEXUAL ORIENTATION:
TownieELITE OR SCHOLARSHIP?:
Ballet instructorFINANCIAL STATUS:
Rather wealthy, though he lives as though he is barely middle classCANON OR ORIGINAL?:
s o n o f m a n y o u c a n n o t s a y o r g u e ss f o r y o u k n o w EYES:
ONLY A HEAP OF BROKEN IMAGES
Fairly tall and thin, but well-toned from many years of balletANYTHING ELSE?:
Scars across his right kneePB:
i d o n o t k n o w w h e t h e r a m a n o r a w o m a n - b u t w h o i sGENERAL PERSONALITY:
THAT ON THE OTHER SIDE OF YOU
It has been said that no human being has the ability to reach perfection. Though many have tried, this has remained an unattainable goal, one that remains just beyond the grasp of man, forever to shine in the heavens and whisper gleefully, “Can’t catch me!”
Has this stopped man from trying? No. Likewise, it did not stop Andrei Rheese from stretching his own proverbial wings, flap-flapping toward the heavens, and reaching out with the grace expected of him in hopes that he might truly defy gravity. For a time, he did just that, dancing upon air as only few before him had been able to do. Even at an early age, he showed an inclination for the sport of ballet, a natural grace that many insisted must have come from his mother. But, as it is said, all good things must come to an end. No man can defy gravity forever; after a time, everyone falls.
Though certainly not the professional that he once was, Andrei is no less a dancer now than he was at the peak of his career. He still dances, to the best of his ability, morphing behind closed doors into what once was, crossing the boundaries of the past, transposing himself into the most loved of his pieces. He does not always end with such a grand finish, but he does finish nevertheless. His knee has become, in his view, the bane of his existence, giving out at the most inopportune of times and causing pain when least expected or welcomed. In the end, however, it was not his injury that undid him, but his pride. This, indeed, led him to ignore what was initially only a small problem but quickly escalated to something much greater, something that eventually ruined his career.
Andrei carries this pride with him today, along with the foolish belief that he will heal and regain his position as a dancer, though he knows, in honesty, that his position has long since been given away. Prideful, or hopeful, he remains in a state of irrationality, certain that he can become something more than a man after all. He cannot bear the idea of being a has-been, something less than the greatness that he tasted so briefly. “Aren’t you…”
Those words remain the most loved and hated in Andrei’s world, for he loves the recognition but hates the realisation that comes along with it. He is the young dancer, the one who surpassed even his own mother’s estimation of his greatness. In the same moment, he is a man, fallen from grace, left too broken to be of worth. He never did tire of the fame, however short lived it may have been. But the notice of his new position—and with it, the fading of the old—is a thing to be dreaded. After all, it is hardly customary for the public to take notice of a mere dance instructor, much less a significantly damaged one.
Insecurities do not weigh him down as one might expect. He remains calm, focused, and disciplined; his eyes are set on the lofty, likely unachievable goal of regaining his former strength. Intensity drives each carefully weighted action, causing him to push harder, stretch further, and call out loud commands to his class as though, in pushing them harder, he might somehow push himself from obscurity to a position of importance once more. He is, undoubtedly, not a teacher for the weak-spirited. An inside voice, for Andrei, does not exist within the studio during class time. However he may intend his words, they come out loud and sharp. Demanding. If he means to give weight to his words, he may very well whisper, gently adjust a position of a certain student while speaking softly, or even lower his voice in concern for a struggling pupil. However, such moments do not last long and will often end with a clap of his hands and a continuation in louder decibels. If asked, he would insist that he is not truly shouting, simply raising his voice to a degree than ensures that each and every one of his students hear him clearly. He does not recognise his own intensity, at the least not as others may see it. Angry, some might say of him, even cruel and uncaring, but nothing could be further from the truth. However things may appear, Andrei does enjoy teaching. He cares for his students, which is the main justification for his harshness as a teacher. If no one pushes them, surely they will not learn to push themselves. At this level of learning, he insists, students cannot afford to be lax in their learning. Hours upon hours must be spent refining one’s technique, pushing oneself beyond seemingly unmovable limitations. There is no goal too high for his pupils, as far as he is concerned, and it is his job to help them to achieve it. It was by such reason that he was taught, in his younger years, so he passes it on to his students with love.
Love. Indeed, it is such an odd word, one that might cause a number of his pupils to wrinkle their noses and ask, “Love? Andrei?” Even so, there is a measure of truth to the idea that Andrei loves, or at least deeply cares for, his students. He would not urge them on so if this were not the case. Inside the classroom, there can be no doubt about his harsh, demanding nature. But, outside of those four walls, a rather different side shines through. For those who have seen this side, the concepts of love and caring might not appear to be so far-fetched. For, when class is not in session, Andrei is actually a quite approachable person, with easy smiles and a desire to understand. He may not naturally be the most understanding of people, but he makes up for this in effort. In one-on-one interactions with his students, he will listen carefully and do whatever he can to help with any situation, whether involving ballet or not. Perhaps he is not the most favoured of instructors, but it is unlikely that he is hated either, at least by most.
And in interactions with others, one might wonder... Surely he is not so harsh with strangers, with those whose lives are not fully (or at least mostly) invested in the world of ballet. Indeed, this would be a true statement, for Andrei would have absolutely no reason to demand that the lady at the market run his groceries again, as one might repeatedly run a drill, or to ask a man passing on the street why on earth he was slouching so. On must then take into consideration that, outside of his well-ordered world, Andrei does not have many connections at all. Up until his recent move to Brighton, he lived, breathed, ate, and slept ballet and nothing else. Every relationship was either professional or short-lived, for he had no time for anything else. Even now, he spends nearly every waking moment at the studio, either teaching or practising. He struggles with the concept of freedom—not that he feels at all trapped in his lifestyle—and is only just learning to relate to people who do not exist in his same circle of intense focus and discipline. It has been so long since his school years… nearly ten years, and he occasionally struggles with remembering that he should not tell the lady on the bus how unhealthy her sandwich choice is, or point out to the man on his phone that his stress levels need to be addressed before he can truly be productive. Criticism, it turns out, is best reserved for the classroom, which is more than enough motivation for Andrei to not venture beyond this neatly contained box.
However, curiosity is a strong driving force, and one that he has not had the luxury of exploring much in his lifetime. He is curious about others, about how they live and eat and breathe and think if dance is not their focus. Can man live without discipline? Are children truly permitted to play in the streets and eat candies and ice pops without express permission? What are the rules of football, and how do little boys learn them so effortlessly? Even the simplest of things fascinates him from behind the tinted glasses through which he views life. He may feel disgust, in some moments, at the lackadaisical movements of everyday life, but still he remains curious and ready to explore. So, he does, while keeping his eyes always on the prize. There is no harm observation, so long his focus remains on what is truly important.STRENGTHS:
- Making an effort to understand others
- Overcoming pain
- Keeping good control of himself
- Intensely focused, in life and in task
- Often does not know when to stop (physically)
- Expects too much of himself
- Impatient, at times
- Demanding of his students
- Intolerant of his pet peeves (especially slackers)
- Has yet to fully accept his injury, or forgive himself for it
- Pushing himself to his limits
- Reading (though he rarely has time)
- Watching football (he makes time)
- Give-and-take relationships
- One-on-one conversations
- People watching
- Getting to know others
- When his students come to him for support or extra help
- Imperfections in character, when they are not debilitating
- Philosophical thinking
- Inappropriate timing
- Inappropriate actions
- Any profanities in his classroom
- People who make a joke of ballet
- Being called gay
- Greasy foods
- Having to send students from his class (but he will)
- Watching recordings of his old performances
- Being recognised as a former dancer
- Rises early each morning to stretch and clear his mind; he will not speak during this time unless it is an absolute emergency. Anyone who speaks to him will be ignored. He finds this to be a particularly valuable and important part of his day and will not proceed with his daily activities unless he has done this, even if it makes him late.
- Follows a strict daily regimen and diet, and will only break it in social situations. (i.e. He does not consume any caffeine, but will go for coffee with a friend, on occasion.)
- Firmly believes that socks have specific “feet” and will closely inspect each pair before putting them on.
w h a t a r e t h e r o o t s t h a t c l u t c h w h a t b r a n c h e sPARENTS:
GROW OUT OF THIS STONY RUBBISH
Derren Rheese – father, 54SIBLINGS:
Marya Rheese – mother, 59
---OTHER SIGNIFICANT FAMILY:
---PLACE OF BIRTH:
Manchester, EnglandGENERAL HISTORY:
Andrei Isaak Rheese was born the only child to a couple that could hardly have been considered affluent but was not hard-pressed for money either. At the time, Marya’s school of ballet was finally gaining notoriety, bringing reward for the years of hard work that the Russian-born woman had put in since moving to England years before. Her husband, the quiet, calm soul to her intense, high-strung one, continued to bring balance as young, inquisitive Andrei was born and thrust into a world that quickly became everything that he knew and desired.
Though many children develop their own dreams in the early years of childhood, which may then change as time goes on, Andrei’s dream was chosen for him before he was old enough to consider what a dream was, much less whether he would like to have one. This dream did not change—it was given no opportunity to—and quickly became the driving force in the young boy’s life. In his earliest years, he toddled across the wood floors of his mother’s studio, studying his reflection in the tall mirrors, stretching for the bars that remained out of reach, and, in the process, streaking grubby handprints across the carefully polished glass. At three, he began his first lessons in ballet, quickly becoming, under the watchful eye of his mother, the enthusiastic leader in his class of giggling counterparts. He danced, twirled, and jumped with the awkwardness of any spirited three year old, but loved every minute of his instruction, as he was expected to. Perhaps it was the expectations of his parents—much more so, his mother—that sparked this enthusiasm in him, or perhaps he had taken after his mother after all, as many came to say in the following years. For Marya, things were progressing precisely as they should, and she was pleased. She had always dreamed for her first born to become a dancer, and the dream was slowly coming to fruition before her eyes. It made no difference that Andrei was a boy. He was her child, and he would be a ballet dancer. She had no patience to wait for a daughter, nor the desire for another pregnancy. One was enough. One was all that was needed to continue on in a life of dancing. One was all that was needed to achieve a dream.
Even in those early years, Andrei’s priorities were already arranged in a very particular fashion. Though hardly a seasoned dancer at such an early age, he was vicariously familiar with the strict regimens required of experienced dancers. As a young boy, he could often dream of nothing but this. Granted, he did experience moments of jealousy, particularly as he grew older, when boys his age were permitted to play rough-and-tumble games or join the school football team and he was not. The dream he had been given was not always what he desired most, for he was a typical boy in most every sense. Even so, his mother’s fits of temper when he asked, rather innocently, “Can’t I play football instead?”
quickly removed any doubt from his mind. He was meant to be a ballet dancer. It did not take long at all for him to stop asking if there were any other options.
In school, he was an inquisitive, outspoken boy, the sort that was well-liked by both peers and teachers but certainly not the most popular of students on either end of the spectrum. He attended a private school near his home, which was made possible by the increase of income his parents were receiving from the ballet school. He made good marks, but was not—to the quiet disappointment of his father—always the first in his class. He made friends and was, in personality, a leader, but remained typically outside of the higher ranks of popularity. He was perfectly content remaining in these so-called lower ranks, as he gradually had less and less time to devote to friends outside of school. When he was not in class or sleeping, he was at the studio, practising or attending ballet classes. His life gradually became more and more enveloped in this world, this dream, until everything else became secondary and dance was his primary focus.
His father would have much preferred for Andrei’s focus to remain on his studies. “He will get a better job someday,”
the boy heard Derren utter on more than one occasion when both thought that he was asleep in his bed. Neither of his parents had come from wealthy families; both knew what it meant to work for a meagre income. However, both also had very opposed views on how Andrei might earn his income in the future, and neither thought to ask the boy himself. He was far too young to make his own decisions, after all. Both plans required a certain amount of hard work and dedication, but Marya insisted that ballet would put him on the fast-track to success. “See how he is a natural, Derren!”
she insisted in loud whispers. “He is headed for greatness.”
The strong-willed woman won in the end, as Andrei knew what was expected of him and began to push harder than ever. If success was important to his parents, then success he would achieve. He was determined to make them proud.
As the years passed and he advanced into the later years of his schooling, his focus did not change except to place even less emphasis on what his friends and teachers considered to be a priority and much more emphasis on his training. His mother encouraged this and, as his friends began to come into their own, testing the waters of romantic relationships and after-school partying, Andrei too began to learn who he was. In a time of great introspection, though he was now focusing the majority of his time and energy on ballet, he began to wonder who he was on his own, regardless of the expectations that had been placed on him. Did he truly wish do dance, or was this simply the task that he had been given? He spent months mulling over the question, wondering what he was meant to do. When the verdict came back, he questioned why it was that he had wondered these things at all. He was not only skilled at ballet, but he loved it more than anything. When he surveyed his options, it became clear that he did not have many, for ballet was, undoubtedly, what he was made to do. If he had not been so prideful, even in these early years, he would have admitted that he could find nothing, outside of ballet, that he was truly good at.
At seventeen, he finished his Sixth Form schooling and immediately threw himself into preparing for his showcase, which was scheduled for the end of the same month. On the night of the performance, he was both nervous and excited, an effective mixture that had given him the adrenaline to perform his best for the recruiters sitting among the many other spectators in the stands. Along with one other student, Andrei was recruited based off of that performance. The next month, he began his work as a professional ballet dancer with the Birmingham Royal Ballet.
When he looks back now, those years were certainly the best of his life, though working as a professional was more strenuous than anything Andrei could have imagined prior to this. The work that he had done as a boy to prepare for these moments seemed horribly insignificant now compared to the work that was still being done to perfect his technique and gain him entrance into the higher positions within his company. He was no stranger, after nearly fifteen years of ballet, to muscle cramps and the stress that certain exercises placed in his joints. As it was repeated to him often from his directors and co dancers, “The pain passes, but the beauty remains.”
So, he strove onward, pushing himself to new limits, never accepting anything as enough but always aiming to outdo himself and others. Satisfaction, as it turned out, was all in the mind, and it became a commodity that he refused to allow himself. Obsessive, some may say, but he simply took the measures necessary to ensure his success, as he had been taught. And it paid off, for a time.
At twenty-six, after over eight years with the BRB and a number of advancements (all finally leading to him becoming a Principal in the company), he began to feel a different sort of stress on his body. The first time that his knee gave out, he attributed it to exhaustion, joking lightly with his colleagues that he had forgotten to eat a good breakfast that morning and would be right as rain the next day. He continued to practise nevertheless, finally taking time to look at the offending limb just before falling asleep. What met his eyes was the sight of his right kneecap, grossly swollen and slightly bruised from his earlier fall. He went to sleep that night with an ice pack over his elevated knee and hoped for the best.
Later that week, as the pain persisted, he found a moment to have his knee checked by a physician. On the surface, it seemed to be a mild sprain, and he was ordered to take some time off to rest his knee, if only for a few days. However, time was not a commodity that Andrei had much of, nor one that he cared to ask for. He continued to practise regularly without telling anyone of his troubles. As far as he was concerned, he had no other option, and a mild sprain was certainly manageable. He was afraid of what admitting his weakness might mean for his career—and more pressing, for the group’s upcoming performance of Giselle
—so, he continued on without a word. For months, his daily cycle continued in its typical fashion, allowing for true rest only in the evenings and his occasional day off. He continually reminded himself that he was far too busy to allow for any added breaks. So, he continued his routine without catering to his knee, ignoring the pain that plagued him more and more frequently over the passing months. At night, he would ice the limb and go to sleep, telling himself that he would take time off for the next performance, until one turned to two and three and four…
So, the cycle continued.
It was the following spring, during the company’s production of La Bayadère
, before any further symptoms appeared. The first two nights of the performance went without hitch. Crowd and performers alike were pleased—though the former much more than the latter—and each show was sold out. On the third night, however, things deviated from plan just a bit. On the landing from a fairly simple grand jeté, Andrei’s knee betrayed him once more, only with much more pain this time around. He collapsed on the stage in the middle of the scene, unable to move his leg, and had to be carried from the stage as the other dancers continued, doing what they could to cover for him. It would be discovered later, as the one of the company doctors inspected his leg, that Andrei had suffered a dislocated patellar. The relocation was followed up by x-rays that showed the extent of the damage to his knee. Aside from the dislocation itself, the ligaments in Andrei’s knee were significantly damaged, and the bones of his leg had suffered small, hairline fractures. It became clear, after his hesitant admission of reoccurring symptoms over the last nine months or so, that he had suffered a number of more minor subluxations before this final dislocation. He was put on ordered bed rest, his knee placed in a brace, to see if the limb might heal on its own.
Andrei spent the next four weeks, quite grudgingly, at home with his parents. Of them all, his mother was certainly the most distressed by his current situation, and he turned to ignoring her altogether. Even his father, who had been the voice of reason to bring the two together in earlier years, could get very little response from Andrei, who quickly withdrew into a state of apathy, not caring about anything but getting back into performances. He wondered, during nights that he slept little and thought far too much, if his position would be permanently given away to his temporary replacement. Would his knee be healed satisfactorily by the time he was set to go back? As it turned out, it was not, and the doctors took to surveying each possible method for the family of three. Due to the significant damage from Andrei’s ignorance of the initial problem, surgery was presented as the best option. So, not five weeks after his initial fall on stage, Andrei found himself in a hospital bed, breathing in anaesthesia as he counted backwards, living out his worst nightmare.
From the moment that he could walk again—albeit with crutches—Andrei began to half-heartedly teach at Marya’s school. He had been given little option, and was eager to accept nonetheless, for he had long ago tired of laying in bed, feeling sorry for himself. As time passed, it became clear that he would not be heading back to his exact position in the company, if they accepted him back at all. He was damaged goods now, hardly worth the money that he was once paid. He did not allow himself such thoughts, however, nor did how mother, and he continued on teaching and pressing on at an agonisingly slow rate in his therapy. The only thing that gave him the drive to continue was his dream of being back on stage.
Six months passed, and his condition improved steadily over those months. However, it became immediately clear that he would not be able to simply jump straight into his former lifestyle as though he had never left it. His leg was stiff, his spirits weak, and he knew that he could not bear to struggle through the first steps of regaining his passion under the too-watchful gaze of his mother. He began to search for job openings in surrounding areas, but increasingly felt a desire to go farther than a mere hour or less away. So, after extensive searching and a recommendation of a friend in the BRB, Andrei found an opening as a ballet instructor in the town of Brighton, somewhere he had certainly never been before. Three weeks later, he was entirely moved in to his new flat, set up as an instructor, and ready to begin the process of regaining his strength as a dancer. His employers welcomed him to make use of their studio space outside of his class time, so long as he not disrupt any other dancers. He, of course, agreed, then put forth his own request that no one speak of his accident. He may have been a broken man, but he was certainly capable of pretending otherwise. In any case, he had no intention of remaining in Brighton for any longer than necessary.
Now, only months after his initial move, Andrei remains in this new place, slowly exploring a measure of freedom that he previously never knew. He tells himself that he will leave as soon as he is able, just as soon as his leg is fully capable of handling his former level of activity. The mere whisper of a dream is what drives him onward, though every day he becomes ever so slightly more addicted to freedom.
a t t h e v i o l e t h o u r w h e n t h e e y e s a n d b a c kMEMBER TITLE:
TURN UPWARD FROM THE DESK
fall from graceANYTHING ELSE:
You’re pretty. <3 All of you.SAMPLE POST:
Sara stole it… the little thief!