Zizi always wanted to be like her sister, Nadie.

She wanted to have long, golden hair, a wide, charming smile, graceful movements and answers always ready for any questions.

Instead, Zizi was like her sister’s reflection in a cracked mirror.

She had a head of dark, messy curls and a funny smile, which wrinkled her nose and eyes. She was always waving her hands lively in every direction and was often too shy to speak up.

“I am the ugly duckling” Zizi used to think, surrounded by her books, which she spent her lonely hours with. Nadie didn’t have time to play with her and, besides, she was too old for Zizi’s imaginary games but Zizi admired her anyway. Every time she got to sneak into Nadie’s ‘mature’ world, she instantly desired to do the same things – listen to the same music, watch the same movies, wear the same clothes… But as soon as she entered this world, the doors were forcibly closed before her nose.

Zizi didn’t know then that every ugly duckling will someday transform in a unique swan.

But there was one thing Zizi wanted to do more than anything, that even by a single thought about it, her little feet started to stomp quickly and her eyes were glowing from excitement.

She wanted to dance. She wanted to be a ballerina – like Nadie, of course.

Like her sister, she wanted to be admired while swinging on the stage, where sequins of her costume would be flickering with the light of a million lights. Her ballet shoes would swish softly on wooden panels surrounded by melody. She would tell a different story with every movement.

Zizi watched all of Nadie’s shows, always with eyes wide open and a heart full of hope that one day she will stand by her side.

And that day came quicker than Zizi would ever think. On the beginning of her first year at school, her parents ask her if she would like to join the same dance troupe Nadie attended. Zizi didn’t say anything but she jumped with joy. Here was the chance to finally appear like her sister, to be a part of her world she so wanted to fit in!

Zizi didn’t yet know that she will create the world of her own.

Her mum gifted her the very first ballerina essentials: she got her first satin ballerina shoes, a pink bolero altogether with a pink tutu and pink leggins. Once Zizi tried her new dancer outfit, she didn’t want to take it off. Feeling like fish in the sea, she was ready to conquer the parquet.

But she also felt the pressure.

What if she won’t be as good as her sister? What if she will stumble and fall on her knees and destroy the pink leggins her mum gave her? What if somebody will laugh? During her first classes, trembling from excitement, but also from worries that she tried to silence in her curly head, Zizi stuck to the back row; she didn’t want to be exposed if she will make a mistake.

She didn’t yet know that the more mistakes she will do, the more she will learn.

But as soon as the music started, and she learnt new movements and sequences, Zizi forgot what it means to be scared or shy.

She just danced.

The melody wrapped her arms and legs, giving every gesture a different meaning and allowing Zizi to carry her own story. It didn’t matter if somebody was looking at her, if her moves weren’t technically perfect or if she looked funny with her eyes half-closed while she was carried away. She did every step with commitment and passion and soon a very important thought appeared in her mind.

She will never be like Nadie… but she can be herself, somewhere between ugly duckling and beautiful swan. She can be Zizi.

Her special gift of telling a story using not words but arabesques and plies was soon spotted and Zizi was allowed to jump into the higher group – the one her sister was in.

From now on, together, Zizi and Nadie stood next to each other on a parquet, sharing the same world. Together, but not the same, they were streaming their passion through their fingertips towards the stage lights and audience, surrounded by the gentle sound of the swishing points.

Zizi understood that she never really wanted to be like her sister. She just wanted to be with her sister.

The dance became a fairy tale they shared between them and only them.