One application for the Madame coming up! Sorry for making you wait, NileGoddess! This week was just crazy. I still have an exam tomorrow, but I'll be ready to play after that!
And err, I know the picture doesn't look 42. I'm still looking for a better picture. Or we could say that's how she looked 5 years ago?Name:
Katerina "Kate" MihailovAge:
Instructor and Head Choreographer of the White Lilies dance companyBiography:
Katerina has devoted her entire life to dancing since the age of 5. Her father, Mihail, had brought her to see a production of Swan Lake. The usually hyperactive girl had sat mesmerized by the graceful dancers on stage, much to her father's surprise. When she asked him later to sign her up for dance lessons, he readily agreed. Anything for his little princess.
It turned out that Katerina had a natural talent for dance, despite starting at a later age than most girls. At 12, she was the prima ballerina of the youth wing of the dance company, consisting of girls from ages 3 to 17. From then till age 15, she starred in many famous ballets, including The Nutcracker, (Prokofiev's) Romeo and Juliet, (Stravinsky's) The Firebird and The Rite of Spring, and most of all, Swan Lake, the ballet which had brought her to dance.
Her brilliant young career ended at age 17, however, when she was betrothed to an older man, a business partner of her father. Katerina had protested, but Mihail had owed a great debt to the man, Igor, and he could do little to refuse him. Besides, Mihail reasoned, Igor was a rich and powerful man. As his bride, Katerina would have all the luxuries she wanted in life. Igor promised that she would still be allowed to dance, if she so wished. Her heart at ease, Katerina was married at age 18.
For the first few years, Igor was kind to Katerina, and kept his promise. Katerina auditioned for the Moscow Ballet Company, the most prestigious ballet troupe in all of Russia, and managed to continue dancing for a bit. It was then that she learnt choreography from a great ballet mistress. Katerina was happy while she was allowed to dance.
However, as the years passed, she began to take Igor's kindness for granted. One day, when Katerina was 26, when Igor insisted that she accompany him on a business trip to Petrovsk, another city in Russia, Katerina defied him, saying that she had an important dance performance on that day. In anger, Igor locked her in her room, with orders to his household that no one was to let her out or give her any food or drink for that day. He then wrote and delivered a letter of resignation to the dance company on behalf of Katerina.
At the end of 24 hours, Katerina, weak from crying and lack of food, was defeated. She submitted to her husband's will and went to Petrovsk with him. But he never treated her the same way again. Igor was often rough with her and humiliated her in public by shouting at her, even slapping her. No matter how Katerina tried to appease him, his demands just grew greater. Finally, tired of her treatment, no better than a dog's, Katerina demanded a divorce. Igor merely laughed and locked her in her bedroom once more. Katerina tried appealing to her father, but Mihail could do nothing for his princess. Realising that no one in Russia could help her, she made her own plans to flee in the middle of the night. Climbing down from her bedroom window with nary but a few changes of clothes, some bread and water, and the money she had stolen from her husband's coat pocket, Katerina fled by boat to America, the land of opportunities.
Katerina started a new life in America as a dance instructor. Her teaching methods were different from the usual in America, but because she produced disciplined young ballerinas, her classes filled up very quickly. Katerina's english also improved in leaps and bounds, and she was soon fluent in the language. No one would have guessed that she had only been in America for a year! In five years, Katerina, or "Madame Kate", as her students called her, earned enough money to start her own dance company, the White Lilies Dance company. She found and hired a few other instructors, some her own former students, all trained in her method of instruction. The school grew in magnitude, with performances staged twice a year. By 42, Katerina was a satisfied and accomplished woman. Her old life in Russia had burnt away, and the memories of it had just about faded...
EDIT: I know I never said Igor was a mafia boss. My impression is that Katerina never knew exactly that her husband was mafia, just that he did a lot of business in a shady way. And when I say Igor was Katerina's father's business partner, I mean something to the tune of, Katerina's father's company was doing badly, and he had to take a huge loan from the mafia to save the company. Igor demanded for Katerina's hand in marriage, in exchange for a few more years to repay the debts. Thought I'd write it here, because I know it isn't very clear. Katerina herself doesn't really know the nature of her father's business relationship with Igor.