“She traces roses, lacy patterns, stars of movements, and magic precincts … Barely is a circle closed than she leaps from it.
…She leaps and runs after phantoms! She picks a flower, and behold! It is only a smile. Oh! how she proclaims her non-existence by means of her inexhaustible lightness!”
— Paul Valery, Dance and soul.
I have always loved to dance. I studied it informally as a teenager, and when I was about 14, I realized I wanted to be a ballerina. Of course, at that time it was too late to begin studying for a discipline that requires the moulding and re-forming of the body to do what most mortals cannot do. At 14, I was already too old to begin the process that dancers begin before they are even of school age. I can understand why ballet dancers sacrifice so much to gain so little (the pay isn’t great, and one injury can ruin a whole career and future). There is something so pure about moving and pushing your body to its heights, like flying an airplane or reaching for ecstasy.
Here is a drawing I did as a teenager as an ode to my love for the ballet and the dance. It is of a young Margot Fonteyn, a legend prima ballerina who danced and was a star into her 40’s, a rare feat in a field that worships youth.