Friday, November 18, 2011

Prima Dreaming

     I am literally overwhelmed right now with the beauty of the classic prima ballerinas. It's Friday night and I have found myself glued to my computer screen on a website with hundreds of classic ballerina photos. These pictures make me want to jump off the couch, pointe my toes, and leap in the snow pouring down outside. These are amazing women, full of power and grace. As I look at these pictures and study their faces, I can literally feel their emotion. I like to put myself in their shoes for a minute and imagine bowing for thousands of people cheering and yelling "Bravo!" for me as I stand on the greatest stages in the most beautiful theaters in the world. I am wearing a gorgeous romantic tutu and holding my partner's hand, smiling for the whole world to see. People are throwing red rose bouquets on the stage in front of me and I am overcome with joy. I may even shed a tear on that stage. What could it have been like to be these women? Rehearsal every day, glamorous costumes, and ballets choreographed just for me. Dancing with the greats, classical training, my teachers screaming "feel the music! straighten that knee!" (in Russian or something depending on which prima I was). And I'm sweating in rehearsal and thinking about just quitting ballet for good, but then it's opening night and I'm at the curtain call with people screaming my name and it's all so worth it. This must have been how they felt. Well, it's how I like to imagine they felt. It reminds me of this quote from my all time favorite prima, Sylvie Guillem. This is taken from an interview: But does she ever think of stopping? "Mais, oui," she says, looking astonished. "All the time, and for many, many years. And sometimes you think, why do I do all of this? Because you feel a little bit lost, a bit tired. But then you wake up a bit more and you go and you are excited by what you do." She pauses to consider how to describe what drives her on. "It’s because when finally you achieve something, then you are alive and you did something that only you can do. And if you don’t do it, if you don’t push yourself to do it, and look for the best way to do it, then you don’t wake up". I love that quote. I love her with all my heart. What a spunky woman. I have to think that all the women in these picture had a bit of spunk in them. If I could pick any alternate life, I would have been one of Balanchine's favorites and danced with Baryshnikov for ABT and NYCB. And of course I would guested all around the world. In other words I guess I would have been Gelsey Kirkland. I love ballet because it puts me somewhere else. It's a magical world. It's not that I'm trying to escape this world or my life, but it was always nice to just get caught up in the music and feel nothing but the elation of dancing on stage. Lipstick, hairspray, headpieces, pointe shoes, pink tights, tutus, long legs, and perfect pirouettes. That's what I would wish for.

     But that's not my life. And I'm thankful for what my life really is. I'm thankful that I had the chance to live a much smaller version of this ballerina mania in my own small little company back in Marietta. We had small performances and got yelled at quite a lot. But we also felt the absolute joy of being on stage and bowing at the curtain call for that smallish theater. Our parents and a few friends. Those were good times. Well that's my escape for the night. I just wanted to tribute to these wonderful women in these pictures. They are absolutely gorgeous and they deserve a thank you.
(more pictures of these lovelies on my pinterest)


  1. sigh.... Amanda this has seriously been the highlight of my day!!! I love this entry of yours, how true and well put! You are so beautiful and a GORGEOUS dancer! Thanks so much for this, i love it!!!


  2. You brought me so much joy while you were dancing. I hope dance will always bring you joy, in one way or another, your whole life. This is Mom, btw.

  3. You should come take ballet classes with me early Saturday mornings....! It's pretty much free and super low stress and you would love it!