To write—to dance, to make music—is to become incomparably affluent inside and to have a sense of possibility, of freedom, of real power that nothing else can rival.
The purpose of dance, of any art, is to offer the world what it does not have enough of otherwise; so compromise, capitulating to the world, makes no sense at all.
In terms of creative work, I think we can offer the most by sitting—or dancing—away from the moment.
In ballet circles, a tantalizing question has generated much excitement and speculation: Is Black Swan the new Turning Point, the 1977 film that helped to popularize ballet and ushered in the high summer of “the dance boom” when Americans seemed to fall in love with dance? Could Black Swan ignite a second great love affair between Americans and classical ballet in the 21st century?
At the end of every year, people everywhere are compelled by nostalgia and self-importance to register and announce their top however-many items of interest or note in whatever genre or form one could imagine their best-of lists. Few people, however, even those who write for well-moneyed, high-culture publications, ever seem to take Santa’s care with checking their lists twice. Others, indubitably, project their preferences for a certain naughtiness over anything one might consider nice, or good.
Taio Cruz’s rousing hit “Dynamite” played on loudspeakers as I joined the queue last week outside the cavernous Reliant Arena in Houston. Families, young professionals, and hordes of teenage girls swayed to the rhythm as lines grew longer and longer, far past the parking lot port-o-potties. Ushers hastily scanned so many electronic tickets that together their hand-held devices made one long, sustained electronic beep.
I rushed the souvenir stand with everyone else, and then hit the men’s room to change into my new $35 all-cotton T-shirt. Resisting the $25 color program booklet as well as the frozen tropical drinks at the Maui Wowie Tiki-stand, I settled for an $8 hot-dog-and-cola combo before making my way to a seat slightly above stage left. “Perfect viewing,” I thought as I enjoyed the promotional videos. This wasn’t a high-profile rock concert, however, it was a dance performance. I made calculations in my head: parking, food, souvenir, and the ticket totaled $119, an amount I hadn’t paid for a dance event since I saw The Royal Ballet years ago at London’s posh Covent Garden.
With all the women in professional companies, why do more women not find themselves in the top positions of leadership of our nation’s larger companies? Women have founded many of the country’s top regional ballet companies, so what keeps them from the role of artistic director? Has progress been so slow in our country since women’s suffrage 90 years ago? I was stunned to find out that currently in the U.S. only four women direct ballet companies with budgets of more than $2.5 million.