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Ballet Hangs On

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“Ballet’s relationship to time— the fact that the repertory, unanchored by text, is always vanishing, just as the dance image on the stage is always vanishing—forms a large part of the vividness and poignance of the art. We are always losing it, like life, and therefore we re-create it, mythologize it, in our minds. Nijinsky’s life, his rapid self-extinction and the disappearance of his ballets—is like a parable of that truth. If dance is disappearance, he is the ultimate disappearing act.”

–Joan Acocella from her essay “”After the Ball Was Over”  Δfirst printed in The New Yorker, 1992.


It’s not the nineteen-thirties, friends.
It’s not the forties, fifties, sixties, seventies, eighties, or nineties. It’s not even the aughts.
That’s all gone, but tweed still works.

The giant, rambling state asylums are closed, though the red brick buildings still lurk around with broken windows. That whole system kind of failed.

Doctors continue to help. Now they hand out paper gowns instead of cloth, giant napkins shaped like a loose jacket. These gowns open to the back, but you can wear them however you like.

Ballet hangs on. According to the experts, it has something to do with sex.

Cat burglars don’t wear black stockings and berets. Not anymore. But safes are safe, and crowbars still work.

One more thing, an aside: If you think she’s going to walk around in public wearing all her diamonds and pearls, and her fur coat and her Jimmy Choo stillettos, then you are dumber than you look. She only wears those things inside the compound. Out in public, for example, in the halls of Grand Central Station, she looks like a bum, a bum like all the others, a girl bum. What do they call that?

Beggars still work, if you call that working.

 

 

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