No sleep till morn, when Youth and Pleasure meet
To chase the glowing hours with flying feet."
~George Gordon, Lord Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage
It is summer, and for about 15 years that meant time for a performance. I have mentioned in past posts about my love of dance, and the fact that I took ballet lessons for many years. Not only did I perform in dance recitals, I also performed in community theater, often acting, but always dancing.
As an adult, I have tried to find ways to incorporate dance back into my life. Unfortunately, the instrument I am working with is a little "rusty" and somehow "expanded." (eh hmm.)
I was recently reading my friend, Leanne's blog post about her daughter's dance recital. It sparked such a light inside of me. I am truly thrilled when I hear of people I know attending their daughter's dance recitals. I think it is just one of those things little girls should always experience. Clearly, my hope is for my niece, Autumn, to love ballet - though I am afraid she is going to be more of a "sporty" girl.
I remember these two little boys in my dance classes - One boy was named Anthony, and for the life of me I cannot remember the other boy's name. Anthony was a GREAT tap dancer - and of course, so adorable in the recitals. To this day, I think of how progressive his mother was to encourage her sons to dance.
When I entered the "theater" phase, it was always refreshing to find straight guys who were actually amazing dancers. Let's be honest, that's the concern of most parents. They associate dancing (males) with homosexuality. Neither one have anything to do with the other. It just so happens, more men that happen to gay are comfortable participating in the arts. Why? There is no stigma for the subculture.
Baryshnikov has spearheaded many of his own artistic projects and has been associated in particular with promoting modern dance, premiering dozens of new works, including many of his own. His success as a dramatic actor on stage, cinema and television has helped him become probably the most widely recognized contemporary ballet dancer. In 1977, he received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and a Golden Globe nomination for his work as "Yuri Kopeikine" in the film The Turning Point.
Baryshnikov made his American television dancing debut in 1976, on the PBS program In Performance Live from Wolf Trap. During the Christmas season of 1977, CBS brought his highly acclaimed American Ballet Theatre production of Tchaikovsky's classic ballet The Nutcracker to television, and it has remained to this day the most popular and most often shown television production of the work, at least in the U.S. I have to admit - that very production of the Nutcracker made me fall in love with his dancing, and with the story.
That very Christmas, my mother took me to see the production of The Nutcracker at the Grand Opera House. I looked at my mother and asked if I could be the Sugar Plum Fairy. She promised when I started elementary school, I could take ballet classes.
If you have not had the opportunity to watch The Nutcracker, I have a surprise for you - the entire version of the video I am talking about:
There is one more video I would love to share with you. Just to get a feel of who I am talking about. It is not as long, just clips!
The famous multiple pirouette scene!
Opening performance in White Nights -
Finally - I found a wonderful tribute to the great dancer:
Not to mention - how beautiful he STILL is and what a decent actor he is.
So clearly I will never get the chance to dance with him, nor will I (well you never know) actually get to meet him - but I have to unofficially thank him. Without his life, his sacrifices and his shear God-given talent - so many others would not have even thought about dancing. Thank you Mr. Baryshnikov, without you - I may never have even tried.
And to all of the little girls (and boys) out there - dance on!
Perhaps my dancing has taken on a different twist:
"Dancing in all its forms cannot be excluded from the curriculum of all noble education; dancing with the feet, with ideas, with words, and, need I add that one must also be able to dance with the pen?" ~Friedrich Nietzsche