Tuesday, May 17, 2016

quiet so profound

"...There's more to this world than this world."
-- James Wolcott

In his memoir Lucking Out {Doubleday, 2011} Wolcott tells about wandering into a passionate obsession with the ballet, in the nineteen-seventies:

--------------------------- [excerpt] -------------------- I made it a point to see every Baryshnikov performance I affordably could, which back then didn't require ransoming off a hostage or two, and when Gelsey Kirkland joined ABT, he had a partner who

transcended the rodeo tricks that some of the company's stars were prone to reeling off....

Gelsey....I had fallen for her like a fool since I had first seen her...a dancer of Keatsian ethereality.... 

Petite, precise, and imperishably young, she appeared enveloped in a personal quiet so profound that she seemed to dance under a glass bell....

She was one tough little apparition, otherworldly and all there, her tiny little traveling steps in Balanchine's La Sonnambula while holding a candle a Gothic vision that escaped from the Brontë attic.... 

She spun pure silk out of herself, so becalmed and mission-borne that she seemed to be erasing the connecting dots of the choreography in a continuous breath of movement, in thrall to a higher calling and a guidance system she had personally installed. 

Gelsey was more than poetry in motion; she could explode...with her own armory show of pyrotechnics, as in the can-you-top-this? trade-off solos in the Don Quixote pas de deux, where she tore off those pirouettes as if daring Baryshnikov to sass her back. 

Technique and artistry animate ballet, as they do any performing art, but the mystery and alchemy of presence are what open the dome, making you realize there's more to this world than this world.


No comments:

Post a Comment