Because Blogger's "Adult warning" often goes into a perpetual loop (isn't working properly), I will be making all new posts at my WordPress blog. You can follow it even if you do not have a WordPress Account. There're also my Twitter and my Tumblr blog, my Facebook and my Google+ page and my group.
(Update: Blogger hasn't fixed its problem with the "adult warning". Will go back to posting at my WordPress blog)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Born to dance

An article about the artistic director of the Australian ballet, David McAllister.

I particularly liked this:


BARBARA Langley couldn't believe her eyes. It was the early 1980s and Langley, then assistant ballet mistress with the Australian Ballet, was on Mt Alexander Road in Moonee Ponds, waiting for a tram to take her to work. When the lights changed to allow people to cross the busy road, Langley was surprised to see a young man doing grand jetes (ballet's version of the split-jump) across the intersection. She instantly recognised him as David McAllister, one of a particularly talented group of boys at the Australian Ballet School. 
There were two remarkable aspects of this, she recalls: the first was that no one really seemed to notice; the second was that the boy did not appear to be showing off. Rather, it was ''sheer exuberance'', as though the dancing had taken charge of him, rather than the other way around.


I felt that way about ballet too, though I came to it much later than he did.  I can't tell you how much I miss it.  That feeling of ... creating magic; the sheer physicality of dancing; the way it feel like meditation for your body; the music.  Ah well.  My knees won't stand it now.  I don't much mind the other side effects of getting old.  But having to stop dancing ... that's so hard.

And this resonated, too:




Then, in 1970, at just seven, young David saw something that would change his life: a television documentary on the touring ballet superstar Rudolf Nureyev. 
He was instantly smitten with the dancing he had seen, and begged his parents to take him to classes. At first, they resisted, partly because they weren't sure about a boy learning ballet.
''I think they thought it was a bit of a phase I was going to get over,'' he recalls. 
But he was so insistent that, after a year of his pleas, they yielded. In his excitement, McAllister made the tactical error of announcing to the class at his all-boys Catholic school that he was now learning ballet. The bullying followed soon after, and dogged him through his schooling. Worse still, the head nun called his parents to the school and tartly informed them that ''little boys don't learn ballet''. Fortunately, the meeting had the opposite effect to the one the nun intended, galvanising his father's support for his dancing.

Why on earth shouldn't little boys learn ballet?  It's not as if he wished to study to become a killer, or a thief, or a rapist.  These bizarre notions of what constitutes a man!  





If you would like to follow the Australian Ballet (who will be visiting the US later this year) their blog is here.

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