ballet + satie

A Dance For One. from LOVER® on Vimeo via behind ballet.

I had to drop my ballet elective class, because the section I registered for was canceled. This is probably for the best, since now I will have mornings for writing instead of driving to campus at 7am. And as it turns out, taking up ballet again after eight years of being away from any barre or ballet skirt is not like riding a bike. In the one class that I did manage to attend this semester, I felt a bit like a penguin in a leotard. No swan princess am I.

Still, it's disappointing. I had to write a whole essay to appeal to the college to let me take this class (since it's outside my department), and it got me quite worked up about being able, as an MFA student, to study other arts. Here is part of that manifesto:

This ballet course appeals to me partly because it is so similar to what I do as a poet, and partly because it is so different. To see a ballet is to see a story told, to see the embodiment of language and emotion; a poem wants to do the same. Certainly, their means are very different: a dancer works with concrete, physical forms (her body) while a poet remains in the unseen, imaginative realm (her mind, her language), but ultimately the dancer and the poet are both working toward each other. The dancer uses these physical forms in hopes of evoking something in the mind and imagination, while the poet uses language to evoke a primal, visceral response from the body. Both are working toward a transcendence of their given form, but from different ends.

I mean, I just think an artist should be able to speak and interpret the many languages of human expression. Imagine a photographer who knows sculpture, or a graphic designer who knows music, and they ways they transform their 2D spaces into something more.

I imagined mornings in the dance studio, stretching, getting warm, listening to the piano repeat its bouncy allegros and long adagios, using my feet to remember French phrases that my brain has no translation for.

Instead, I'm listening to Satie and trying out a new pen as the rain twirls--nay, pirouettes--outside my window.


  1. I love the idea of ballet as poetry. I think the separation of art forms is arbitrary, and artists should not limit themselves to one medium if at all possible.
    'Using my feet to remember French phrases my brain has no translation for' is such a beautiful evocation!
    Also would like to say I went back through your archives a bit and am currently sitting here waiting for my chocolate chip rosemary cookies to finish baking - yum!

  2. This video is PURE ART. I've watched and listened to it before bed and am perfectly soothed and inspired all at once... beautiful.

    Aya ♥ Strawberry Koi

  3. This video totally made my morning. I adore ballet and that manifesto is brilliant. A wonderful, magical and oh so special:) Have a great Thursday. Kisses

  4. oh that's a shame, but you wrote such an eloquent letter. I hope you get to do ballet in some form.

  5. i love this video! and satie, of course. chopin's mazurka no. 13, also. very beautiful. melancholy.

    gilead in bloom

  6. such a shame the section that you registered for was cancelled :( i love ballet, i wanted to be a ballerina when i was a kid haha.. thanks for dropping by at my blog! you have a nice blog too!

  7. thank you for sharing this. lovely video with satie as backdrop. don't let them keep you from dancing!!