Monday, February 01, 2010

Because litbrit needs cheering up today, damn it: Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev; Swan Lake, 1966

Genius is another word for magic, and the whole point of magic
is that it is inexplicable. -- Margot Fonteyn

Thanks to our beloved Internet, we've got so many gorgeous (if sometimes too brief) modes of escape right at our fingertips these days, haven't we? When even the relentless and dark evening drizzle can't compete with the inside of my head for sheer despondency-value, I often turn to YouTube and poke around until I find something lovely, something transporting. It never takes me long.

Such as it is, this dreary February day.

But here is some Monday grace, and I hope even a few ballet newbies will watch and enjoy it: the incomparable and legendary duo, Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev, dance a pas de deux from Swan Lake at the Vienna Opera. Music, of course, is by P.I. Tchaikovsky.

I promise--any tears you shed will be the good sort, the ones that flow upon experiencing pure beauty and truth, upon being lifted into a moment and held there, weightless, until you remember how good it actually is to be alive.*


* Both legends have since left this earth, and much too soon: Dame Margot Fonteyn de Arias, who'd spent her final years in Panama, caring for her husband--who'd been left quadriplegic after being shot during a coup attempt--died of cancer in 1991 at the age of 71. And Rudolf Nuryev, living in Paris by then, succumbed to AIDS just two years later at 54, but not before shaking up the dance world with his expressive and passionate style; he completely--and forever--changed the landscape for male ballet dancers, who'd previously only served as supporters and partners to the ballerinas. It has been said many times that despite their differences in age, and obviously in their nationalities and respective styles of dance schooling, Fonteyn and Nureyev seemed as though they had been born to dance together, so perfectly, lyrically, and artistically matched were they.

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