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Dance design is not simply one element; it is that without which ballet cannot exist. As aria is to opera, words to poetry, color to painting, so sequence in steps -- their syntax, idiom, vocabulary -- are the stuff of stage dancing.

LINCOLN KIRSTEIN, forward, Four Centuries of Ballet

Ballet dancers are a self-chosen elite. To survive and surmount years of disciplinary preparation and seasons of even more arduous performance requires rigid determination and almost mindless self-abnegation. One other factor is difficult to predetermine: without a certain admixture of hysteria -- sometimes masking as self-obsession, sometimes even counterfeiting incipient madness -- performers, at once acrobats, artists, and animals, make little public impression.

LINCOLN KIRSTEIN, Four Centuries of Ballet


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