Plastic is forever

The Adult Beginner is a big nerd. For books, and for ballet.
I was endulging my nerdly habits by cruising the dollar table at my favorite used book store and what did my eye e-spy? A slim, old, faded, fabric-bound book, waaaaaay down on the bottom shelf, next to some dust bunnies and another damned copy of The Celestine Prophecy. My sensors went off, I grabbed it, and of course, it was a ballet book. Fonteyn, impressions of a ballerina by William Chappell, to be exact. It’s a great book. Full of drawings by the author, which I don’t want to call Creepy Fan Art, but they kinda are, and it has a really amusing voice. At one point he refers to promising young dancers as Little Beasts. I challenge you to find a copy of this book.
There’s no copywrite date that I can see, (apparently that’s how they roll in London?) but I’m guessing it was published in the early 1950’s. And, like many of the older books in my ballooning ballet library, it uses a special word:
As in, plasticity of movement, wonderful plasticity of the arms, a modern plasticity.
Which got me thinking, plastic was pretty much New Technology when these books were written. I wonder if the term plasticity is still used to give dancers direction nowadays? Or if it’s old tech now and instead dancers are told to Dance Wirelessly or to Upload Emotion To The Audience.
I mean, if someone told me to dance with plasticity I would think they wanted to see something cheap and disposable, but I don’t think that’s what it meant back then.
Obviously I wouldn’t know, this seems like the kind of correction one would give an advanced dancer, whereas the corrections I receive are still more along the lines of, “please stop doing that, you’re making my eyes bleed.”

About adultbeginner

Had my first ballet class Ever at the advanced age of thirty-two. Yikes.
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2 Responses to Plastic is forever

  1. That art looks lovely! Don’t mind me, I’ve just found your blog and I’m reading it all chronologically. I’ll probably pop up a few more times here and there…

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