I originally wanted to dance because ballerinas always looked so lovely, relaxed, lighter than air. I thought when I learned how to do some ballet I would feel lovely, relaxed, lighter than air.
In fact, skilled dancers are as strong as oxen, and probably weigh a good deal more than other people the same size, since muscle is heavier than… non-muscle.
The more relaxed a dancer looks, the more fiercely she is clenching every muscle.
To make a limb look long, you pull it in.
To look like you are stretching up, you pull your shoulders down.
To look tall, you press into the floor.
The effort required to look light as a feather is gargantuan, mind-numbing, strength-sapping.
The harder you work, the less it looks like you’re working hard.
I was reminded forcefully of all this this just the other day when U. urged me to pull up. I pulled up with all my might, thinking that when I turned my head to look in the mirror I would see a well-pulled-up and queenly posture. Instead, I saw a woman nearly on the verge of slouching. Gah!