Register Thursday | June 20 | 2019

And Everything Was Beautiful At the Ballet

"I’ve never been much for the ballet."

I just saw something more beautiful than I can describe. I wish that one of the Maisy columnists had seen it; they might give shape to the words in a way I won't be able to.

I’ve never been much for the ballet. Like photography, it’s an art form that escapes me on some level. There is appreciation, sure, and a measure of awe, but it has never really reached me. Tonight I attended Romeo & Juliet at the Metropolitan Opera House in Lincoln Center, with a dancer named Alessandra Ferri. She is, from what I saw, a woman with no bones in her body. No ligaments. Just cartilage and muscle. She moved like she was made of water, like she was buoyant, floating. The rest of us are sedentary masses. Her limbs could not have made less sense to me when compared with the motions of my own, now very limited, body.

Where some of the other dancers seemed to count out steps, an idea or order in mind, she responded to the music, languid, and flawlessly going from one step to the next. You could see the choreography in the other ballet dancers, but every arm sway and leg loop seemed like inspiration in her. She danced like I breathe, without thinking, involuntary, too perfect to capture.

And of course I fell in love with her, a thousand different times. If there is anything more beautiful in this world than a woman onstage? Someone doing something in such a way that there’s no way it can be repeated. You just have to watch and hope it stays with you. Tonight it did. Ms. Ferri is magic, otherworldly, and ethereally wonderful. And that’s from 100 yards away.