Ballet Wishes and Pointe Shoe Dreams

Like a lot of girls, I was really into the idea of becoming a ballerina when I was young. And, like a lot of girls, I tried to accomplish this by stealing a book with ballet exercises from my school library and practicing them, religiously, for the better part of the school year until I got caught. (Bad to the bone, y'all.) I'm actually not a bad dancer, but I have some left/right confusion that means that not only am I the last person you want to ask for driving directions, it takes a brute force effort of will and a lot of practice before I can get anything like a routine down. I'm also not a super slender gazelle of a woman, or particularly flexible, or one of those dedicated people who can turn their life over to practice, and so my dream of a career in ballet was sadly stillborn.
Still, once in a while, it's fun to pretend, isn't it?
I'm not falling over, the camera is just kind of tilted.
Sweet pic bro. Note the death grip on my fence.
Of course, some of my biggest style icons were dancers. Audrey Hepburn famously studied ballet, and her dance background served her well in films like My Fair Lady and Funny Face.
Brigitte Bardot also studied dance before she broke into acting.
The kind of grace and poise that ballet gives you seems like it would serve an actress well. Of course, football players enjoy the benefits too, so maybe there's a little something for everyone in studying ballet.
Images like this are what initially drew me to ballet. The grace, the elegance, the super sweet costumes. Here's Anna Pavlova in her costume for The Dying Swan, the role the cemented her status as a ballet icon in the early part of the 20th century.
Pavlova was also understandably famed for her beauty. Just look at those eyes.
And here's Native American ballet dancer Maria Tallchief. She was America's first prima ballerina, which is an even more astonishing fact given that she was a member of of the Osage tribe in Oklahoma. Her performance as the Sugarplum Fairy in The Nutcracker brought the ballet out of obscurity, and she was involved in ballet at the Lyric Opera of Chicago (what up, my city) until her death in 2013.
The Red Shoes is, in a way, a film about ballet's dark side. Loosely based on a Hans Christian Andersen story of the same name, it follows the rise and subsequent fall (um, literally) of a talented young ballet dancer. You can read a lot into the story - ballet is a notoriously cutthroat art (coughBlack Swancough), and the red shoes, which force the wearer to dance until they die, can be seen as a symbol of the toll that it can take on a dancer. Injuries, eating disorders, stress, and really gnarly feet are just some of the costs associated with dancing, particularly when you get to a professional level.

So who else was/is into ballet? Did you take classes, or were you like me, practicing alone in your bedroom? Do you still take cues from it? I know tulle skirts and Essie's Ballet Slippers nail polish are always on my hot list.

Update: Apparently Slate and I are on the same page, because they've got a little blurb about Misty Copeland and her "wrong" body up on their site.