Dame Margot Fonteyn was perhaps the worlds best known and certainly most loved ballerina. She revitalized ballet in post World War II Europe and brought it into the American mainstream in the 1950's. She was a master of the classical vocabulary, and set the bar to which prima ballerinas are still judged. She performed into her late sixties. She did this in spite of the fact that she was a homely child, plump, and lacking the the long neck and legs desired of ballerinas. She was ambitious and unstoppable, she dyed her hair, got a nose job, and trained with an unprecedented diligence and fortitude. She was a remarkable, astonishing dancer, with the ability to make almost anything look effortless. She stands as one of the great beautys of her time.
But by all accounts, in spite of her success and legions of adoring fans, she was lonely, isolated, unhappy, and largely taken advantage of throughout her life. She was childless, unmarried, and without close friends. She died penniless, alone, and nearly unable to walk.
I wonder about the sacrifices we make. I am curious about ambition, envy, and ego and where they intersect with discipline and the pursuit of greatness. I look at the choices people make, the trade offs, bargains, and business deals, the ways in which we get the things we want. I think that work is good for us and I believe that sacrifice, of time, energy, leisure, is a part of work. I want to understand the tipping point, where desire becomes study, becomes lifestyle, becomes success, and how it can consume some people and nourish others. What are the things you want in life? What are you willing to do for them? Will you work, sweat, and fight for it? Will you lie, cheat or steal? Will it be worth it?