Years ago my mother and I saw Swan Lake, our first ballet, at the Liverpool Empire theatre. I loved Tchaikovsky’s score and the skill of the dancers although by the final act of the show my arse fell asleep and I began to wish the dancing would just end. Call me uncultured. But, that said, I never forgot the grace of the dancers.
In “Roger Federer as Religious Experience”, his piece for The New York Times on the 2006 Wimbledon final between Federer and Nadal, the late David Foster Wallace wrote:
“Beauty is the not the goal of competitive sports, but high-level sports are a prime venue for the expression of human beauty. The relation is roughly that of courage to war.
The human beauty we’re talking about here is beauty of a particular type; it might be called kinetic beauty. Its power and appeal are universal. It has nothing to do with sex or cultural norms. What it seems to have to do with, really, is human beings’ reconciliation with the fact of having a body.”
I remember, about six or seven years ago, I was invited to a wedding reception and I watched with awe while a friend of the bride, a young gay man, vogued on the dance floor to Madonna. To the best of my memory he was the only man that night who seemed comfortable in his own skin. In time other men and women joined him but their uncoordinated, drunken shuffling, the kind you see at every wedding reception, was poor by comparison.
Kinetic beauty. It’s something to behold.