When I think of ballet, I think of fit people performing incredible feats of strength and flexibility. For instance, I think of people doing the splits, walking on their toes, and spinning around and around. I also think of grace, exactness, and delicacy.

I generally do not think of this:

“At the end of Opus Jazz I get tossed off the stage. It’s basically a cheerleading maneuver. I’m launched up into the air, then thrown offstage into the wings. It’s very dramatic and suggests infinity. By the end of the piece, there are usually three dancers who aren’t onstage anymore who will safely catch me.”

Um, usually??

This anecdote is one of many that surprised me from the memoir Swan Dive, by Georgina Pazcoguin. Apparently, being a professional ballerina requires more bravery than I had thought; and it can be downright hazardous to one’s health.

The danger comes in multiple forms, only one of which I am highlighting in this blog post. Suffice it to say that being chucked offstage, especially when the regular guys aren’t there to catch you, is quite the occupational hazard! Things work out mostly all right for Pazcoguin in this instance, but she’s not so lucky in other dangerous situations.

Indeed, ballet requires acrobatics. What feats are required for your job?

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