I felt that she’d have been even more pleased with my arabesque could she have seen it today. The beauty all around me did something to me inside. I can’t describe what it was, but it made me want to turn my arabesque into something better than it had been before. I wanted to express in my dancing the lovely effect of the sunlight flickering through the trees in the wood, the delicate green of the larches, the grace of the foxgloves growing on the Roman Wall that marched side by side with the road just here.” A Dream of Sadlers Wells (1972:87)
These covers are movement. Fine, delicate, romantic movement with the ballerina ever en pointe. Note the use of shadow, both rooting the physicality of the dancer and also the construction of her surroundings. The shadows in Dream and Masquerade, flatly interacting with the scene and in Dream, reflecting up in a sharp right angle and highlighting the false construction of reality she dances in. These are constructed covers that say so much; Dream is full of winsome hope, a dancer with hands clasped girlishly together whilst her lower body rises with expectant joy. She is mid-movement, an exuberance unmasked. Masquerade sees a dancer, poised very precisely on two feet, full of edge at being discovered, one hand held up in supplication as if to say stop here, come no further. The light holding the dancer on Back-Stage, both frames her and holds her, trapping her as both performer and perfomee. It acts both as sunlight and stagelight and, as she twists to face us, asks us to consider if a dancer a dancer without an audience?
The covers of the Sadler’s Wells series in this run (we’ll call the Pan reprints naught but a bad dream) are so very ridiculously beautiful
7 thoughts on “A Dancer’s Dream”
Lovely! I never read those – but just looking at the covers and reading the excerpt makes me want to!
The early ones are superb. They tail off quickly so don’t worry if you only get hold of the first couple – they’re by the best!
Aren’t they beautiful? I love the hardback covers. They also have gorgeous frontispieces.
I have one that was signed by Lorna and I swear I almost hyperventilate when I touch it, it’s just so beautiful