Friday, October 19, 2012


A black swan is an event or occurrence that deviates what is normally expected of a situation, and that would be extremely difficult to predict.
(Nassim Nicholas Taleb, 2007)

To me, black swan, is having a conversation, with one of the daughters, with no interruptions.
Rare, but sometimes these things do happen.

This weekend, daughter #1 will be performing in Swan Lake.

I could tell you she makes a beautiful swan, but you may argue that even a cockroach is becoming to its own mother.

She is 13 (and a half).
The world is her oyster. Of course she doesn't know it.

As much as I postponed this, I think it is time for me and daughter #1 to have a certain talk.
No. Not the "birds and the bees" talk. ( Somebody better suited than me took care of that in class, in fifth grade, with the aid of fruit- bananas and pears if you care to know).
I am talking about the " calories" talk. And all that ensue.

When you are a dancer there's a lot of pressure to stay thin.
Actually, when you are a woman in a Western country, and you are between the age of 3 and 93, there's a lot of pressure to stay thin.

Ask any woman.

If you are a woman and you don't agree, you are either lying to yourself, or you are extremely evolved.
Good for you. I am not.
I do feel the pressure and I 'm not even in the spotlight.

So what happens when the daughter in question spontaneously brings up the subject of dieting, one night, after dinner, when there's just the two of us?

Here's what I want to tell her:

I know some of you ballerinas already started counting calories.
Number the stars, if you have to.
When you are on stage they will reflect in your eyes.

Food is a friend, not an enemy. You have to treat each food fairly.
Do not ostracize. Be curious. Adventurous. Taste. Trust.

Balance your meals like your balancing your arabesques: not too much on one side, not to little on the other. And it's true, it does take practice. The arabesque is the easy part.

Eat with your hands, do put that finger in that cake, laugh with your mouth full.
(Even if I taught you otherwise)
Etiquette, sometimes, pulls the reins a little too tight over life's celebration.
And emotions.

Hard work, technique, repetitions, those are your tools. The body is one of your means to achieve greatness.
But do not confuse it with your goal.
You can try and become a perfect engine, but perfect is not the same thing as magnificent.

Sublime comes from a place of chaos, a place of invention, of spark.

And here's the parts of the body that you will most likely use to be an excellent dancer anyway:

Your brain. Where your ideas will nest.
Your spleen. Where you 'll be harvesting your darkest emotions.
Your guts. You will need plenty.
Your heart. Where you'll be getting your inspiration.

Swan #1

Other examples of black swans:
Me running a marathon.
George Clooney showing up for dinner ( " You will meet a tall dark swan")
A tiger getting out of its cage at the San Francisco Zoo, on Christmas day, and feasting on two visitors (remember?).

And what are your black swans?

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