Every ballet class begins at the barre in the same way, with plies, a movement where dancers stand with their feet turned out, bend at the knee, then straighten the leg. After that, we move on to a set of exercises that slowly warm the body in practically the same sequence, no matter where the studio. I’ve done these exercises many times a week, for many years, and I never get bored. There’s so much to think about with each movement, so much challenge and rigor, I love the chance to work on it again and again, hoping the next time, I’ll get it right. It’s a lot like life.
Marilyn Monroe in a Hollywood dance class, 1949. Photo by J.R. Eyerman for Life Magazine.