The dream: performing in front of applauding thousands.
The reality: the ballet master placing her to the far left in the back row of every ensemble.
As a young girl,worshiping at the feet, as it were, of Anna Pavlova, she ached to fly as lightly. But she learned that the more Pavlova danced, ghost on gossamer, the more her feet bled, right through to the pale satin pink of her pointes.
In her early teens she was taken to see Nureyev and Fonteyn live on stage: whirlwinds colliding, not answerable to gravity. The Melbourne theatre was full but Antipodean restraint decreed that applause must always be tempered by decorum.
Once in London, she saw them do it again –feet fast and nimble, body and brain like currents in flux. The audience leapt up shouting ‘Bravo!’ tossing roses onto the stage. Some even fell to their knees. This was how it was supposed to be?
But back inside Melbourne’s austerity it became clear to her that if Nureyev —like Elijah shooting heavenward on God’s kiss —never returned to earth, he too would become myth, the enchanted truth of him forfeit.