The Feminine Ideal Wears Toe Shoes

What is it about ballet that has always caused the form to be inextricably linked to the adoration of women? John Rockwell says that, no matter how many male dancers achieve stardom, “a gauzy Romantic image of womanhood, no matter how tweaked with grandeur or anger or rage or seductiveness, remains central to the art.” The Royal Ballet, in New York this week, emphasizes the point with a new young crop of principal dancers, including four ballerinas “[representing] different facets of the ballerina archetype, past and present.”