“No one that I have read has ever been able to explain why the general public likes ballet so much, and why, when other troupes are pulling in half a house, ballet companies are able to fill the seats. I can’t explain it, either, nor, presumably, could Ashton. But he had the magic formula. The stories, the wisdom—that was one part. But the other part was just ballet, this set of apparently meaningless steps and poses that somehow—probably by seeming the noblest possible action of the body, the body that we basically are—ratify the story, make us believe in it.”