Why Maddie Ziegler Matters to the Dance World

February 5, 2015 2:58 PM

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Poised inside a door frame, Maddie Ziegler appears the image of stoicism and composure. Her legs swing like pendulums in 360-degree loops, and her jétés and pirouettes juxtapose self-containment with a sort of reckless abandon. But it is her face--teeth bared at a partner, lips pursed in reflection, or eyes bulged with neuroticism--that truly captivates her audience thanks to the tantalizing allure of catharsis through art.

That's right: Ms. Ziegler is an artist, and she lends hope to a dying field. No, I don't mean dance as entertainment; motion is inherent to the human psyche. Before there was speech, there was dance--for amusement, for ritual, for communication. What is relatively new, made popular by Louis XIV and ...

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