Inventing ideals.

Balanchine made the ballerina symbolic of his new direction in ballet, even redesigning her image according to his own idea of what the ideal female dancer should look like: tall, with long legs, highly arched and flexible feet, narrow hips, long arms, and a small head. The look quickly became iconic, replacing all past images to the point that all ballerinas who have come since bear his stamp: “[When] you think about dancers—long-legged, slender girls who move as quickly as delight,” observed American dance critic Joseph Mazo, “you are thinking about Balanchine. He invented them.” (97)

From: Kelly, Deirdre. Ballerina: Sex, Scandal, and Suffering Behind the Symbol of Perfection. Vancouver: Greystone, 2012. EPUB file.