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.