Abstract

When Zelda Fitzgerald resumed her ballet training in her mid-twenties, it was with an urgent resolve to become a respected professional dancer. At its best, Zelda’s intensity toward her lessons and the art form is acknowledged as a fierce determination to express herself; at its worst, it is regarded as obsession and a fast track toward mental deterioration. Her devotion to ballet is often examined from the angle of her homelife and her familial obligations, and a significant misconception is that she became destructively isolated during this period. The culture of the dance studio, the structured environment of her daily ballet classes, and the relationships she developed—including her devotion to her teacher Lubov Egorova—grant an alternative perspective and understanding of her deeply passionate pursuit. It is alongside the star dancers of the 1920s that Zelda trained, and she was swept into the new wave of ballet with daring and spectacular works by Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes alongside the reinvigoration of the Paris Opera Ballet. These experiences, and the sensation of her body in poetic movement, remained with Zelda well after she physically put ballet behind her and focused on her many other passions.

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