On Meeting Julie Diana, Principal Ballerina, at Penn

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

I was still stuck in the maw of the unfinished business of my novel when I set out late yesterday for the University of Pennsylvania in that gloaming hour (a term that will always belong to my friend Alice Elliott Dark). I was to speak to the Alumnae Association. I had planned to share insights on my students, a few words from Handling the Truth, a glimpse into this novel that I'm writing.

I had planned. I was ready.

What I was not ready for was Julie Diana, who does not just lead the Alumnae Association, but dances as a principal ballerina for the Pennsylvania Ballet. And is a mother. And is a beautiful writer. And graduated from my university with highest honors.

No one had said, "Your hostess will be gorgeous." No one had said, "You will be meeting a star." They had all simply said, "Come and speak."

Sometimes, after journeying far—into the world, into yourself—the only thing that can save you is a good, whole soul. Julie Diana is a good, whole soul. For the invitation to speak, for our conversation last night, for being reminded (again) that fame doesn't necessarily have to be bound up with overt pride, that important people can be listeners, too, that dance is both a silencing and an opening—for all of that, I am grateful to Julie Diana and to the wonderful women of Penn, carrying on their legacies.

I am eager to see Julie dance on her own stage when the season opens.


Victoria Marie Lees said...

Julie Diana is a dream. She was in a few of my English classes at the University of Pennsylvania.

Thank you for sharing this, Beth.

Serena said...

What a wonderful meeting. I'm so happy for you.

  © Blogger templates Newspaper II by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP