08 June 2007

A well judged exit ... and an example to us all.

Tonight was the final performance by Royal Ballet's principal dancer Darcey Bussell. Along with much of Britain, we watched the televised broadcast as she danced Song of the Earth[1].

She is everything they say of her ( superb dancer, perfectionist, unafraid of the popular, apparently warm human being) ... but the thing which really impresses me is the fact that she has retired from her glittering ballet career while it is still glittering - possibly even before reaching its potential peak. She has decided to walk away from what she does superbly well, when she could continue to enthusiastic demand, and start something new. I don't have the exact words, but she's said something very like "better to go while people still want you to stay than still to be here when people want you to go".

That takes confidence, strength and courage. It's a decision from which many of us could learn ... presidents and prime ministers in particular, for example.

  1. (I'm not a full on ballet follower, just an occasional admirer. For others in the same position, Song of the Earth was choreographed from Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde by Bussell's discoverer Kenneth MacMillan.)

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