Poetry, chapbook, 44 pages, from Bottlecap Features.
In order to balance, dancers must stack up their bones so that gravity’s only effect is to keep them connected to the earth. Ballet Is My Boyfriend chronicles the gravitational pulls of various passions: for an art form, for a person, for justice, for a dream. These gravities are not as easy to work with as the physical one. The soul does not stack as simply as the skeleton. These poems attempt to navigate the complex questions that arise as a childhood dream grows into harsh reality. Is there a limit to the amount of passion one person can hold? Is it possible to love an art form as much as a person? What happens when that art form does not love in return?
Through a feminist lens, this chapbook draws on the author’s experiences in the world of professional ballet to investigate the physicality of love and inevitability of loss. In the popular imagination, ballerinas exist on stages, untouchable. Ballet Is My Boyfriend brings this fantasy down to earth, displaying the many forces that touch one dancer’s life. Perfect balance may be unattainable, but there is beauty to be found in following passion despite imperfect conditions. Perhaps it is time to acknowledge that working to change these conditions is part of the art of dream-chasing.
E. Ambler is a dancer and writer originally from Cambridge, Massachusetts. As a dancer, she has performed with American Repertory Ballet, Festival Ballet Providence, and Ballet Quad Cities. Her poetry has been published in The Foundationalist and LUX Creative Review, and was featured in the musical score for Katherine Bickford’s short film “Fairyland” for the 2021 edition of the Rhode Island Women’s Choreography Project. She currently lives in Davenport, Iowa.