MUSING: The Prescience of "The Pas de Deux" amid Current Revelations about Peter Martins a
When I started writing The Pas de Deux: A Classical Ballet Romance in February of 2017, I had no idea how PRESCIENT it would be today in the wake of the #MeToo movement and the recent revelations about Peter Martins at New York City Ballet.
At the time, dismayed by homophobia, racism, and sexism, I went back in time to see if history could teach me anything about hatred. I found myself in '80s Hollywood, smack in the middle of the AIDS epidemic, with stops along the way to address the Armenian Genocide and the Holocaust. I did learn things about hatred — some comforting, some alarming — all of which I folded into the novel.
One inspiration for The Pas de Deux was Suzanne Farrell's memoir, Holding On to the Air, in which she details her Cinderella-esque rise, fall, and then rise again at New York City Ballet. In the 21st century, Balanchine comes across as a human resources nightmare: coercive, retaliatory, constantly romancing his employees so he could make art. I loosely based the artistic director, Mr. D, on Balanchine although my protagonists and their inverse May/December relationship are fully fictional.
It will take some time for the current allegations to play out at City Ballet although I, for one, am not really surprised nor, I imagine, is anyone else who's spent time in the high-stakes world of classical ballet.