It was this clip from the ballet Giselle (ostensibly about a dead woman dancing with her lover) that was the inspiration for my hard science fiction story “At the Center of the World” which was published by New Myths Magazine in their #16 issue. As you might expect, one of the main characters in my story is also named Giselle.
The end of the clip where she walks across the stage after him en pointe is haunting to me. I wanted to capture that same haunting grace and delicate power in the story, and a few readers have intimated they think I did.
I did a lot of research for that story and found the entire ballet world fascinating. All I knew about it before then was The Nutcracker and the paintings of Degas and his petite rats. As I did more research I became deeply interested in the physical requirements and mental preparation that goes into these performances. As a writer interested in the human condition, I found that world fascinating. Suddenly there was huge story potential. Just researching the structural engineering and integrity of the shoes themselves was eye-opening on so many levels.
Here’s the clip from YouTube that inspired the story: