Tuesday, April 5, 2011



by Dane Youssef

I myself am a dancer of ballet and have been for over a decade now. There were many dancers who inspired me. I was especially inspired by actors who switched their majors from ballet, but still kept it in their hearts throughout the course of their lives--Audrey Hepburn, Raquel Welch, Neve Campbell, Sean Young, Chris Cooper, Sarah Jessica Parker, Liza Minnelli, Marin Hinkle, Paige Turco, Alexander Godunov, Lisa Neimi... and Lea Thompson.

Of all the glossies of Lea circulating online, this is my personal favorite. Why? 'Cause a lot of them show off the playful side of her in that Julia Roberts- starlet sort of way, but this one sort of defines who she is. As a great glamorous actress and a prima ballerina at heart.

Here, you can sort of see both sides to the great as LEA KATHERINE THOMPSON.

She's in some kind of workout studio here. Above the waist, she's dressed to kill. Below, she's just finishing up her workout.

The upper-half of her body, she's got a long lavish, fiery-red hairstyle. She has a very strong chiseled face you can see under that mop-wig of crimson hair. A dressy white shirt worthy of Calvin Klein, that long elegant pearl necklace. The kind only a ritzy multi-billionaire iconic movie-starlet would have around her neck.

But on the lower-half of her "spendifierous" shaped body, she's donning ankle-tights and from where I sit, showing off her "ballet feet."

For those who might be ignorant on such a term, "ballet feet" are what one customizes their feet best to do ballet. People do this by a lot of foot exercises called Pointe. Shirley MacLaine, also an aspiring ballerina in her youth referred to them as "beautifully constructed feet." They're not just very nice to look at. Such feet are needed on the dance floor.

Those a-feet of hers have been pounding the hardwood while she's been working the barre like it's the only thing keeping her alive.

Lea herself certainly has 'em, you can see that here--very high curved sculpted arches, an even more highly sculpted instep at the top and an nearly-impossibly flexible ankle--that of a contortionist. My guess is even though she's not at any ballet theatre, she still practices--keeping it up so as not to lose that ballerina inside of her.

She's got arches as high as thriving cornstalks. You can tell her ankles are flexible, strong as can be. She's a real She-Ra. Very strong.

Half posh movie-starlet, half hard-working ballerina. There is a part of her, that is still a dancer. A professional prima ballerina. With those ebony leggings on, you can see those legs of hers are shapely, very nice. Fine calf muscles, slender yet strong. Solid muscle tone. Ballet has clearly been good to her.

Well, to a fault. I mean, she herself has said she left The American Ballet Theatre and professional ballet forever because: "I had some nagging little injuries. My vertebrae had been fused." Hey, we all have our battle scars. Our old war injuries. All it means is that you were there, that you're an athlete. Take pride.

Here it looks like she still has the ballet in her, the American Principal.

I've always thought of ballet dancers as so celestial, divine beings from another higher plane. From above.

Although she didn't make it in dance professional. Lea finally 86'ed her tights and Pointe Shoes after ballet icon Mikhail Baryshnikov told her she was " beautiful dancer, but too stocky." She didn't have just that exact body for the life. She couldn't touch a crumb of desserts. Funnily enough, her older brother who also took ballet as a child, went on to go pro and maintained a life-long career in the biz.

I do love this shot. I even have a copy posted in my room next to my other ballet icons---Look, she's even modeling this photo in a ballet studio. It seems real. You can almost smell the perspiration from her and the other dancers working it all out through there, making this their life. Here, Lea is free to be.

--For Lea, The Prima Ballerina, Dane Youssef