I don't know how the arabesque position in ballet came to be called such, but it makes perfect sense to me. The word means "in the Arabic style" and is most commonly used to refer to the repetition of geometric forms commonly observed in Islamic art. Think of the Alhambra! (The photo above is an image from a ceramic tile in the Alhambra. Star of David?) Well, I don't know that it makes any dance sense, but it sure makes metaphysical sense. Me explico: it seems to me that Islamic artists, in their insistent repetition of form, express a desire for infinity. It is, of course, an illusion. Or not? Here's the paradox: can we, if only for an instant, experience infinity? Which is to say, of course, immortality. It would certainly seem that the briefer the instant, the further we get from infinity. Alas, perhaps this is our error. Some instants are very, very intense, for lack of a better word. Transcendent? We transcend time. Our limits. After all, isn't this what happens in love? We experience, oh so fleetingly, atemporality, an intimation of immortality? (Billy baby, Oh Joy! Yes, there is a time when we are "Apparell'd in celestial light.") Such is life: these celestial dances are but brief, but we want more, and so we wish to see the dance go and on. I fear my ridiculous yearning for the never-ending tie ball game is related to this madness. Back to the ballet arabesque. There is a famous one at the end of the grand pas de deux in The Nutcracker. It's the culminating moment of that grand adagio when the music goes up, up, up... and stops. Hold it right there. The arabesque! It can only be a moment, but it's an instant I want to be held forever. The brief pause in the music, the ballerina transcending space in a flash of generous, gravity-defying equilibrium. (In the narrative, it's the moment when she screams: yes, I'm in love, all is good!) Plenitude? (I'm pretty illiterate when it comes to music, but if you ask me, Ravel's Bolero is an early example of the Post Modern sensibility: the self-conscious repetition takes this illusion to an extreme, leading to its inevitable crescendo of chaos...) But back to our world: the sun comes up over the Mediterranean. For a second it hovers, a beautiful globe, en pointe, bowing on the horizon. (Welcome to the universe, life goes on...) Hold it right there! Islamic artists: I share your pain. Let's pretend: repeat, repeat, repeat... on, and on, and on... Late, very late, one fall night Carlton Fisk, a big New Englander with an Islamic sensibility, hit a high, high fly ball (not really clobbered because he came around a little too fast and didn't completely center the fat part of the bat on the ball, but that's not important), this is it, the game, it seems everything, here... is it going to stay fair or go foul? The Question! Fair or foul, fair or foul... forever and ever. It's only a moment. Who cares! (Well, Carlton cared, he waved the damn thing fair, but that's another story...) For that too brief an instant father and son are absolutely tuned in to the same purpose, the same emotion, the same, shared anticipation of joy. Why does it end?

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