I remember an example of one obsessed Nureyev fan who like others people had travelled to Zurich to see him dance and she was following in his shadow wherever he went. When they were at the airport to return to England, the obsession took on mythic fanlike behaviour. With nothing in view except her adored one, she followed him straight into the gentleman’s toilet and came out pretty quickly but not abashed by the event. Was she a balletomane? I think not, she was most definitely a fan.
Well, worse, actually, she was a stalker and psychotic clearly--fans don't usually try to disturb their idols. i think narcissism doesn't particularly lend itself to obsessive fandom, I know mine doesn't--rather leads me to a certain amount of admiration by imitation--this can be writers like Joan Didion (the only person I ever asked for an autograph and simply had to talk to at a lot of readings (but I then did go to so many that she got nervous and may have thought I was a stalker, so I stopped for 4 years) or my buddy Nick Land in China, who I'm nuts about (but since he knows me, he appreciates it), or when I played the Boulez Second Sonata in 1981, there was a page in the 3rd Movement in which I finally got a sense of flexibility that reminded while on stage of Suzanne Farrell's flexible limbs, it was the best part of the performance. Most of the examples I wrote on my last post are from the past, except for more recently the Martine and Schaufuss I still admire them--how better to admire them then to imitate them if it inspires you? It doesn't have to be only 'in performance' that these dancers' art inspires you--all the better that you keep thinking of them as aesthetic models to refine your own life. The way Martins describes the way a dancer wears his body is something anyone should aim for to some degree, if they're athletic--you won't become a ballet dancer, but you'll present yourself more impressively. Dancers think about their looks all the time, why shouldn't you? Of course, that's narcissism, but I don't care, and anyway it is obvious that many great dancers are narcissistic, and it doesn't bother them at all (nor should it.)
I do disapprove totally of ANY kind of fandom in which someone is followed EVER. My best friend was once obsessed with Garbo, and used to sometimes look for her, but once she spotted him, and saw that it frightened her a bit, he never did it again--but I still couldn't believe he'd even gone that far. And then there is celeb fandom, as Susan Sontag and Philip Glass (in the Paddock/Rollison book) or Barbra Streisand following around Andre Agassi (I finally understand this last, but didn't for the longest time, it seemed embarassing at the time, but she's a great woman and hardly harmful.)
As for Nureyev, he used to do a lot of aggressive and determined approach to good-looking young men (including one I knew well), and was quite brazen about it, so it works both ways. I don't feel sorry for him, really.
I'm definitely not a balletomane, though, because I am not as fiercely concentrated on it as a number of people here, and because other kinds of dance and dancer and other arts mean as much to me. My absolute greatest genius is Martha Graham, and I will never love Balanchine or any classical ballet choreography as much as I do her work. Same with Barbra Streisand, a few writers, film directors, composers, etc., whom I love as much as classical ballet.
I do have other balletomane tendencies. My education in ballet has proceeded apace since I've been at Ballet Talk, and I regularly give sermons about Alla Sizova, for example, to my best friends, and make them watch her. Same with Nureyev and Fonteyn. But some of the TRUE balletomanes, that is in terms of being in the audience a great deal of the time, are very different from me, which is why I know they are the really true ones: Flying from one city to another very frequently for performances, going to perfs. night after night, year after year, valuing above all other Arts. I don't. .
My main point in my way of appreciating ballet is that it's become a part of my own life and art, but I think the true balletomane is always going to a lot of performances. I don't actually want to go that often, but when it comes down to it, I think the true balletomane is much more concerned when a dancer retires, for example. The fact is, it is another kind of 'ballet love' to import and incorporate what you learn from it into your own other arts, just as ballet dancers go to museums and look at paintings to learn from them, just as they become knowledgeable about music (when they do), and when they read books. But I basically think the way a balletomane is mostly understood is someone who is following every new development in the ballet business and going to many, many perfs. a year.
I confess however that I have seriously admired from a distance a good number of dancers over the years.
Yes, I want to be at a distance from any artist of any kind I admire, unless I have something to say to them that they are also going to have some interest in, beyond the usual fan oozing and unctuousness. That's for the birds. As for dancers I've known, in most cases I like those at a distance too.