Lily Marks felt like an “ugly
duckling.” As a child, her flat feet and weak knees meant that she walked
differently from other people. Orthopedic shoes and leg braces were meant to
correct the issue, but made her stand out even more from other children. She envied
the pretty slippers her sisters wore.
Lily began dance classes on
the recommendation of a doctor who thought it might help strengthen her legs.
In ballet class, Lily stood out, but not because of her unusual gait. She had a
natural talent that set her apart from the other ballerinas. But no one believed
the girl who walked so awkwardly with her feet pointed out could become a real
Being “different” can feel
like a heavy burden to a child, but those who walk a different path in life can
sometimes be trailblazers. When Greta Thunberg was mocked for having Aspergers,
a diagnosis on the autism spectrum disorder, she proudly said, “I’m sometimes a bit different from the norm.
And - given the right circumstances- being different is a superpower.” Now one of the most famous climate change
activists in the world, her impact has been so profound that it has its own
name: “the Greta effect.”
Lily Marks is remembered as
one of the greatest ballerinas of the twentieth century. Known by her stage
name Alicia Markova, one of her most famous roles was “The Dying Swan.” It
turns out she was a swan all along.
Read more about the first Jewish prima ballerina in An Unlikely Ballerina.