The Weekender, October 28, 2016

1) “The Afterlife of a Ballerina” (Elle, 20 minutes, October 2016). The subhead: “At age 16, Alexandra Ansanelli was anointed a prodigy. By 22, she was a principal for the New York City Ballet. At 26, she was a principal for the Royal Ballet. By 28, she had given it all up.” A story of being at the top — but wanting less. (And thanks to Leon-Ben L. for sharing.)

Alexandra, who had been dancing with the Royal Ballet for three years, and with the New York City Ballet for eight years before that, was spontaneous and unpredictable onstage. She could get carried away by a feeling or a musical note. She was an artist more than a technician, and she was beautiful in a way that could seem anachronistic; she was glamorous. That night, everything came together. She put on one of the best shows of her life. “She danced like it was the last performance,” said her partner that night, Ivan Putrov. “But every performance, she gave everything.”

The curtain fell, and rose again. Alexandra took her bows, and the 88-year-old Cuban dancer Alicia Alonso presented her with a bouquet of roses. Alexandra broke down in tears as the crowd cheered.

After the show, Alexandra spoke to some reporters. She and a couple of other dancers went for a swim. She didn’t sleep. The next day, she boarded a plane and flew back to New York [and retired].

2) Sponsored: Get Matched With The Perfect Wine: Winc is upgrading the way you discover & buy wine. They are eliminating the guesswork by matching you with personalized wine recommendations. Answer six simple questions about what you like to eat and drink and Winc will match you up with wine you are guaranteed to love. Take the quiz and get $20 off your first order of wine!

(Really, this is a pretty great offer. They sent me four bottles for free, which I shared with some friends — my friends, who drink more wine than I do, all were pretty impressed. Assuming I did the math right: If you buy the minimum three bottles, you can get three for about $32 with the discount but have to pay for shipping. If you buy four, shipping is free and it comes out to about $36.)


3) “Link-or-Treat: A Legend of Zelda Halloween” (YouTube, 4 minutes, uploaded yesterday). From a dad-and-daughter YouTube channel comes this adorable and fantastic Halloween adventure which takes the daughter’s Legend of Zelda Halloween costume to the next level — by putting her in the game. (She’s only about three years old, so it’s pretty amazing.) I spent way too much time on the channel yesterday because it has a lot of really create, cute, and creative videos — here’s the duo singing Take On Me, and here’s the kid as Luke Skywalker taking on the first Death Star.

4) “The most challenging job of the 2016 race: Editing the candidates’ Wikipedia pages ” (Washington Post, 8 minutes excluding graphs, October 2016). Wikipedia is a de facto voter guide for many, as the Washington Post points out. As a rule, the editor community there wants to be fair — but that’s very hard. So what do its armies of volunteer editors do? They discuss everything, and they do so in public. This article explores those conversations and the associated data.

5) “The People Who Pick the President” (Politico, 10 minutes or so, sometime recently but it’s unclear when). In the U.S., we don’t elect the President directly — we elect Electors who vote in the Electoral College. But who are those electors? Politico profiled a handful of them. If you follow me on Twitter, you know I’m particularly interested in this because I think there’s a very good chance that at least one of them becomes a “faithless elector,” and that we often lose sight of the fact that the role of electors isn’t always simply a ministerial duty (or, at least, isn’t always carried out as one). Thanks to David M. for sharing.

6) “The Sumo Matchup Centuries In The Making” (FiveThirtyEight, 18 minutes, May 2016). Sumo is an under-the-radar sport, especially in the U.S., which is why few of us have ever heard of Hakuhō Shō. He’s the best sumo wrestler of his generation — by far — and arguably the best of all time. In fact, there’s only one other guy in the same conversation — a guy named Raiden Tameemon , who wrestled in the late 1700s. How do you compare the two? FiveThirtyEight gives it a try and gives a history lesson in sumo wrestling along the way. Thanks to Chris L. for the tip!

Have a great weekend!