The Starlingmeister, the first off the ground, glanced down, confirmed that all were aloft and then wheeled hard right, leading the troupe into a descending, then ascending, ninety-degree seamless turn to the south. I saw him look over his shoulder without missing a wing beat. Satisfied with the performance of his band, he instantly doubled his speed and smoothly changed direction, swiftly leading his company away. I watched in awe until they disappeared from view.
The Starlingmeister and his small flock came to mind moments ago when I was drawn to this short clip of a Rudolf Nureyev choreographed company performing La Bayadere. At risk of being labeled a traitor to my species, I couldn't stop myself from thinking that the Starlingmeister, without tenure or training, and with a ten times larger group of untested flyers, performing outside, without rehearsal, and working into a stiff wind, on a stage with an additional dimension, made the very best humans look rather amateurish.
And so it is in this world of wonder and beauty.
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