Balzac loved courtesans. They were independent women, and in the 19th century, that was a breed that was just evolving.
In circuses, there is a lot of magic. Things become other things.
In those days, male dancers were a rarer breed than women. as they are still today, A good male dancer, one as strong as we were, was very difficult to come by if you couldn't afford to pay them.
It was not until I had graduated from college that I made a professional commitment to it. Frankly, I didn't think it wise. I was my own interior parental force, and it's very difficult to justify a profession as a dancer.