The Material Question

‘I was ready to run the risk of this venture because I was beginning to hope that my pupils would now be capable of organizing various lectures and demonstrations in America by themselves, without my participation.

‘One of the chief dangers of carrying out this sudden decision, which I had made for the two purposes of restoring my health and adjusting the finances of my Institute—this child I had conceived and had borne with incredible difficulties and which was only just beginning to live an independent life— stemmed from the fact that in order to succeed it was necessary to take with me no less than forty-six people, who in America, as in France, would be of course entirely in my care. It was the only way to resolve the agonizing material problem, but it was impossible not to take into account that, in the event of failure, the general situation would be still worse and could even lead to complete catastrophe.

‘What a trip to America with forty-six people meant financially, you, with your passion for making frequent trips from this continent to Europe, will easily comprehend, even without any of your discussions. And you can better weigh the gravity of this madcap step if you will take into consideration the simple fact that for your trips you change your dollars into francs, whereas I, on the contrary, had to change my francs into dollars.

‘At the moment of deciding to go, the only money I had in reserve was the three hundred thousand francs which I had collected and set aside for the payment due on the fifteenth of February, the day when the deed of purchase of the Château du Prieuré was finally to be signed. I none the less resolved to risk spending this money on the trip and hurriedly began to prepare for our departure.

‘While proceeding with the preparations necessary for such an expedition, that is, buying tickets, arranging visas, purchasing clothing, making costumes for the demonstrations of dances and so forth, I concentrated all my attention on the classes of movements and increased the number of rehearsals held in the now completed Study House. Noticing once again how embarrassed the participants were in the presence of strangers, I decided to give, just before sailing, several public demonstrations at the Théâtre des Champs­ Élysées in Paris.