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Volkmar

"dance" vs. "ballet"

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Twodays ago I creates two short "somethings" ("Kings&Queens" with music by G.f. Handel and "Sanctus" with music by J.S.Bach) which will probalbly be staged next Saturday. But this process of preparing the perfomance led me to the question, how "dance" could be defined or discerned from "ballet". Can anyone give me some hints to this?

Greetings from Germany,

Volkmar

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Many people take the word "ballet" to refer to most any dance and the distinction is less clean cut in other languages.

That said, a simple distinction is that "ballet" refers to the technique, vocabulary and traditions of classical ballet (these include such things as turnout, carriage and point work) and "dance" is a generic term for all dance movement.

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Alexandra will probably give you a really great answer when she gets on tonight, but I can give a simple explanation for now. Ballet, of course, is dance, and I'm sure you know that not all dance is ballet. However, there's a tradition of calling theatrical dance compositions "ballets" even if they have nothing to do with ballet steps or technique.

So if your choreography does consist mostly of ballet steps and technique, I think it would be fair to call them ballets, but if they don't, you may wish to call them dances or compositions in order to avoid confusion.

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I realize that "ballet" is a subcategory of "dance." And I think I recognize the difference in the terms as used in the US.

But, as to relative weight and meaning -- are these two terms used in other countries, including the UK, as they are in the US?

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bart, in the UK the distinctions between "ballet" and "dance" are just as a number of people have already identified. But add to that a strong experimental performance culture in which contemporary dance and physical theatre (and note the UK use of "contemporary" rather than "modern") are quite central - there is a tendency to call a whole variety of things "performance" rather than "dance" or "theatre" (as in play) - it's all theatre in the end!

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