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Hand movements,do they have special names


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#1 whetherwax

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Posted 26 February 2008 - 09:46 PM

In the Metzentseva Giselle, the second of the two newbie Wilis does a little turning movement during her variation with her left hand - which is incredibly beautiful. It doesnt appear in other Giselle DVDs I've got and I wonder if it has a name and if dancers have a certain amount of freedom to improvise in such a case. ( I dont imagine the Kirov allows much freedom but I was surprised to see that other versions dont have this movement.)

#2 Mel Johnson

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 04:14 AM

That would be Zulma, the second of the two lead wilis. She was originally intended in the original production to be a bayadere, or Indian temple dancer. "Exotic" port de bras, therefore, would be correct for her. But, as almost all of what we know of Giselle comes down to us filtered by the 1884 Petipa revival in St. Petersburg, we can't tell whether these circling hands are original, from the 1884 revival, or are even a later interpolation. The "hand circles" don't have a formal name in ballet terminology, are derived from various national dances, but appear in quite a few of Petipa's ballets, even Swan Lake.

#3 whetherwax

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 01:21 PM

This board is wonderful. Thank you Mel. Have you any recommendations for a comprehensive ballet history book where such information can be gleaned or is it as I suspect, a lifetime of immersion in ballet matters that gives one such knowlege?

#4 Mel Johnson

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 06:54 PM

All I know is from years of accumulated doing, watching, listening, and reading. If I were to teach a General History of Ballet course, I think my basic text would have to be Robert Greskovic's excellent Ballet 101: A Complete Guide to Learning and Loving the Ballet. It's available through Amazon.com via the banner at the masthead of this page, and all pages of Ballet Talk. You can even customize it to the Australian branch of the big online store.

#5 whetherwax

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 01:39 PM

Thanks, I have ordered it. I also got a copy of the Cambridge Ballet companion and a second hand copy of.
A History of Ballet and Dance by Alexander Bland.It looks good, although published in 1976.

#6 Mel Johnson

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Posted 01 March 2008 - 03:52 AM

Good show in getting the Cambridge, now let's give the Oxonians equal time with Horst Koegler's Oxford Concise Dictionary of Ballet. :)


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