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Leigh Witchel

Noble? Classique? Which roles are which?

33 posts in this topic

But adagio and allegro (as classifications of dancers) are one step removed from Danseur Noble and Classique/Demicharacter, aren't they, with the latter classification system being based upon physical proportions such as hight and line? So aren't we really using a different system of classifiction when we discuss dancers as allegro dancers or adagio dancers?

And Alexandra, do I really understand you that there are no female danseurs nobles, no danseuses nobles? So isn't allegro vs. adagio ballerina in fact a good way to class female dancers?

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Lilac Fairy and Hilda (in Bournonville's Folk Tale) are two danseuses nobles roles. There may well be more. I didn't say there weren't any. I said I haven't come close to decoding female employee yet.

Adagio and allegro are certainly related, to noble/demicaractere, but I don't think they're exactly parallel. There is certainly more to the textbook classifications than speed.

I think the other words -- lyrical, romantic, adagio, allegro, dramatic, etc. etc. -- are simply descriptive words that we use to try to talk about dancers and classify them. (Interesting that we seem to be determined to classify them smile.gif )

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Originally posted by alexandra:

It does make sense, and of course, in any "national style" there would be different types of ballerinas.  (I should note, if anyone is keep track of these things, that "icy classical" and "black line" are totally unofficial terms made up by me to try to group roles that seemed similar to me under one term.  "Soubrette" is a generally recognized term.)

I apologize for any confusion, I just couldn't think of a more "conventional" way to describe them without picking on specific dancers. biggrin.gif

[This message has been edited by BalletNut (edited March 18, 2001).]

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No need to apologize, Ballet Nut! I've learned to try to clarify things as we go along, because too often people read only one post, and not those that have gone before. (As we've seen, best not to pick on specific dancers smile.gif )

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I believe I do understand what the conversation is about, Leigh - I just happen to have another view. Basheva

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As I read this thread (the parts about what makes a "danseur noble"), I keep thinking about Patrick Bissell. I've only seen him on video, but even in that medium, he certainly seemed to have had the body, the walk, the "weight", the presence and the partnering ability to make his ballerina look great.

I'm certainly a lay person when it comes to these things, but if he had lived and further developed his dancing, was he the "danseur noble" type? Reading this thread had certainly made me realize how little I know about these "categories"! smile.gif

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I've always thought of Bissell as a danseur noble -- by height, sense of weight, proportions, and sensibilities. It's interesting that in the 1970s and at least early 1980s there would be articles in the dance press, "Will there ever be a true American danseur noble?" There were a lot of people who nominated Bissell. He did all the Prince roles when he was quite young, so I think he met those expectations.

Also, none of us really know about these classifications -- or maybe it's better to say most of us have heard the words, but it's difficult to find out what they mean -- and they vary by time and by country.

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[several posts deleted]

I think this thread has run its course -- or this incarnation of it, at any rate. Cygne Danois has opened a parallel topic on Ballet History. Anyone who wishes to reopen this discussion, please feel free to do so in a new topic.

[This message has been edited by alexandra (edited March 20, 2001).]

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