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Styles and Methods


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#1 Guest_ariesrising_*

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Posted 24 October 2001 - 07:52 PM

I am wondering if someone can help me regarding methods of ballet training. I know the basic methods (Cechetti, Vaganova, RAD, Balanchine, French, Bournonville) and I'm wondering a few things:

1) Which method is the most commonly taught in the US and Canada? Europe? etc...

2) If you learn one method, is it difficult to learn another? Do most dancers master only one, or more?

3) Do companies hire dancers based on the method they learned? Is there a mix of stlyes within a company?

4) How can a beginner watching a ballet tell the different styles apart when watching?

5) Is one style more popular among professionals than recreational students? What method would the majority of professionals have been taught?

And anything else you can think that would educate me more=)

[ October 24, 2001: Message edited by: Ariesrising ]



#2 Mel Johnson

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Posted 24 October 2001 - 10:58 PM

Internationally, I'd say that the most common form of ballet is the Russo/Italian/French patois that is mostly recognizable as Cecchetti-based, but full of other nomenclature. Balanchine, which did not revise the ballet lexicon, uses this form, but has its own stylistic takes on method of execution. For want of a better term, let's refer to it as the "international" style.

A beginner watching a beginning class would probably not discern much difference between a Vaganova class, say, and one done on the Paris Opéra syllabus. And stylistic differences are learnable by more advanced students and finished dancers. Bournonville is elusive, and it's debatable whether anybody even in the present Royal Danish Ballet school is teaching it any more! frown.gif

At a certain level, though, school-figure style marks cease to be a distinctive feature and can even be considered affectation, drawing attention away from the art and calling attention to itself.

[ October 24, 2001: Message edited by: Mel Johnson ]



#3 Alexandra

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Posted 13 December 2001 - 10:20 AM

[quote]Originally posted by Ariesrising:
I am wondering if someone can help me regarding methods of ballet training. I know the basic methods (Cechetti, Vaganova, RAD, Balanchine, French, Bournonville) and I'm wondering a few things:

1) Which method is the most commonly taught in the US and Canada? Europe? etc...


In the U.S., there's Vaganova, Cecchetti, RAD and Balanchine (which, although Mel's right that he never codified his technique, is now being taught as a technique; the same thing happened with Bournonville. The "Bournonville Schools" were assembled by his pupils). I don't know the proportions -- perhaps some teachers do.

2) If you learn one method, is it difficult to learn another? Do most dancers master only one, or more?

To me, the best way to understand style is to think of it as an accent. An American may become fluent in French, but a Parisian will always be able to tell he's a foreigner. Same thing with dance. Today, everybody dances everything. Some dancers are trained in one method, but adapt to others when they get into a company.

3) Do companies hire dancers based on the method they learned? Is there a mix of stlyes within a company?

I think this differs from company to company. In America today, I'd bet that almost every professional company is looking for dancers WITHOUT a distinctive style, because there's been a blending of styles in the past 25 years. Someone with pure training would stand out. NYCB looks for dancers who have been trained in their style -- and takes most of its members from their school. Some of those students may only have studied at SAB for a year, but have generally come from schools elsewhere who teach, if not Balanchine Style, something compatible with it.

4) How can a beginner watching a ballet tell the different styles apart when watching?

I don't think a beginner can. The differences are very subtle -- is the chest "pulled up" or relaxed? How are the hands held? If you're curious, go to an end of year show in your town -- the school will say what method they take, and you may well have an RAD, Vaganova and Cecchetti school to choose from.

Once upon a time, you could tell where a dancer was trained by looking at him -- and many people could tell who his teacher was. One of my favorite Balanchine quotes is what he said when he first saw Ruthanna Boris in class -- "Ah, a little Italian girl." I read that my first year of reading about ballet and was so jealous -- I wanted to be able to do that too smile.gif

5) Is one style more popular among professionals than recreational students? What method would the majority of professionals have been taught?

I can't add more than I said in question [1].

And anything else you can think that would educate me more=)

This is a good question -- other answers welcome.

[ December 13, 2001: Message edited by: alexandra ]




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