Cannonade

Ballet Index on the iPhone

18 posts in this topic

Hi,

I am Australian software developer and Ballet enthusiast (vicariously) and have recently created a Glossary of Ballet terms that runs on the iPhone.

I am something of a Francophile and enjoy translating the French terms into English, but wondered how kids learning this stuff manage to learn all the terms they need to know. The local Ballet school was having exams recently and this motivated me to build the application.

I would love to hear what the users of Ballet talk Forum think of the definitions. You can find Ballet Index on the app store if you search for the keyword ballet, or you can follow the link on my website:

http://bit.ly/7l5HG

Thanks.

P.S. I hope I am not being too self promotional here.

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Thanks for letting us know about this, Tom. This sounds like a useful tool. We don't allow product promotion on the site (it's not a bulletin board, and if we did allow ads, we'd be overwhelmed by them) but do like it when someone puts up a book, a film, or something like an iPhone app, so thank you.

You may get more responses on our sister forum -- http://www.dancers.invisionzone.com/ -- which is for dancers, teachers, and other professionals (as well as dance students), but there are quite a few dance professionals here who might have some comments, so thanks again.

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At Ballet Talk for Dancers, we generally use Gail Grant's Dictionary and Technical Manual of Ballet as a general reference for ballet terminology. It contains differing terminology from several different methods of ballet training. In Australia, I believe that Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) is dominant, so Rhonda Ryman's Dictionary of Classical Ballet Terminology will probably come in handy, too.

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I second the mention of Gail Grant's book. It is only about $5, and it contains many, many ballet terms. It is also small enough to keep in your dance bag. :wink:

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Gail Grant's book is The Bible, but I just got an iPhone and like having the terms on it. It will come in handy at school.

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Thanks very much for including my post on the forum. I was a little concerned about the self promotional aspect of my entry, but I thought I would give it a go as I am genuinely interested in feedback from ballet students and teachers.

I realized pretty early on that the content that I was getting from Wikipedia had a little to be desired (Battement was described as a "kicking motion" for instance) and I have been working hard to improve the quality of the definitions that I have in my index. My wife does Ballet so she has been able to help me quite a bit and reading the various Ballet books we have around the house has been great. It sounds like I need to get hold of Gail Grant's dictionary (or the RAD dictionary) to improve my vocabulary (I make a point of reading and understanding any of the books I use as a reference and never copying their content verbatim).

Thanks again for the feedback.

Regards,

Tom Horn

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That is such a great idea! It is great that you include the pics, as well. The kiddos have to carry so much for school -- too much -- and they enjoy using the iTouch, too. They'll be more likely to actually use this.

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That is such a great idea! It is great that you include the pics, as well. The kiddos have to carry so much for school -- too much -- and they enjoy using the iTouch, too. They'll be more likely to actually use this.

Thanks Arizona, that is good to hear. I have added more images in the latest release and I am working on buying more images or diagrams for the next version. I have also ordered a couple of different Ballet dictionaries, so I hope to be able to continually improve the definitions that I have got.

Regards,

Tom

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I am a non dancer so this sort of information can be very handy in understanding what I see at the ballet. Movement is a language - steps and positions are the words and phrases and sentence. Or perhaps the notes, chords and so forth in a piece of music.

What would be on MY wish list for this resource would be:

Alphabetical list of the steps/positions/movements (along with their pronunciation - phonetic spelling)

A rehearsal setting video of the movement or a still of the position - front and side views (and back might be nice too)

A performance video example of the same movement (with information about the performance)

I would like:

just piano for the rehearsal examples and full music for the performance examples.

Some comparisons or various dancers doing the same movements in performance.

A fella can dream can't he?

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I am a non dancer so this sort of information can be very handy in understanding what I see at the ballet. Movement is a language - steps and positions are the words and phrases and sentence. Or perhaps the notes, chords and so forth in a piece of music.

What would be on MY wish list for this resource would be:

Alphabetical list of the steps/positions/movements (along with their pronunciation - phonetic spelling)

A rehearsal setting video of the movement or a still of the position - front and side views (and back might be nice too)

A performance video example of the same movement (with information about the performance)

I would like:

just piano for the rehearsal examples and full music for the performance examples.

Some comparisons or various dancers doing the same movements in performance.

A fella can dream can't he?

Some of these can be viewed on the ABT website.

There is a "ballet dictionary"

http://abt.org/education/dictionary/index.html

which isn't the easiest thing in the world to use nor is it very complete.

But one thing I like about it for my own very non-technical background is that there are tiny videos of ABT dancers (in a studio setting) demonstrating the particular step in question. I find this helpful even with the low-tech format used.

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There is also Gretchen Ward Warren's "Classical Ballet Technique" which, while it does not have videos, has very clear step-by-step photos of professional dancers performing all kinds of steps. It is about $30 and fairly large, so having all that on one's mobile would certainly be convenient.

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The idea was to have this as an iPhone app that you could view at anytime or place... handy right in your pocket. Of course, this is available in diverse places, books, web sites and so forth. Consolidating it all into an iPhone would make it the mother of all ballet references with stills, videos etc.

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The idea was to have this as an iPhone app that you could view at anytime or place... handy right in your pocket. Of course, this is available in diverse places, books, web sites and so forth. Consolidating it all into an iPhone would make it the mother of all ballet references with stills, videos etc.

That's the way I look at it. It's not trying to be THE definitive dictionary. You can read books on the iPhone -- they have their uses :) I think this could be a useful App to many people -- and my students think it's cool :)

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That's what I'm saying. It's much easier to keep a phone with you than a large textbook.

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I now have a stack of different Ballet Dictionaries and am working hard adding new definitions to my index. Thanks for all the suggestions :huh:.

I have added some images already, but I need a lot more to fill out all my entries. I am also working on typing in all the phonetic pronunciations for the terms I have.

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Thanks for your progress report, Cannonade! Glad to hear it's all going well. :huh:

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A rehearsal setting video of the movement or a still of the position - front and side views (and back might be nice too)

A performance video example of the same movement (with information about the performance)

This is exactly what I would like too; a comprehensive video library of the moves. I've found the fact that I speak French to be of little help when it comes to working out what the moves involve, e.g. épaulement - obviously something to do with the shoulders but beyond that I have no clue. The ABT one is pretty much what I would hope for, but comprehensive.

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Just FYI ---- not as convenient as an iPod/iPhone app, but all video all the time is THE VIDEO DICTIONARY OF CLASSICAL BALLET, which is 2 DVD's on KULTUR. It came out a while back (the 80's? 90's??) and features the young Merrill Ashley and Kevin MacKenzie as two of the dancers. It's 4.5 hours, but well indexed, and features a narration with very clear definitions.

I do, however, intend to download the very handy iPod version, so thanks!

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