Jump to content

This site uses cookies. By using this site, you agree to accept cookies, unless you've opted out. (US government web page with instructions to opt out: http://www.usa.gov/optout-instructions.shtml)

Use of Hands to Describe CombinationsDid Balanchine originate this?

  • Please log in to reply
2 replies to this topic

#1 Eileen


    Bronze Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 282 posts

Posted 07 March 2011 - 06:25 PM

Several years ago I was fortunate to sit in on a class given by Suki Schorer and saw that she instructed the advanced girls in a combination the following way: They gathered around her, and with a few ballet terms, she motioned the combination using her hands alone. This was very interesting, because the students all immediately got it and were off and flying through the room.

Recently I viewed the film of Balanchine's career shown at City Ballet and there is a clip from a 50's TV show demonstrating how Balanchine choreographed. And I saw - he instructed his dancers with only a few ballet terms and he used his hands to indicate the steps!

Did Balanchine originate this technique of using hands to symbolize steps? Is this traditional in all ballet companies and academies? Is it from Russia?

I'd appreciate any information on this, as it piqued my curiosity.

#2 vipa


    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,364 posts

Posted 07 March 2011 - 06:36 PM

I don't think you will be able to find an origin. I think it is a natural thing for teachers to do when they can't or don't want to fully demonstrate steps. Every teacher I have had or seen, regardless of background has done this. Indicating with one's hands sees natural, just as one gestures while talking or giving a description - this is just describing steps.

#3 Mel Johnson

Mel Johnson

    Diamonds Circle

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,311 posts

Posted 07 March 2011 - 07:54 PM

Hand-marking is old, old as the hills, and not just limited to ballet. One George Washington biographer describes the General during a wartime ball, dancing the first dances full out, then as the evening grew long, he would begin to walk the figures, and do the more complex steps by hand-marking.

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users

Help support Ballet Alert! and Ballet Talk for Dancers year round by using this search box for your amazon.com purchases. (If it doesn't appear below, your computer's or browser's adblockers may have blocked display):