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In need of a ballet vocabulary video


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#1 MakarovaFan

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 10:30 AM

Though I've made several hundred posts on Ballet Talk and have been a balletomane since the age of 12, I know very little about the vocabulary of steps that make up the art. Basically I know what an arabesque, attitude, jete and bouree are and that's it. I want to become well-acquainted with ballet terminology to make my already fun and rewarding ballet and BalletTalk experience even better.

I found at my local library a Kultur dvd titled "Video Dictionary of Classical Ballet" This is how it looks on Amazon: http://www.amazon.co...onary of ballet

Would this dvd be a good way to educate myself? Thanks!

#2 puppytreats

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 10:35 AM

Melissa, I felt the same way and I received the video as a birthday gift. I have found that certain terms are used differently on the video than on this board. It is still useful.

#3 Juliet

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 10:46 AM

You can also use this for instant reference when you're online:

http://www.abt.org/e...nary/index.html

#4 emilienne

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 11:37 AM

The Royal Ballet has also released a series of "Insight" videos for illustration of simple steps. Unfortunately there does not seem to be a specific playlist devoted to it.

Start here for the Fred Step:

All of the other Insight videos are accessible through the playlist linked at the bottom.

#5 mimsyb

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 10:55 AM

There are so many good books about ballet technique (some better than others, and some out of print), but believe it or not
Ballet for Dummies (yes, the familiar yellow and black front) is not at all bad for vocabulary, etc. and many, many other issues about ballet. It's edited by Evelyn Cisneros, ex ballerina of San Francisco Ballet. Available on Amazon.

#6 puppytreats

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 12:51 PM

There are so many good books about ballet technique (some better than others, and some out of print), but believe it or not
Ballet for Dummies (yes, the familiar yellow and black front) is not at all bad for vocabulary, etc. and many, many other issues about ballet. It's edited by Evelyn Cisneros, ex ballerina of San Francisco Ballet. Available on Amazon.


This book is good for beginners, but understanding terms for movement based on a book is difficult.

#7 mimsyb

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 03:16 PM

I agree that a book alone would be difficult to explain the technique. Many books, video and either observing or taking a class would all be beneficial. Yet MArkarovaFan's admission to being aware of about four or five steps would seem to me to be a candidate to start somewhere near the beginning. Everyone has to start somewhere and go on from there. Ballet for Dummies is but one place to begin. While specific, one of my favorites is Suki Schorer's Balanchine Technique. Another might be Gretchen Ward Warren's Classical Ballet Technique. My first ballet technique book was The Ballet Lover's Pocket Book by Kay Ambrose. Published in 1949 and long out of print, it still holds up as a good go to source. (also shows how old I am!) Any attempt at understanding the classical technique is a life time occupation! Lovely!

#8 ksk04

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 03:57 PM

The Royal Ballet has also released a series of "Insight" videos for illustration of simple steps. Unfortunately there does not seem to be a specific playlist devoted to it.


All of the other Insight videos are accessible through the playlist linked at the bottom.


I would definitely second the Royal Ballet's youtube channel so that you can envision what those steps look like before delving into any books on steps/technique. Along the lines if mimsyb's suggestion of watching a class, I would recommend the video of the Royal Ballet's daily class on their youtube channel. The ballet mistress (Olga) talks them through most of the exercises and it's very interesting when the interviewer isn't talking over her.

http://youtu.be/5EVMjnHFg-w

#9 ksk04

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 06:40 PM

I thought of another online resource! The blog The Ballet Bag posted a glossary of terms complete with video references from clips of ballets. It's pretty thorough: http://www.theballet...g/bag-of-steps/

#10 Cliff

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 08:56 PM

I found at my local library a Kultur dvd titled "Video Dictionary of Classical Ballet" This is how it looks on Amazon: http://www.amazon.co...onary+of+ballet

Would this dvd be a good way to educate myself? Thanks!


I purchased that DVD with the same goal of learning the names of the steps. I barely remember any of them because each basic step seemed to have a dozen minor variations. No fault of the DVD.

#11 Pamela Moberg

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Posted 15 July 2012 - 02:59 PM

There is a useful little book by Leo Kersley -please see obituaries - with ballet terms in French explained. It is called "A dictionary of ballet terms". Might be out of print now, but might be available second hand. Then there is Anna Paskevska's "Both sides of the mirror". but that is a more scientific approach, nevertheless splendid at explaining movement. Not actually a dictionary, more a series of lectures and not aimed specifically at the spectator.

#12 angelica

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 08:08 AM

MakarovaFan, would it be possible for you to take some basic beginner ballet classes so that you can "live" the movements? I understand that adult ballet classes have become quite the rage in New York City--I don't know where you live or whether that would work for you. I'm 100 years old (well, not quite, but you get the idea) and there are people in my class who started in their 30s and 40s. I had lessons as a child but then stopped for 37 years. Went back to classes about five years ago. That being said, you don't want to do anything to injure yourself, so as an adult you have to be cautious in what you do.

#13 Birdsall

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 11:39 AM

MakarovaFan, I am in the same boat as you, and everyone has given excellent advice. The Royal Ballet's YouTube videos were a great help to me. The book Classical Ballet Technique by Gretchen Ward Warren, by the way, helped but I agree with the person that seeing still pictures with descriptions doesn't quite help me the way I thought, because questions remain.I think watching videos of the steps is much better. Also, just making friends on this Ballet Talk and meeting people like Cristian who has pointed things out on a video has helped me.

Angelica gave the same advice Bart once gave me: take a ballet class.....but.......I will say this....be warned....

I have been a yogi for years, and women in yoga classes who can turn their bodies into pretzels (I can not) have told me that I have good flexibility for the average man.....well, I was late to a yoga class at Exhale spa in Chicago one time, and the woman behind the desk told me I could not go in b/c yoga class had started already, but I could attend a class that is their own creation "CoreFusion" that started in 20 minutes. She told me it had yoga, Pilates, weights, and barre work from ballet all fused together. She assured me I could do it if I have been doing yoga for years.

Well, when I came out of the class, and she asked, "How was it?" my response was, "I should kill you!!!" LOL She got a scared look on her face, and I had to explain I was joking, but I hated it! LOL

The barre work was by far the hardest of all of it. I could not stand it!!!!

But women tend to have better flexibility than the average man from my experience, so maybe you will like it. Your experience might not be as horrifying as mine. I don't think I will ever take a ballet class for adults after getting a taste of what I did. However, maybe a beginning ballet class for adults would not be like the hyper crazy stuff I did in Core Fusion (the instructor wore a headphone, by the way).

I have decided to stick to yoga! I can still appreciate the human form moving in ballet by having done Pilates and yoga for years. It isn't really the same but it helps you understand just how hard a deep back bend is and what strength is involved in Warrior 3 (standing on one leg as your other leg and torso go out perpendicular to the standing leg) which gives some idea what an arabesque feels like. Of course, a yoga course won't help you with terminology of ballet, so I am going off tangent....I just want to say, "Prepare your mind for horrors!" if you decide to take a ballet course! LOL

#14 carbro

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 11:35 PM

The barre work was by far the hardest of all of it. I could not stand it!!!!

On the other hand, I loved barre -- but not at first. After a while, it became a ritual of closing my mind to the rest of the day, feeling my body prepare itself for the dancing ahead.

I really think learning a few basics, getting some ballet into your body, makes it easier to decipher still photos and diagrams. In class, you also learn to perceive movement better -- just by doing. Watching ballet performances becomes almost participatory as you feel your muscles sympathetically mimick (on a minute scale) the steps the dancers on stage do. Posted Image

#15 Birdsall

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 11:54 AM

The barre work was by far the hardest of all of it. I could not stand it!!!!

On the other hand, I loved barre -- but not at first. After a while, it became a ritual of closing my mind to the rest of the day, feeling my body prepare itself for the dancing ahead.

I really think learning a few basics, getting some ballet into your body, makes it easier to decipher still photos and diagrams. In class, you also learn to perceive movement better -- just by doing. Watching ballet performances becomes almost participatory as you feel your muscles sympathetically mimick (on a minute scale) the steps the dancers on stage do. Posted Image


I agree with you in theory! LOL


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