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Definition of BalletHow does Ballet differ from other dance?


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#1 Tom47

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 09:55 AM

[font=Times New Roman][size=3][size=3][font=Times New Roman]Hi, I’m new here, I have a strong interest in ballet, but I do not dance and I am not sure of all the technical aspects of ballet. What I would like people to explain are the technical differences between ballet and other forms of dance. That is, what are the characteristics of ballet that could distinguish it from other forms of dance? I understand that different varieties of dance most likely blend into one another and that not all ballet would have all of the same characteristics, but I would appreciate some ideas as to how one might distinguish ballet from other types of dance. [/font][/size][/size][/font]

[font=Times New Roman][size=3][size=3][font=Times New Roman]Tom,[/font][/size][/size][/font]

#2 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 02:31 PM

[font=Times New Roman][size=3][size=3][font=Times New Roman]Hi, I’m new here, I have a strong interest in ballet, but I do not dance and I am not sure of all the technical aspects of ballet. What I would like people to explain are the technical differences between ballet and other forms of dance. That is, what are the characteristics of ballet that could distinguish it from other forms of dance? I understand that different varieties of dance most likely blend into one another and that not all ballet would have all of the same characteristics, but I would appreciate some ideas as to how one might distinguish ballet from other types of dance. [/font][/size][/size][/font]

[font=Times New Roman][size=3][size=3][font=Times New Roman]Tom,[/font][/size][/size][/font]


Pointe shoes, pointe shoes, pointe shoes! (I know, I know...all that Sheherezade situation, but...Posted Image )

#3 Helene

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 02:51 PM

Juliette in Maillot's "Romeo et Juliette" wears pointe shoes, but that doesn't make it ballet. Pointe shoes are a clue, but ballet was an art for centuries before pointe shoes were invented and pointe technique became developed and prominent. Or as Marc Haegeman posted over a decade ago,

Sometimes, very simplified, it's used as a synonym for ballet or dance with pointe shoes (usually distinct from "contemporary dance"). That's definitely not enough.


Since we're a site whose mission it is to discuss classical ballet and its development into neoclassicism, here are some links that address the question:

Classicism forum
Classicism #2 - definition and uses





#4 Tom47

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 05:58 PM

Thank you both for your answers. Helene, I am looking forward to reading the links you posted.
Tom,

#5 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 08:57 PM

Juliette in Maillot's "Romeo et Juliette" wears pointe shoes, but that doesn't make it ballet. Pointe shoes are a clue, but ballet was an art for centuries before pointe shoes were invented and pointe technique became developed and prominent. Or as Marc Haegeman posted over a decade ago,

Sometimes, very simplified, it's used as a synonym for ballet or dance with pointe shoes (usually distinct from "contemporary dance"). That's definitely not enough.



I agree. "Not enough..."..."not only.." et al, but, I think it could be an honest, easy and ample start that has to do a lot with most of what we discuss here. Then, extra research and fine tuning can be done, or course...

#6 Amy Reusch

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 07:50 AM

One could say it has to do with where the center of balance is held in the dancer and how it is held in relation to leg extensions... And how much turn-out in the supporting hip socket is maintained... How the spine is supported. But the problem still stays with "how".

There are plenty of superb internationally renowned world class ballet dancers today who have never put on pointe shoes.

Perhaps also the classical training discipline comes into play... Technique is almost more important than personal movement signature.

The problem is that ballet shares so many defining qualities with so many other forms of dance, but never all it's defining qualities.

But, I will say, ballet dancers usually seem to still look like ballet dancers when they try out other dance forms because of the way they carry themselves and the manner in which they attack movement.

#7 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 11:02 AM

There are plenty of superb internationally renowned world class ballet dancers today who have never put on pointe shoes.


That is new for me, Amy. Let's take a random woman who dances. Even if she takes barre excercises, but still doesn't conquer-(by choice or not)-the pointe technique, and dances in a company that does not requires pointes...would she still be considered a ballet dancer...? I would not say so. I think for a woman to be said to be involved in ballet world she has put those pointes on and show them to the world. As per the rest, they are just "dancers". (Good thing in Spanish we make a very ample black and white distinction in between "Ballet" and "Danza". Flamenco female dancers make also the distinction in between their art and the rest, including ballet. They are "Bailaoras", vs. the pointe "Bailarinas". In English everybody is a "dancer").

#8 Amy Reusch

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 11:21 AM

Are you saying David Hallberg is not a ballet dancer? Carlos Acosta?

#9 Tom47

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 01:31 PM

[size=5][font=Times New Roman][font=Times New Roman]Amy thank you for your comment. It is the type of thing that I am looking for. It makes sense to me that ballet dancers hold themselves and support themselves differently. I will be looking for that the next time I watch ballet, which maybe tonight. A dancer once described to me the difference between ballet and modern dance as with ballet one is always in control, for example by “falling” to the floor, but with modern dance the dancer just lets herself fall and is not necessarily in control. I think I remember that right.[/font][/font]

[font=Times New Roman][font=Times New Roman]Tom,[/font][/font][/size]

#10 Tom47

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 01:33 PM

[size=5][font=Times New Roman][font=Times New Roman]Cubanmiamiboy, as before thank you for your replies, however, as been pointed out I think ballet is more than dancing on pointe or toe dancing. For example, it seems to me that men do not dance on pointe and are ballet dancers. Also, I’ve seen ballets where, at least some of the female dancers do not wear pointe shoes or dance on pointe. (Am I saying that correctly?) I agree that toe dancing is common in ballet, but I do not feel it is a necessary or sufficient characteristic of the dance form. [size="3"] [/size][font="Times New Roman"][size=3][size="3"]That is there could be ballet without toe dancing and that toe dancing is not automatically ballet.[/size][/size][/font][/font][/font][/size]


[size=5][font=Times New Roman][font=Times New Roman]Tom,[/font][/font][/size]

#11 angelica

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 01:36 PM

Would anyone like to tackle a definition of "line"? I know it when I see it, but I've never been able to find a definition that isn't tautological.

#12 Tom47

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 01:41 PM

[size=5]Angelica, I would also like to hear a definition of "line" although I may not know it even when I see it.[/size]

[size=5]Tom,[/size]

#13 ascballerina

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 02:01 PM

There's a wonderful discussion on the sister board, Ballet Talk for Dancers, about line...I haven't been on this board long enough to know about any others.
Possessing a Beautiful Line

#14 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 02:04 PM

Are you saying David Hallberg is not a ballet dancer? Carlos Acosta?


Let's note I talked about "female dancers", and also that "ballet is woman"...Posted Image . Men are there mainly tu support, but the clear distinction in between ballet and contemporary dancing is done mainly by females dancing on pointe vs. not.

#15 Amy Reusch

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 02:06 PM

I would say ballet dancers draw themselves up higher than most modern techniques. It is tricky because a Graham dancer holds themselves differently than a Cunningham dancer, both are different ftom Limon, Horton, release technique I believe is something different still. Perhaps ballroom is more similar? But possibly not latin? And Flamenco dancers seem to hold themselves quite high but with energy driving downward... There is so much fusion nowadays, it makes citing differences even harder.


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