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Definition of BalletHow does Ballet differ from other dance?


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#31 Tom47

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 09:04 AM

[size=4][font=Times New Roman][font=comic sans ms,cursive]Karen, I have watched ballet on YouTube, but either because of my computer or my ability my experience, while positive, has not been great. [/font][/font][/size]

[size=4][font=comic sans ms,cursive]I would primarily classify ballet as an art, but I feel there is an overlap with sport also. I think of any kind of dance, gymnastics, synchronized swimming, cheerleading, figure skating, trampoline, acrobatics and maybe diving as being “Athletic Arts,” as far as I know I made up the term. My definition of an “Athletic Art” is an athletic activity whose primary purpose is beauty. In my mind the most important part of any “Athletic Art” is the beauty and I feel any overt competition distracts from the beauty. [font=Times New Roman] [font=Comic Sans MS]I just looked up the term “Athletic Arts” and I found out I didn’t invent it.[/font][/font][/font][/size]


[size=4][font=comic sans ms,cursive]Tom,[/font][/size]

#32 angelica

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 09:07 AM

P.S. Re: the importance of pointe shoes and their relation to ballet line: Pointe shoes are important, but not in and of themselves; rather, because they elongate the leg to its maximum, thus extending and enhancing the line, whereas demi-pointe, in ballet slippers, cuts off the line.

#33 AlbanyGirl

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 09:27 AM

[font=comic sans ms,cursive]As to your point about ballet being a sport,[/font]


Thank you, Tom, I appreciate the points you made. Just to clarify Tom's statement above, I never said ballet is a sport, rather that is is NOT a sport. I think that ballet's only connection to sport is the athleticism. The distinction, for me, is that ballet's aim is artistic expression for its own sake, while a sport's primary aim is competition and winning - the game, the match, meet, etc, regardless how beautiful the sport is.

#34 AlbanyGirl

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 09:30 AM

P.S. Re: the importance of pointe shoes and their relation to ballet line: Pointe shoes are important, but not in and of themselves; rather, because they elongate the leg to its maximum, thus extending and enhancing the line, whereas demi-pointe, in ballet slippers, cuts off the line.


I agree.

#35 angelica

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 09:35 AM


P.S. Re: the importance of pointe shoes and their relation to ballet line: Pointe shoes are important, but not in and of themselves; rather, because they elongate the leg to its maximum, thus extending and enhancing the line, whereas demi-pointe, in ballet slippers, cuts off the line.


I agree.


Thank you, AlbanyGirl!

#36 Tom47

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 09:55 AM

Yes, Albany Girl, you're right, I misspoke. I will edit it. Sorry.
Tom,

#37 AlbanyGirl

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 10:03 AM

The ballet line is composed of proportions and geometry, and a particularly elegant carriage of the upper body. It is about triangles created in various poses--check out those triangles--as well as the maintenance of turnout and pointed feet (yes, sometimes the choreographer can make alterations but these do not carry throughout an entire ballet). If you watch the videos of the Vaganova Academy students, for example, you can see even in the barre exercises where the dancers are not on pointe, the particular line that distinguishes ballet.

I had a male ballet teacher some time ago who only had to stand in fifth position (no pointe shoes) and you felt you were at the ballet, so perfect were the proportions, the turnout, the upper body carriage, the shape created by the muscles of the thighs and calves. I may admire the line to the horizon of a set of railroad tracks, but that is different from a ballet line.


The ballet line for me is something I feel I can see and understand but can't clearly articulate in words, so thanks for your comments, Angelica. Line can be described as proper alignment as defined by the particular school or syllabus, perhaps? You can definitely see it at the barre when a well-trained dancer is taking class,

#38 AlbanyGirl

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 10:08 AM

[font='comic sans ms', cursive]I would primarily classify ballet as an art, but I feel there is an overlap with sport also. I think of any kind of dance, gymnastics, synchronized swimming, cheerleading, figure skating, trampoline, acrobatics and maybe diving as being “Athletic Arts,” as far as I know I made up the term. My definition of an “Athletic Art” is an athletic activity whose primary purpose is beauty. In my mind the most important part of any “Athletic Art” is the beauty and I feel any overt competition distracts from the beauty. [/font][font='Times New Roman'] [font=Comic Sans MS]I just looked up the term “Athletic Arts” and I found out I didn’t invent it.[/font][/font]


I do like the term 'athletic art', however, and I agree that sports like figure skating and gymnastics have an aim to express beauty in addition to being competitive.

#39 AlbanyGirl

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 10:10 AM

Yes, Albany Girl, you're right, I misspoke. I will edit it. Sorry.
Tom,


oh, that's ok, Tom - I just wanted make it clear. Well, I guess I'd better sign off and get some Saturday work done!

#40 angelica

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 10:38 AM


The ballet line is composed of proportions and geometry, and a particularly elegant carriage of the upper body. It is about triangles created in various poses--check out those triangles--as well as the maintenance of turnout and pointed feet (yes, sometimes the choreographer can make alterations but these do not carry throughout an entire ballet). If you watch the videos of the Vaganova Academy students, for example, you can see even in the barre exercises where the dancers are not on pointe, the particular line that distinguishes ballet.

I had a male ballet teacher some time ago who only had to stand in fifth position (no pointe shoes) and you felt you were at the ballet, so perfect were the proportions, the turnout, the upper body carriage, the shape created by the muscles of the thighs and calves. I may admire the line to the horizon of a set of railroad tracks, but that is different from a ballet line.


The ballet line for me is something I feel I can see and understand but can't clearly articulate in words, so thanks for your comments, Angelica. Line can be described as proper alignment as defined by the particular school or syllabus, perhaps? You can definitely see it at the barre when a well-trained dancer is taking class,


Yes, you're exactly right, AlbanyGirl. It is, indeed, a matter of alignment, not a matter of opinion. My point has been that I have never seen a satisfactory definition of ballet line. So even though you and I are getting close to the thing, and we definitely know it when we see it, I would love to find a satisfying definition that is not tautological. By that I mean something that goes beyond "ballet line is the particular alignment of the body that is characterized by ballet."

Well, I'm going to be off this board for a week while I try not to break a leg skiing in Colorado. So I won't be hammering this point(e) (haha). But we're getting close, AlbanyGirl, and maybe sometime we can nail it. Thanks so much for responding. Sometimes one thinks one's posts are going into a black hole and it's so reassuring to know that they have clicked with someone out there.

#41 Tom47

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 11:19 AM

[size=4][font=Times New Roman][font=Comic Sans MS]Angelica, I know you said you were going away for a week, but I didn’t want you to think your posts were going into a “black hole.” I have been following your comments about ballet line and I realize that ballet line is not the same as lines in “action poses” or railroad tracks. These examples are just what came to my mind when thinking about ballet lines.[/font][/font]

[font=Times New Roman][font=Comic Sans MS]Tom, [/font][/font][/size]

#42 Quiggin

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 11:38 AM

The discussion on "Possessing a Beautiful Line" makes lots of good points – and interesting to see Gene Kelly's great performance in Singin in the Rain cited as an example.

But maybe line is something you never possess and never is in place at one moment, but is continually being defined – or drawn out – by the body and never arrived at.

For me ballet is also about "touch" in the way art critics use it about painting. How one touches the floor, the tactile quality of how the dancer touches the inner detail of the choreography. Vision and the sense of touch were divided into two independent systems of perception by Picasso and Braque in classic Cubism (which I've been reading a lot about lately, thus the analogy). Maybe we see and intellectualize ballet, say Balanchine's patterns – but at the same time we independently feel how the body is held and its line and touch.

*
Added: an example of ballet and what is "balletic" – line, touch, dancing without pointe shoes, possessing the stage, etc.

http://commons.wikim...a_nuit_1653.jpg

Louis XIV dans Le Ballet de la nuit (1653)

#43 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 11:38 AM

One thing...when trying to categorize modern things we see choreographed on pointe that are so different to the ideal works-(whatever that might be in one's mind...Petipa, Balanchine or Twyla's works on pointe)-, instead of saying "No, that's not ballet, that's gymnastics", or something along the lines, I realize it is wiser and less confusing to those who are new to the art form to talk about "bad ballet", "bad choreographies", "Modern ballet", "contemporary ballet", or even "gymnastic ballet". If we just cross them and let them out of the range, people will get even more confused. Classical case scenario, the infamous clip of that Chinese ballet troupe performing the acrobatic act. Yes, that is bad, circus-like, gymnastic ballet...

#44 Tom47

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 01:03 PM

[font=comic sans ms,cursive][size=4]This post is edited below.[/size][/font]
[font=comic sans ms,cursive][size=4]Tom,[/size][/font]

#45 Tom47

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 01:19 PM

[font=Times New Roman][size=3][font=comic sans ms,cursive][size=4]Quiggin, your point about touch is a good one. When I looked at the picture you linked to (from 1653) the dancer seems to have a certain care and delinquency of “touch,” the way the hands are held as if lightly and carefully touching something and the way the feet are positioned to touch the floor that I feel I have seen in modern day ballet dancers, almost like walking a tight rope. Thank you for the link.[/size][/font][/size][/font]

[size=4][font=comic sans ms,cursive]Tom,[/font][/size]

[size=4][font=comic sans ms,cursive]PS Does what I wrote make sense to anyone?[/font][/size]


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