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Calliope

Ballet in the dictionary (or not)

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A comment on another thread prompted me to look up the definition of ballet in the dictionary.

In Webster’s New College it’s defined as “an artistic dance from characterized by grace and precision of movement and an elaborate formal technique."

but no mention of pointe shoes (I'm assuming that's the technique they refer to)

so I looked "pointe shoe" and it's not listed. Toe shoe wasn't either.

maybe it's just the collegiate version, but is it in anyone else's?

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In my American Heritage dictionary (paperback), third edition, which is the only one I have handy at the moment, ballet is defined as "1. a classical dance form characterized by elaborate formal technique. 2. A choreographed theatrical presentation danced to a musical accompaniment. 3. A company that performs ballet."

No definition of pointe or toe shoe.

I think any dictionary would avoid mention of pointe shoes -- too explicit and narrowing of the definition, although something might turn up in one of the unabridged volumes.

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This piqued my curiosity so I dug out my dictionary and found...

The first definition of "ballet" in the Canadian Oxford Dictionary (thumb index edition) is: "a theatrical style of dancing using set steps and techniques and characterized esp. by movement with the legs turned out in the hip sockets and by the women dancing on pointe"

Finally...a mention of of turnout and pointe!

There are further definitions about it being a theatrical work using ballet, a music piece composed for a ballet, a performance of ballet, and a company perofrming ballet.

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From the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary,

Ballerina: A female ballet-dancer, esp. one who undertakes a leading role in classical ballet.

Ballet: (a theatrical performance of ) dancing and mime to music; a company performing this.

Under Point: point shoe A ballet shoe blocked at the toe for dancing on points; point-work Ballet dancing on points.

Pointe: Dancing. The tip of the toe. Also a dance movement executed on the tops of the toes.

Under Toe: Toe-dancer, a (ballet) dancer who dances on points; toe dancing, dancing on points; toe-shoe N. Amer. A ballet with a reinforced toe; a point shoe.

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