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altongrimes

Diagonals

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I am mystified by the term "diagonals". I encounter this term from time to time when I read a review, for example or when watching a rehearsal. If it's not too much trouble, I wonder if someone would care to bring a little understanding to this concept?

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The direction a dancer travels from the upstage left or right corner to the opposite downstage corner.  Think back to geometry class, the diagonal is the longest line that can be drawn through a shape.

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Doris Humphrey, who was one of the founders of American modern dance, was also an excellent composition teacher and mentor.  Her book, "The Art of Making Dances," which came out in the 1950s, is still used by composition teachers.  She believed that the diagonal was the most powerful pathway on stage, and that any movement that was performed on one of the diagonals would read much more clearly than it would in any other location.

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Sorry to be so late in expressing my thank you to "pherank" and "sandik" for your truly fascinating replies. There is such a treasure to be discovered through the Senior Members ! Such a wealth of experience there. I will study your thoughts and video recommendation very carefully. Excited to receive your postings... you have made my day !

Edited by altongrimes
grammar

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On 12/12/2016 at 11:18 AM, altongrimes said:

Sorry to be so late in expressing my thank you to "pherank" and "sandik" for your truly fascinating replies. There is such a treasure to be discovered through the Senior Members ! Such a wealth of experience there. I will study your thoughts and video recommendation very carefully. Excited to receive your postings... you have made my day !

The diagonal, as Humphrey said, is powerful. For this reason, it is *frequently*  used at the end of a variation or coda, for the most brilliant (or one of the most brilliant) passage in the choreography. Pirouettes, fouettes, brises, grands jetes, etc, alone or in combination are often used here. A diagonal is frequently the last line of steps in a variation or pas de deux and sometimes even in corps choreography :)

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