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Yay Hans!

I am going to recommend my dancers look at your very informative comments (especially since partnering--much of your post--is so hard to come by with so few boys available at so few schools for the training students).

I also find rehhearsals very informative and enlightening.

Thanks Defjef for your enthusiasm and the good questions.

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What are some specific "things" dancers do which personalize a role? They cannot change the choreography... yes or no?

DefJef, you might find it illuminating to watch dancers rehearsing with a coach. There are a number of commercial recordings that show portions of rehearsals. If you're interested, the Dancer's Dream series, featuring Paris Opera Ballet productions of Sleeping Beauty, Raymonda, and La Bayadere, would be a good place to start.

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I have thought about trying to see rehearsals at both the Met and the ABT... if that is possible for someone who is not a professional such as myself.

On the one hand I would imagine I might discover some of the answers to the questions I find swirling in my head answered as the performers prepare their magic. On the other hand I love the feeling of not seeing the nuts and bolts and just experiencing the finished work of art.

I have similar conflict about actually seeing an artist outside of their medium. This is not that I place them on a pedestal (which I do to some extent)... but I am not sure that it would add to my experience and illusions which are created by seeing only the "performance".

For the dancers, teachers and so on, it may be hard to even uderstand the place I am seeing this from as they are so intimately involved with every aspect of dance and I am merely a consumer of their talent and hard work.

Would you or others here at BT recommend that I DO try to see some of these magnificant works in rehearsal? Is this something that balletomanes who are not dancers or ex dancers etc inevitably do at some point? What I fear is that I will see all sorts of matters of timing and very minor technical things being sorted out as opposed to the etheral matters which attract me so much now.

Your point about interaction of dancers is well taken and I can see this with my binocs which is much harder to see without them. There is in fact, more "acting" (interacting) taking place than I would have thought. My previous notion was that to see a ballet was like seeing a human clockwork in time/space/motion. How wrong I was!

And how amazing it is that so many of these young dancers possess so much artistry in those bodies at such an early stage in their lives.


thanks for the suggestion kfw

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Def Jef, I think it might do you a lot of good to watch some ballet classes and see how dancers prepare. A lot would be explained rightt here -- other mysteries would arise, but seeing the academy in action would clarify the basics. I doubt very seriously that it would harm your enjoyment of performances.

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The difficult part would be finding a school or company that would allow you to watch its rehearsals, as usually that sort of thing is reserved for people who donate large amounts of money. Parents are usually allowed to watch school dress rehearsals--perhaps you could tag along if you have any friends with relatives who dance? Be warned, though, you are right that rehearsal can be insufferably dull. Not always, but sometimes. kfw's suggestion of the "Dancer's Dream" series is a good one, as those documentaries go through what goes into producing a ballet without getting too dry and boring. Perhaps that would be a good first step and then if you decide you would like to see more, you could maybe look into attending a dress rehearsal or something.


Regarding dancers relating to each other onstage, one of the most beautiful examples I've seen of this occurred with no eye contact at all. In Act II of the Kirov's Giselle, Hilarion performs a diagonal of tours chaînés deboulés toward the lake where he drowns, and as he does so, the Wili corps performed a sort of wavelike movement--standing pointe tendue derrière, each did a temps lié en arrière, bending her upper body slightly and as she did so, she allowed her fingers to lightly brush the back of the dancer in front of her, which was how the next dancer knew when to do the step and continue the "wave." It was extremely impressive and done so deftly that I really didn't know quite how they did it until I thought about it later.

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First of all I have to say that I am a person who did not know the existance of ballet untill few years a go. With this background of mine it completely depends on each reader s openness and personality whether to believe the things I have been writing on ballet talk or not to believe a word out of them. In my opinion it is not the amount of the years or experience that matters but it is the ability to see things clearly that really matters.

Defjef , on top of evey thing that has been suggested to you I would reccomend you to watch the movie Pinocchio by Roberto Benigni and study why Benigni can look like a child and a puppet so much. You will find answers to your question. I know that it is different from ballet and also that in ballet world only few people have matched Benigni s genious in that matter but I think the basic ways of characterizations or acting a character are similar.

vrsFanatic, with all due respect to your long years of involvement with ballet and you as a ballet teacher , I am afraid I have to say that I feel you have not understood what I wrote. I will make it short . I believe awareness is not a thought process. As a matter of fact it is completely opposite of thought process because it is a state of mind devoid of thoughts. Since you brought thinking in to the topic I will give you my opinion about it. Thinking is not a bad thing while dancing , only you have to differentiate between thinking and being preoccupied and have to think every thing in advance.

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Omshanti, I am not quite sure that I was speaking directly to you in any of my posts, however I do believe we are saying the same thing. As in any profession, thinking could also be a level of awareness. In dance the educational process is to develop the body and mind into one. Respect is given also to you for your abilty to put into words many things I am not able to do. I thank all of you who have shed a shining star on an aspect of ballet that I have never been able to put a finger on. It is indeed intriguing and inspiring. :D

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