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Male Dancers En-pointe

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I've been reading through that very taking conversation about the same-gender PDD's, and reading specifically about male-male duets, when I realized that for a while I really really wanted to learn more about male dancers performing en-pointe.

I've heard that there is(are) a trouppe(s) in Europe, and that there is a male ballet in St.Petersburg which has some pieces performed en-pointe. I would very much appreciate if somebody could tell me the names of the dancers, or ballet trouppes, or even refer me to some sites on internet with more information/images on this topic (is technique for male dancers any differnt from female dancers? what it takes for a male dancer to master en-pointe technique?). I WOULD LOVE TO KNOW AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE ABOUT THAT!

I consider this an extremely interesting and exciting thing - as pointe shoes are very much associated with female dancers, however, I realize it takes a lot of strength and stamina to dance en-pointe, and so there is nothing 'girly' (or 'mushy') about dancing on pointe shoes.

Any male members of this site who happen to have the experience of pointe-dancing? anyone who happens to have seen such performances?



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Here's a link to the St. Petersburg Male Ballet:


And a link to the Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo:


The latter is a more overtly satirical group, but they have dancers with some impressive technique.

I've done some pointe work in a ballet that was supposed to represent some Georgian/Circassian male dancing, but I had pointe shoes built into my boots, sort of a cheat, I know, but it worked. However, I have never been so glad to see a ballet go into inactive repertoire as that one.

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Thank you for all the referrals on INet i've got about male dancers performing en-pointe.

It looks like I've been dreaming of impossible: what I meant were not actually male dancers [cross]dressed as female ones, but male dancers doing something like Mel J. has mentioned in his reply - a 'manly' piece, made for a male dancer, not guys 'stealing' roles from gals.

I remember, reading through the Toronto Ballet section a couple of weeks ago, I've ran into Paquita's description of a pre-performance 'ballet talk' given by Alexander Grant (not quite sure about that person's first name, but his last name was Grant). He is a retired dancer himself, as I figured from Paquita's post. So, in his 'ballet talk' AG mentioned that he had a role to perform en-pointe in a ballet called DREAM. His role's title was 'Bottom'.

Two questions here: #1 - (being a non-native English-speaker) I know there are at least two meanings to the word 'bottom' in English language: first one - is a lower part of something; and second meaning - is a part of human body. To spare myself an embarrassement from talking of something I wouldn't, would it be my native language - did the AG's role title mean either of those two things I've just mentioned, or NEITHER?

Question #2: what kind of role was that in "Dream" - another bit of cross-dressing, or 'real man's' staff?

Will very much appreciate any word on that.

As per Trockaderos'/St.Pete dancers - can't bear the view of guys doing cross-dressing, esp. in ballet (hope nobody's feelings will be hurt by this remark, I don't mean to).

Still, would love to hear about that role of Alexander Grant in "Dream" - if someone would happen to know something about it.

Thanks again ~*~* Marianna

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Marianna, to make matters worse, Shakespeare named the character Nick Bottom, and that means what you think it means. Bottom is a considerable loudmouthed clod among his crowd of rustics.

In "The Dream" Bottom does sort of cross-dress - he becomes a jackass by an enchantment. The pointe shoes are "hooves" and they even provide the necessary "clip-clop"!:cool:

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Oh, is that the "Midsummernight Dream' THAT "Dream" was about?

I guess, I could bear a sight of man dressed like a donkey (as long as the gender remains unchanged) and pointe-shoes used as an imitation for hooves - THANK YOU MEL :cool: That is what I was after! Naturally, there is no way for me to see that "Dream"-ballet live (i wonder if there is a video-tape of that ballet? I would LOVE to see it!!)

Boy, I wish there would be someone OUT THERE who could come over here to Almaty - just for a difference - to create a ballet like that!!! Our folks would love that!!!!! (I mean the dancers)

Changing the topic from pointe-shoes wearing male dancers: how realistic, do you think would that be to try to get in touch with someone from US/Canada/Europe who would be willing to work in Central Asia - to create something new, or to stage something that was already created, but NOT classic ballet? (I can't count how many Swan Lakes, Don Quixotes, La Sylphide and Les Sylphides i've seen in our theater here - not that I am fed up with those pieces, but variety in a ballet diet wouldn't hurt either :()

Thanks and cheers~*~* Marianna

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Marianna, yes indeed, Frederick Ashton's "The Dream" is after Shakespeare's "A midsummer night's dream". George Balanchine also made a ballet after the same play, and last summer there even was a discussion on this site about both ballets:


I haven't seen any of them, so didn't participate...

There are some photos from "The Dream" (including one with Bottom on pointe) on the following page:


About your last question (which would perhaps deserve a thread of its own): aren't there some dancers in the Almaty Ballet who are aspiring choreographers and would like to create some new works to add to the repertory?

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Merci Estelle :) THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH for referring me Mirella Dance site! I was absolutely delighted to browse through that beautifully done site! It seems like I will continue going through it - with a great interest.

And I am very happy to see that I've finally found what I was looking for - en-pointe role for a male dancer (vs. cross-dressers men). Do you happen to know if there are any more parts for male dancers to be performed en-pointe - in some other ballets? It seems to be an un-discovered universe to me - however, judging by Mel J.'s remark - guys don't like the pain that comes with dancing en-pointe :)


Here in Almaty (think former Soviet Union) we are quite deprived from getting the news and updates on what is going on in the ballet world in the Western hemisphere - books and video-tapes are impossible to come by unless one travels to US or Canada. Thank goodness for BALLET magazine published in Russia monthly - one can find articles on Western choreographers, dancers and ballets of different time periods, but it wouldn't be a full-flow of information, just bits and pieces :).

And, OF COURSE, THANK GOODNESS for this site which is becoming my great and much-appreciated source of self-eductation about ballet and related issues. Besides, it gave me a great oppurtinity to meet all those most interesting people like you, Estelle, and others who know lots and lots about the subject of my passion and generously share their knowledge and ideas with me and others.

And thanks for your answer to my question - pointing out that some choreographers 'from here' might come up with something new in our theater here - got your point :) . There are a few pieces (so-called ballet miniatures) created by our ballerinas/dancers. However, we seem to currently lack some real big choreographer who'd have a capability to create a new ballet which would become another masterpiece. And our dancers are starving for some new ballet(s) and some 'fresh air/fresh person' in the theater. So my question remains current, i'd say :)

Salute, Marianna

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I wouldn't say that my problem was pain, but that the fact that the part included pointe was sprung on me with only two weeks to go to the opening. That was overcome as time went on. The real difficulty, which wouldn't go away, was that it was twenty-five nonstop minutes of Georgian/Circassian character work. Hard work, any way you look at it! If I were on any other works on the program, it could make me sleep real well that night.;)

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Sorry, I misinterpreted your first reply, Mel - thought that pain might have contributed to your feeling glad that that piece went out of repertoire.

So, after you've had that experience of dancing en-pointe, what are your feelings about it? Did you enjoy the moments of being en-pointe or no warm feelings remained? Would you please share your thoughts on this issue - i am very much interested in hearing men's opinions.

(I wonder what were Alexander Grants' sentiments about his experience of performing Bottom????)

And to take this issue further - do you believe that some classes of pointe technique may be offered to boys studying ballet at school - at their young age (vs. young men having to master it at older age than ballerinas do), or even included as a new discipline for boys in ballet schools? I realize that there is not a whole lot of ballets with roles created specifically for male dancers to be performed en-pointe, however, who knows maybe in the future there will be more of those ballets?



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I had a very enjoyable time with the pointe work once I got used to it, and actually it was only used three or four times in that whole twenty-five minutes, sort of like punctuation. The first entrance I had, very early on in the piece, I got boosted onto the stage by a couple of the other guys and landed in a first neutral position on pointe. I always could hear a gasp from the audience, and once or twice, a male voice, going, "Ow!";) There were a lot of hops on pointe in various attitudes, and one set of turns that alternated turning on my knees and then on my feet - sort of like chainés done inside a big water pipe! As I said before, this thing for me was all dancing. Once I was on, it never stopped, not even for just walking around. Some parts were tougher than others, but it was more difficult than "Polovtsian Dances" which I've also done.

I think that male dancers can use pointe with profit to build strength and stretch to the feet, and they should be allowed to take pointe classes if they want them. It's not necessary, but perhaps useful for the right students.

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I can recall the role of the Fop in Bronislava Nijinska's short-lived "Les Facheux" and the Devil (Mr. Red Jacket) in Massine's "Fair at Sorochinsk", both roles danced by Anton Dolin, and the part of Pierrot in Balanchine's "Harlequinade" and one of Bianca's suitors in Cranko's Taming of the Shrew. These two latter parts being momentary risings done in soft shoes.

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I don't know about Alexander Grant's experiences of dancing Bottom, but there was a story about David Bintley is that role. His first performances were a matinee and evening performance on the same day. He got through the matinee woth no ill problems, took the shoes off and went to relax for a while. A couple of hours later he warmed up for the eving performance and put the shoes back on - and spent the rest of the night in agony.

Another male role danced on pointe is in "L'Enfant et les Sortilèges" in the Dutch National Ballet repertoire (could be Kylian, but I wouldn't swear to it). the aarmchair is male, has pointe shoes at the front and wheels at the back - basically the dancer is in a sitting position within the costume (I've always thought that must be a killer). In the video, Stephen Sheriff takes that role.

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Guest Sassybeaver

I have done pointe and i found it helpful to my technique. I started doing it to help my arches but I just startde doing more. I love doing piques and doubles. Pirouettes were not my strong pointe( pardon the pun ) I was always afraid because a girl in my class hurt her ankle( but she had a habit of sickling sooooo). It's very interesting. I have seen another male dancer do the dying swan and it was quite comedic. It's very hard to find shoes.


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Thanks for writing Adrien :cool:

I feel exactly the same way - pointe shoes are good for a dancer's foot (regardless of a gender) and there is more to it than just exercise - there is also a great pleasure (i believe) one experiences during that exercise (at least i had that experience when i've taken lessons en-pointe - i'm not a professional dancer, but am deeply and seriously in love with ballet and many things about it).

It is also interesting that you're saying that the Dying Swan performed by a male dancer en-pointe seemed rather comical.

I often speak with the ballerinas and dancers of our Opera and Ballet Theater - one of the dancers, who's 18 years old said that the Dying Swan was really COOL, but couldn't really explain why. I guess, it was the novelty that looked cool to him, not the performance as a piece to be seriously taken ( i haven't seen that piece, so i wonder if it was meant to be 'comedic', or it just happened beyond the desire of a dancer who performed it?).

AND I also asked several young dancers from our Ballet if they'd like to practice AND perform some pieces en-pointe - two out of three said YES! I guess, sometime in the future, en-pointe classes for boys may be added to the ballet school programs (but no tutu-wearing! :)

PS I loved your signature sayings!

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