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Ballet austin ballet basics handbook

Apr 07, 2016

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  • BALLET BASICS HANDBOOK

  • Moreinformationavailableonlineatwww.balletaustin.org.Questionsandregistrations,contactPeiSanBrown,CommunityEducationDirector,[email protected]

    2

    INTRODUCTION

    Numerous reasons leadpeople toparticipate indanceasdancestudents,performers,andpatrons.Dance students experience the satisfaction of finally conquering a difficult dance combination.Performers live for the thrillof steppingout into thebright lightsandexcitinganeageraudience.Dancepatronsenjoytheexquisiteexpressionofthewellconditionedbodythroughmovement.Itisthennowonderthatdanceitselfisfoundintherootsofeveryculture,andthatdanceisacelebratedartformthroughouttheworld.

    Thefollowingpagesprovidegeneralinformationaboutballet.Webeginwiththeevolutionofballet,from the early courtdances to thepreciseperformingart that exists today. Nextwedescribe thestudyof classicalballet and the intense training that is essential to thedevelopment and lifeof aprofessional dancer. We then venture into the studio and describe a typical day in the life of adancer. Finally,weconcludewith theexcitementofproductionweek,when thedancershead intothetheaterandeveryonemakesthefinalpreparationsforperformance.

    ClaytonSydnor,BalletAustinIIdancer,19992001MichelleMartin,AssociateArtisticDirectorPeiSanBrown,CommunityEducationDirector

    Cover:BalletAustinsAaraKrumpe,photobyHannahNeal

  • Moreinformationavailableonlineatwww.balletaustin.org.Questionsandregistrations,contactPeiSanBrown,CommunityEducationDirector,[email protected]

    3

    HISTORY OF BALLET

    Early Court Dances

    Humans expressed thoughts and emotions through movementlong before the development of speech. However, for ourpurpose,wewillbeginatthepointwheredancewasrelieduponas a formof entertainment. Theoriginsofballet canbe tracedback to the Renaissance period and the early court dances inFranceand Italy. Anycelebratoryoccasion,suchas thebirthofan heir or an influential marriage would call for social courtdancing. All ladies and gentlemen of the court learned theseratherintricatedancesaspartoftheirgroomingforsociety.

    Ballet Masters and Choreographers

    Aroundthe1400s,asthecourtdancesbecamemoredetailedandcomplicated,itbecamenecessarytoformallycodifythesedancesto maintain consistency. Special dance instructors or BalletMastersbegan toappear. Thesemenwerehighly reveredandconsidered to be the finestdance teachers.They also served asdancemakersorchoreographers,creatingdancesthatwereusedthroughoutEurope.KingLouisXIVhadaprofoundinfluenceontheprogressionofballet. Notonlywasheanavidsupporterofdance,hewasalsoabelovedperformer.Infact,KingLouisXIViscommonlyreferredtoastheSunKing,anamehereceivedafterappearingornatelyadornedingoldasApollo,godofthesun,inLeBalletdelaNuit(TheBalletoftheNight).

    King Louis XIV as the Sun God in Le Ballet de la Nuit

  • Moreinformationavailableonlineatwww.balletaustin.org.Questionsandregistrations,contactPeiSanBrown,CommunityEducationDirector,[email protected]

    4

    First Ballet School

    In1661,KingLouisXIVestablishedtheworldsfirstballetschool,the Academie Royale de Danse (Royal Academy of Dance).PierreBeauchamps,aBalletMasterattheschool,iscreditedwithdevelopingthefivebasicfootpositionsofballet.Thesepositionsarestillthebasisforallclassicalballetsteps,andareuniversallyunderstoodeventhoughtheirnamesareintheFrenchlanguage.Anotherprominentdancerof this timewas JeanBaptisteLully,responsible forstartingwhat is todayknownas theParisOperaBallet. Lullynotonlybegandistinguishingprofessionaldancersfrom courtiers, he also includedwomen.Previously, balletwasalmostexclusivelyperformedbymales.

    The Pre-Romantic Period

    AsthePreRomanticperiodbeganintheearly1800s,muchofthedancevocabulary (codifiedstepsandpositions)used todaywasalready in place and womens skirts had been shortened tounheardoflengths(justabovetheankle).The PreRomantic period ismost noted as the origin of pointework.TheItaliandancerMarieTaglioni,whowaseighteenyearsoldatthetime,isgenerallyconsideredtobethefirstballerinatodanceenpointe,balancingandmovingontheendsofhertoes.

    Pierre Beauchamps

    Marie Taglioni in La Gitana

  • Moreinformationavailableonlineatwww.balletaustin.org.Questionsandregistrations,contactPeiSanBrown,CommunityEducationDirector,[email protected]

    5

    The Romantic Period

    Theperiod from18301870 isconsidered theRomanticPeriodofclassicalballet.Romanticisnowusedtorefertoaspecificstyleofmovement that was popular during that era. Ballets from thisperiod utilize a very specific, soft line of the body and arms.Marie Taglioni performed in the Romantic ballet La Sylphide(choreographedbyherfather),wearingafittedbodicewithabellshapeddressapredecessorofthetutuyettocome.Aswomenspointework reachednew levels, theRomanticperiodmarkedashiftingenderroles,aswomenstolethespotlight.

    The Russian Classics

    Following theRomanticPeriod,Russian classicalballet tookoff inSt. Petersburg in the late 1800s with the choreography of MariusPetipaandhisassociate,LevIvanov.Asthetechnicalabilitiesofthedancers increased, Petipa created very challenging, fulllengthclassic ballets for them to dance. These classic ballets alwaysincludedapasdedeux(dancefortwo)forthemaleandfemaleleaddancersfollowedbyadifficultsoloforeachoneofthemandacoda(a shortquick finale).Womens costumesbecame shorter, and theclassical tutu (short, stiff skirt) became popular. This allowed thedancers tomovemoreeasilyandalsoenabled theaudience to seethedancerslegsandfeetastheyexecutedthedifficultsteps.Manyof theballetschoreographedat this time, includingSwanLake,TheSleepingBeauty,andTheNutcrackerarestillperformedtodayandaresomeofthemostbelovedballetsofalltime.

    Ballet Austins Inga Lujerenko in Swan Lake

    Marie Taglioni in La Sylphide

  • Moreinformationavailableonlineatwww.balletaustin.org.Questionsandregistrations,contactPeiSanBrown,CommunityEducationDirector,[email protected]

    6

    The Ballet Russes

    In1909,an impresario (apersonwhoproducesballets,operas,andconcerts)namedSergeiDiaghilevcreatedtheBalletsRussesinParis.This influential company had both strong Russian and Frenchinfluencesandwasresponsibleforintroducingsuchchoreographerssuch as Vaslav Nijinsky, Enrico Checchetti, and GeorgiBalanchivadze(orGeorgeBalanchine,whoeventuallyputAmericanballetinthespotlight).ThisensembleofdancerstraveledthroughoutEuropebringingwiththeminnovativenewchoreographyaswellascostumesandscenerydesignedbymasterartists.

    Ballet in Europe

    In 1926, the Royal Ballet opened in England, with Sir FrederickAshton as the choreographer. Thiswas home to one of themostfamous ballerinas of all time, Dame Margot Fonteyn. Ashton andFonteynsgreatcontributions todance inEnglandwere recognizedby Queen Elizabeth II with the titles of honor from the BritishEmpire.

    In 1934, the formerMariinskyBallet in St.Petersburg,Russia,wasrenamedtheKirovBallet.TheKirovBalletisstillrecognizedasoneoftheworldsgreatestballetcompanies,andhasproducedsomeoftheworldsmost influentialdancersandchoreographers, includingMikhailFokine,AnnaPavlova,VaslavNijinsky,TamaraKarsavina,NataliaMakarova,RudolfNureyev,andMikhailBaryshnikov.After graduating from the Kirov Academy and dancing with theKirov Ballet for several years,RudolfNureyev began a legendarypartnershipwithDameMargotFonteyn.

    Ballet Russes Vaslav Nijinsky in Le Spectre de la Rose

    Sir Frederick Ashton, Dame Margot Fonteyn, and Robert Helpmann

    Dame Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev in Sir Frederick Ashtons Sleeping Beauty

  • Moreinformationavailableonlineatwww.balletaustin.org.Questionsandregistrations,contactPeiSanBrown,CommunityEducationDirector,[email protected]

    7

    Ballet in America

    BalletinAmericabeganinNewYorkCitywiththeformationoftheBalletTheatre(presentlytheAmericanBalletTheatre)in1940andtheBalletSociety(presentlytheNewYorkCityBallet)in1946.GeorgeBalanchine,AgnesdeMille, JeromeRobbins,TwylaTharp,andAntonyTudorchoreographedmanygreatworks forAmericanBallet Theatre, whose repertoire included a mix of classical andcontemporary (more modern) ballets. Notable dancers of ABTincludeAliciaAlonso,Mikhail Baryshnikov, Eric Bruhn, FernandoBujones, Cynthia Gregory, Melissa Hayden, Susan Jaffe, GelseyKirkland, Natalia Makarova, Dame Alicia Markova, KevinMcKenzie,andRudolphNureyev.ThecompanysArtisticDirectorsincludedLuciaChaseandOliverSmith (19401980),Baryshnikov(19801990)andMcKenzie(1992present).Simultaneously, thepartnershipofLincolnKirsteinandBalanchinewas revolutionizing ballet with innovative choreography and lessrestrictive rehearsal costumes for the New York City Ballet.Balanchineand JeromeRobbinschoreographed thebulkofNYCBsrepertoire, which includes a diverse range of pieces includingclassical,neoclassical,andworksbasedonmusicalnumbers.Notabledancers of NYCB include Merrill Ashley, Mikhail Baryshnikov,Jacque dAmboise, Suzanne Farrell,MelissaHayden,AllegraKent,GelseyKirkland,TanaquilLeClerq,PeterMartins,PatriciaMcBride,ArthurMitchell,MariaTallchief,andEdwardVillella.Thecompanysartisticdirectors includedBalanchine (19461983), JeromeRobbins(19831990),andPeterMartins(1983present).

    Ballet Austin and Ballet Austin II in George Balanchines Serenade

  • Moreinformationavailableonlineatwww.balletaustin.org.Questionsandregistrations,contactPeiSanBrown,CommunityEducationDirector,[email protected]

    8

    Contemporary Dance

    Whatiscalledcontemporarydanceactuallyincludesawiderangeofdancestyles.Mostprofessionalcontemporary dance companies base their dance techniques in ballet or modern technique, or acombinationof the

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