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Ballet Talk for Dancers

waltzing in pas de deux


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I have a question concerning waltzing in a pas deux. I am fine doing the pas de waltz step on my own, but in our pas de deux we are both having difficulty. So I am asking this question on behalf of my partner as well as myself.

Where is my partner meant to be with me? is he meant to hold my hand?? or guide me around. I have images of ballroom dancing and obviously its not like that. I know the man is meant to hold my hand elegantly and present me, but its not coming out like that. He is doing his thing and I'm doing mine, which isn't right.


Any tips or advice? from both the male perspective and female.


Thank you


Jeanette xx

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Are you face-to-face, or back-to-front? In any case, you do the pas de valse about a point between the two of you and not around a point within one of you, unless the choreographer wants to have one of you whirling about the outside of the other.

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Xena, I know you said that your pas de waltz wasn’t ballroom, but I was thinking that perhaps some ballroom notions might help.


In ballroom when each person does his or her own thing essentially ignoring the other, it always creates a problem. After all it is a partnership and not two individuals. In competitive ballroom I was always taught that each member of the partnership had a role. Female essentially had to be sensitive to the male’s lead and look stunning (no one ever looks at the male anyway). Male had to guide the female into HER appropriate place. Something like driving a high performance sports car. And of course that meant that the male had to know exactly what the female was to do and to place her exactly as she was supposed to be placed—a big demand on the male.


I always thought it was ironic that the male had to be so much more relatively skilled, yet in a strong partnership was barely noticed.


Ballroom people spend a great deal of time developing sensitivity to how their partners move. It ain’t easy to develop I can assure you, so it comes as no surprise that ballet partnerships are difficult also.

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a very useful ballroom exercise thatI've found helped ME enormously was to have the follower dance with eyes closed, so the lead had to take charge and be REPONSIBLE and make his support be FELT -- and then to reverse the exercise, so the LEAD had his eyes closed and hte fllower could have eyes open and do any signalling about that was required -- this is a FABULOUS exercise, it makes you dance like you're floating, it's very dremlike whe nyou get it -- you can even do this in a room where other people are dancing without mishaps, if you keep hte leads simple...


HTe loveliest thing about it is tha it's a trust-building exercise, and it's so direct, it cuts right t othe heart of hte matter -- boh of you at some level WANT this to work, and it helps you tune into that intention.....


If your pas de deux is choreographed in such a way that this could not work, maybe it would help to go take some ballroom classes where you work in "closed position" -- just t oget

the feel of it.....


And Xena -- if you're in San Francisco, go BY ALL MEANS to the Metronome Ballrroom (in the Potrero)and talk to Julie Lowe, who was a marvellous ballerina with the Oakland ballet and now teaches at hte Metronome... she's modest, helpful, musical, a lovely person in every way....

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thank you all for your replies :) sorry for my delay in writing,just been really busy.

Well, we are actually waltzing around a point within us and next to eachother. So he is actually mirroring me more or less. I just need help, helping my partner do pas de waltzs, is it any different for the men as opposed to the girls? I presume they do exactly the same step? but their arms, are they the same as when girls do it? Is any of this making sense?:confused:

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He's "mirroring" you and not partnering you, then everything you do is the same. Only he starts with the other foot.

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Guest grace

i like paul parish's 'exercise' - sounds like it "cuts right to the heart of the matter" - as you say.


xena - are you really asking HOW a man should do a side-to-side revolving balletic waltz step (while you are also doing one, and you are connected by TWO hands - or by one?) ? is that your underlying question?


or are YOU doing a turning waltz step AROUND the man, while he waltzes 'on the spot', holding ONE of your hands?


(i may not be following you correctly, but, if i am, mel would probably be the best one to 'teach' you how to teach your partner.) :(

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Most "Valses" I have done have the man place his hand in the small of the woman's back. The woman's hand is on my left shoulder.

each partner is offset a bit, unlike the classic ballroom "Waltz" , the dancers are a bit closer. The right leg works between the partners two legs. Once you get the hang of it, it looks great!

The free arm can go from second to high fifth as each dancer moves forward.


Your Choreo may vary, wear saftey protection before trying any new dancing. 8^)



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Yes I was trying to get some help on how to teach my male partner to waltz, but on Sunday morning we hammered it out, and now he's pretty good if I do so :(

What we are doing is waltzing next to eachother. The teacher didn't want us touching as such, almost touching but not quite. It was quite tricky choreography for that part, almost like rubbing your tummy and patting your head.

But as long as he continues to practice..hint hint.. (he uses this board so I cannot nag as such).


Thanks for all your advice and tips. X

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oh, in THAT case.... maybe the exercise is to shadow each other-- you do it for him, and he does it for you.... just pretend to be the other's shadow; the person in the back tries to take the impulse from he person in front.... it's fun to dance that way; I like to do grand allegro that way, it's such a relief (though it's no fun at all if you have to dance in a group with people you don't thnk are musical -- but if they're musical, their impulses will still be a little different from yours, and it's very refreshing to tune in to someone else's dance-personality)...


Just a suggestion....

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Or if you're side by side, just do exactly the same things. The pas de valse is absolutely no different for men than for women.

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