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Ballet Talk for Dancers

What is character dancing?

Guest jane

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I have just begun lessons with a new teacher (who I absolutely love, I'm improvin g so much! :sweating: ) and she teaches RAD ballet, as opposed to checcetti (sp?) which I have taken for the year I have been doing ballet.


In RAD, there is character dancing which I have never done before. What is it? All I know is that it is done not in ballet slippers but in shoes that look a bit like tap shoes, and swishy skirts. Would I be right in thinking its a sort of folk dancing? I'm really curious to know what its all about! I just cant wait to start! :rolleyes:


Just thought I'd make use of the expertise thats around! :thumbsup:

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Jane, I moved this to YD, since it is a question about dance, not a buddy chat topic.


Character dances are dances from different countries, like Spanish dances, Hungarian Dances (Czardas for instance!), Russian folk dances, Irish dance, etc., etc. The Polish National Character dance is the Mazurka, for instance. All of these dances are great fun to learn and to perform, and in ballets they can be very important parts of the story by showing the dance of the people who lived in the time and place of the story, whether they are peasants or important court people.


If you look at videos of most of the full length ballets you will find several National Character Dances. In Swan Lake, for instance, there is a Mazurka and a Czardas. There is also a very famous and wonderful Mazurka in Coppelia.

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I'm not supposed to post on this board, but I have a very quick question related to this that I didn't think justified having it's own topic elsewhere. (Delete if needed) How is Czardas pronounced? We're singing a Brahms piece that mentions the Czardas and on the recording I have it's hard to hear if it is an "sh" or a "ch" sound. I always thought it was more "sh" (with a bit of a punch :rolleyes: ) when I've heard people say it, but I was wondering if anyone here knows for sure. Thank you and sorry for posting on the wrong board.

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Hjete, I think it is "shardash", although I would not swear to it. That is how I learned it.

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Thankyou, Ms Leigh, thats very helpful :blink: . What is it like to dance? I ask because a friend of mine said that it was like tap dancing (which I have never done). Is this so? If so I didn't know that tap and ballet were good for each other (as opposed to tap taing away from a ballet training).

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Jane, National Character Dance is great fun! And NO, it is nothing like tap! :blink:

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Guest thumpinhippo
... that tap and ballet were good for each other (as opposed to tap taing away from a ballet training)...

I've heard both these rumours so which is true?? One person says it's bad for your ankles while the other told me it builds up shin strength!! I'm so confused :grinning:.

I turned down a tap class with my friend because i wasn't sure about hte consequences :( .

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A little tap won't hurt, but it does work against the things we try to develop in ballet, so better to take it on after you're functioning at a higher level of ballet proficiency, even though it didn't hurt Dame Beryl Grey!

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