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Ballet Talk for Dancers

What is 'character dancing'?


Guest lady caroline

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Guest lady caroline

I asked one of our dance professors here on campus if there were any adult (I'm 20), female, non-pointe roles in Nutcracker, and she said that in the first scene they need people for acting and ballroom\character dancing.

 

I'm familiar with ballroom, but I've never heard of character dancing. Little help please? Thanks!

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Character dancing is usually divided into two major categories:

 

1) National dances, like the csardas, mazurka, or tarantella often performed in heeled shoes.

 

2) Roles which are primarily mime and acting, including both dramatic and comic content. Lady Capulet in most Romeo & Juliets is a character role, as is Carabosse in Sleeping Beauty, and the all the parents in Act I Nutcracker.

 

There is also a category called demi-character which is the former category done more balletically and often in ballet or pointe shoes.

 

(PS. If you're of a mind to try a character part in Nutz, shoot for Grandmother, she's the most fun, except maybe for Grandfather.)

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True Mel, don't forget character classess usually involve all these ethnic dances. Almost every full length ballet is full of character peices. Big wedding scenes usually included princes and princesses from faraway lands who perform their national dances for the happy couple.

 

Peasant scenes are almost always considered character peices save for the soloists, ttbomk.

 

The waltz can be both character, partnering, and balletic. A traditional Vienese waltz may be considered a character piece, whereas a ballanchine waltz certainly is not.

 

Tales from the Vienna Woods (Vienergeschikc....... aw forget it) moves seamlessly between character and very serious solos.

 

Finding a true character class may be very daunting, if not impossible. Companies typically give them for their dancers. You would think they would open them to adults who may dance in their productions.

 

MJ

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Guest lady caroline

Ah, I thought it may be something along those lines. When I explained my current dancing situation to the professor, that was what she'd suggested I try to audition for, but didn't tell me what, exactly, that was. That's mostly what I did for musicals in high school, which wasn't too terribly long ago, so maybe those experiences will count for something.

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It used to be so easy when the Ballet Russe school was still open, and you could take character classes from Yurek Lasowsky. I really enjoyed those.

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It used to be so easy when the Ballet Russe school was still open, and you could take character classes from Yurek Lasowsky.  I really enjoyed those.

Mel, I, too, was a student of Yurek Lazowsky, at Adelphi University 1965-1969. I know, he taught everywhere! I loved his classes so much! I think about him every now and then to this day and have told my children about how special he was. Remember those intricate steps across the studio after barre...? Every time we had class he had a new combination for us. I can see him now, demonstrating and dancing along toward us as we percussed across the floor. And his chain-smoking Russian pianist! One of my favourite dances that he taught us was the Hota. It felt so good to do. Oh, how I admired and respected Mr. Lazowsky! Thank you for mentioning his name.

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