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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Long Variations


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I have problems memorising ballet combinations - some barre exercises and adagio are so long that I do forget what to do next. This is really annoying as my technique itself is not so bad - but as I often have to look first what the other dancers are doing I am kind of behind. Is there anything I can do about it? Usually, I dont have problems memorising stuff outside the ballet class. Any tips? :)

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Adagios can be more difficult to memorize if they are long, but other combinations usually have a definite pattern to them, and should be easier to memorize rhythmically. Sometimes they are even in a format that you might be familiar with in music, like a-b-a-c. An example would be (very short version): a) jeté over, temps levé, glissade, assemblé over, b ) sissonne over, sissonne over, changement, changement, a) jeté over, temps levé, glissade, assemblé over, c) sissonne croisé changé en avant, assemblé back, entrechat quatre, entrechat quatre. Learn it in 4 steps at a time. Say it in rhythm. It really is easy!


With adagio try to learn it with the music and let the music help tell you what is next. If the combination or variation is musical, then this will help! :)

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I found that trying to write down combinations after classes really helped.

It sounds sort of odd, but if you make the effort 1) you'll be suprised at what you

actually DO remember and 2) for some reason (in my case) I started picking

the combinations up much more quickly in class.


Maybe because it forced me to recognize those patterns?

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I started writing down combinations for my recital this past year, as I was in about seven routines and it was hard for me to keep them all straight at first. (I study a few other subjects in addition to ballet, just for fun.) I found that writing the steps down not only helped me to remember the steps, but it also solidified my ballet vocabulary. I definitely second dido's recommendation. :clapping:

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I find it very difficult to learn a peice without music. Some directors want to teach the peice first. I like to learn the movement then quickly do it with music. IMHO, it appears different parts of the brain are used when you are dancing silently and dancing to music. Any brain specialists out there to confirm/deny?


Enjoy the summer!



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Yes, think of the combination in your class as Part A, Part B, Part C, and Part D, etc... (these sections danced MUSICALLY as they are set by the instructor)...This makes it not so overwhelming to remember the entire combination. Soon, you will be able to execute them as one continuous dance. GN

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