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Difficult role

Guest Retiredancer

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Guest Retiredancer


Hi Folks!

I did study ballet several years ago but needed to stop because of illness and never re-started it. But I continue to be a Ballet lover or Balletomane if you wish so.

A big challenge is dancing classical roles en pointe. A few of them are long roles and all of them are very demanding on technique which shall however not take away the artistry of a dancer. So I would like to hear from you which, in your oppinion is the most demanding classical role to be danced en pointes and why. Ballet is an art, not a sport, however am sure that all of you dancers agree that it demands a high skill level, a sporty body structure, a lot of training and tears to finally get the so deserved applaus and smiles. And as harder the role, as better that role is danced, as more gratefull it is for a ballerina to receive the rercognition of the public.

Lot of people tend to criticize without having an idea of the sweat and tears, of the pain and quantity of never ending rehearsals were necessary to get to the pointe.

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While Odette/Odile may demand the greatest stamina, I think probably Aurora is one of the most difficult technically. Not only the Rose Adagio, but probably just the fact that it is just such pure technique all the way through, no great drama and no way to hide anything.

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There's been a discussion about this recently on the other board, and consensus seems to be forming that among one-acts, Theme and Variations is the toughest allover, on everybody.

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Guest livebreathedance

i think it would be a personal thing and different for each dancer.generally most dancers have different qualities and hilights to their work and this would effect what they would deem as difficult to dance.i realise that it's more of a 'general' question , but i feel that in dance ,it is too specific and too personal to the dancer who is dancing the role for this to be a generalised question.

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Giselle popped immediately in my mind but when I read your thread, livebreathdance, I must say, that it's for ME a very difficult role (i couldn't dance the Solo becaus of the hops on pointe)

So I would say that you are right that this is a too personal thing to answer. It really depends on the dancer.

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I can't even do them...my teacher wants me to do them but I just can't. And with the Black Swan Solo....also no way for me to do the fouettes but if I would really put my heart in it maybe...maybe on time it could be come reality but the Giselle hops. I am hopeless. :)

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  • 5 weeks later...
Guest dancing<><piper

I like doing the little hops on pointe, my pointe teacher thinks it so funny that some of us find them fun to do!

I haven't ever danced any of them of course, or seen nearly all the ballets but Aurora and Odette/Odile look hardest to me.

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Yea, I like the hops on pointe too. I don't get to do them a lot, but it's so much fun to do it in class on occasion. To the question, I'm with everyone about its being a personal thing.

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I don't know, perhaps I'm tossing in my two cents where I haven't a realistic frame of reference---after all I can't begin to evaluate the difficulty of the steps, and, please understand that I am not singling out any individual poster, BUT . . . .


It seems to me that it is a non-critical, politically-correct, let's-not-make- judgments, everything-is-equivalent, cop-out to say "it is all too personal to say which variation/ballet is most technically/artistically difficult". I understand completely that some things are always easier for some that others and that each person, be it a dancer or a gardener, has different strengths and weakness that would make some activity easier for that individual and other activities harder.


Nevertheless, it seems to me that the original question CAN be answered in a less personal vein. For instance, Ms. Leigh has given her opinion with supporting reasoning. It seems to me that the combinations of the various steps involved in the variations or the ballets as a whole can be evaluated and compared, along with the transitions linking those variations, the amount of endurance/stamina needed to sustain the energy throughout, and the degree/depth of artistry that the variation/ballet requires in order to evoke the emotion the choreographer intended to convey. These elements of the variation/ballet can all be discussed in a lively conversation as to which is most challenging and difficult to perform. Whether a particular person has difficulty or can perform that variation/ballet with ease is a completely separate question.


For instance, in diving, a 3 1/2 front, with full twist from the 3-meter board is more difficult than a 1 1/2 pike front from the same board. Nevertheless, there will be some divers that consistently score higher on that 3 1/2 than they do on the 1 1/2. That does NOT support an argument that determining which dive is technically more difficult is "too personal" to discuss/debate. The elements of the individual dives just suit different divers bodies better than others. The variation in performance is attributable to the diver's ability to adapt and adjust to the requirements of the dive. It is NOT that the ability requirements of the dive's elements ever change.


It seems to me that it is the same with the variation/ballet question. One should be able to have an opinion on which variation/ballet is more difficult than another just by evaluating the individual elements that create that variation/ballet.


My opinion? I haven't a clue!!!! I'm not well-versed enough in what I see to evaluate the degree of difficulty.


(And I really don't mean to step on toes or disrepect others' opinions).

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I would say Raymonda, in the complete version. She has, I think, about 5 variations, 4 pas de deux, and the character is different in all the acts: playful in 1st act, dreamy in the "Tableau de Reve" act, classical in the pas de deux with Abderakhaman and classical yet with some character at the end. Quite a difficult and long task.

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Guest Retiredancer

Well, I am glad to learn with all of you and thank you for all very interesting replies!

So far GISELLE is leading by far with 5 votes from Claude Catastrophique, Tiffany, Dance Scholar London, NYCBdancer and livebreathedance.

Next we have ODETTE/ODILE and AURORA roles with 2 votes each from Victoria Leigh and

In third place so far we have with one vote each RAYMONDA and THEME & VARIATIONS.

Fact is that there is a consensus on the following:

- ALL roles are difficult, but the grade of difficulty varies from person to person.


So help me giving APPLAUS to all these wonderful ballerinas which master the above roles!!!! BRAVO !!!! :thumbsup:

All the sweat and tears paid back. Continue dancing ! Continue training ! Continue giving us poor mortals which are not so gifted by The Lord the pleasure of admiring you! :blushing:

And continue posting! It is great to learn with you the feelings and thoughts about this subject. Thank you all for sharing your experience with us!

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