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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Dredfol spelin


L' Allegro

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Mr. Johnson, I saw that you closed my topic on combinations. Could you tell me what my most common mistake was? I'm trying hard to get better at my French- I have a ballet dictionary and a regular French/English dictionary.

 

(obviously I'm not using them enough)

 

The problem is, I often don't know I'm making a mistake until a couple months later when I somehow accidentally learn it was wrong!

 

Any tips? Any hard and fast rules about the French spelling?

 

(another thought: maybe it would just be better to give up writing things down and use Benesh notation? Are there any books on that?)

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L'Allegro, your spelling was not so bad, but if I had left that thread up, it would have invited some of the most unbelievable misconstructions of the French language that you ever saw! I think that I could divine the combinations that you wrote out, but the dessous/dessus thing is really, really important. Writing in Benesh would be wonderful for all of us, and the RAD has started to republish its complete run of syllabus books with accompanying Benesh, but not everybody reads that! (And besides, it would require members to publish .jpg images onboard, and I just don't want to get into that quagmire!) Using a ballet dictionary, Gail Grant's is the most inexpensive and provides excellent value-for-money, is a good idea, but when you write out steps and combinations in text, you have to be VERY complete in your terminology.

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Just curious (and you'll probably be amazed that I'm asking this) but what is the "dessous/dessus thing"? Is it a directional/facing thing? I never was very good about remembering facing directions, like croise, efface, etc. I really, truly don't know what it means!!!!!!!!!!!

 

* :shrug: (Yet another embarrassing moment, brought to you courtesy of L' Allegro) :) *

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dont even get me started on dessous/dessus!! :) it is the most easy but complex thing to mix up ever. me and my best friend spent about 10 minutes trying to figure out how to pronounce each one so that we wouldnt get mixed up when talking about them :shrug:

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general translation - dessous = over dessus = under

 

An assemblé au dessous would be an assemblé where the back foot brushes out, and closes in the front.

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But it doesn't need the "au". It's just assemblé dessous.

 

And it's just the reverse of how you explained it.

 

dessous = under

 

dessus = over

 

An assemblé dessous starts 5th position R foot front, and finishes in 5th with the L foot front.

 

Think of this, a sous-chef is an "under-chef", a chef's assistant.

 

When you go over the Avignon bridge, you go "sur le pont..."

Originally, the lyric ran, correctly, "sus le pont...".

Who messed it up? None other than Adolphe Adam, the composer of...Giselle! He put it into one of his operas, and got the word wrong!

 

See why I wanted to steer clear of the dessous/dessus?

 

If it's any help, dessous is pronounced sort of like des-SOO, and dessus is des-SEE. You won't win any French language competitions, but at least you'll be close!

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because one sight i went to [the ABT site as a matter of fact] said the pronounciations were somewhat like this:

 

dessous = des-SOO

dessus = des-SEW

 

Is that wrong? I mean I take french and when I read them I kinda assumed they were pronounced the same way. [shows you how good i am at french :D ]

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That's a good transliteration if you read "sew" to rhyme with "Eeeeewwww (gross)" and not "soh".

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Ok! I read it as in "eeeeeeeeeew" [gross]. See, now i feel totally understanding, because i understand the concept and the pronounciation now! :D

 

Thanks a million!

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Guest Raedyn L.

Since I was intimidated by all of the silent letters and special intonations in French, I asked my sister (who has taken French and liked it a lot) how to pronounce dessous/dessus.

 

She pronounced dessous like this: "Day-sooh."

 

This is how she pronounced dessus: "Day-soo"--with no lingering. I could only hear the difference because I am a musician, and even then it took a bit of thought.

 

So you could say that dessous, the LONGER word, ends normally. Dessus--the shorter of the two--is therefore staccato. [/end band-geekiness]

 

It won't help with definition unless I go all out and completely brand myself.

 

Since dessus means "over," you could say that since it is staccato it is finished sooner--it's "over." However, since I can't for the life of me think of anything else, I guess we all just have to memorise "dessous=under".

 

And I have officially fried my brain with this surge of thinking. Excuse me while I must finish off my water...

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