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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Spelling Demons

Mel Johnson

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This is a quickie list for terms we see frequently used on Ballet Talk for Dancers, with some of the most imaginative use of phonetic spelling I've seen in a long time. The list is selective, and not inclusive, and will probably be supplemented as time goes on.


Battement - often shows up as batma.


Fouetté - often shows up as fuettay.


Grand, grande - The first is masculine, the second feminine. We aren't worried about that - people spell it gran, which isn't even French.


Port de bras - often shows up as pordebra. Looks like the Old Deep South - "Pordebra, she cain't do no port de bras."

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En dedans - frequently seen as ondedon, or the like.


En dehors - seen as on de oar. (Is it in de boat?)


I - yes, capitalization of the personal pronoun counts.

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I am just about to mark reflective journals (of students). One student wrote that she has problems with a specific exercise at the bar :thumbsup: Well, I hope for her she meant barre

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I admit I'm a terrible speller. One thing that has helped is I try to keep a copy of "Technical Manual and Dictionary of Classical Ballet" by Gail Grant by the computer. It's so cheep to buy $4.95 DD lost her grandmother's copy so this time I ordered three.

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Oh Amy, how right you are! Totally amazing to me that almost everyone, including adults, spells that definately. It's surprising, since if you just think definite, it seems pretty easy to me! ;)

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Since we've strayed a bit from ballet terminology, let me add my pet peeves:

"a lot" and "a bit" spelled as one word. In what dictionary does one find "alot" and"abit"?

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You'll hear no discent from this corner!


(Quick, now, kids, what's the word that's not spelled correctly, and what should it be?)

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I try to never spell the ballet terms since I can barely spell in Emglish let alone French, But I have to say the congradulations rather than congratulations drives me insane.


Major Mel- we you suggesting we were de-scenting something because of our stinky spelling?



I seem to be unable to spell English as well as not being able to spell in English.

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I understand the fun, but seriously, if you're going to work in a discipline which requires a certain terminology, you should be expected to know how to spell that terminology. I was a fighter crew chief for awhile, and had the most interesting times figuring out what the hell the pilots were talking about when they wrote up "loud squeak in AGM-3 aiming system." They should have written, "solid audio tone in headset when Weasel missile is locked onto target." That way, I could have responded, "NSO". Normal System Operation.

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