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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Phrase for Good Luck?????


KellyeS

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  • 2 years later...
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I was told by my ballet teacher that the term 'merde' comes from back in the days when ballet dancers danced with the opera, there were actually live horses on stage. The horses would of course, from time to time, drop poo on the stage and the dancers would say 'merde' to each other to warn the other dancers that there was poo on the stage. :yucky:

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Look back up this thread for a good going-over of the meaning of, and reasons for, "MERDE!"

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Thank you for explaining this. I am the only one in my family who seems to have learned this word in high school French class! And I don't mean its interpretation for ballet. Every time my DD tells my parents and her aunt that this is what is to be said and I mention its real meaning, they all look at me like I'm misinformed and shake their heads, saying "No, it means 'good luck'!"

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You beat me to it about the "Toi, toi, toi" - my daughter received a good luck card from her JA teacher before they performed at the Albert Hall some years ago, with that phrase on it - and I had no idea what was going on :yes:

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  • 1 year later...
appleblossom

In Australia the common term is Chookas. - you even see it written on the backstage walls sometimes. (I guess the same as Chukkas for South Africa). I know why it is said, but have no idea what it actually means... it always makes me think of chooks and wonder if there's chickens running around backstage or something.

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  • 2 weeks later...
I was told by my ballet teacher that the term 'merde' comes from back in the days when ballet dancers danced with the opera, there were actually live horses on stage. The horses would of course, from time to time, drop poo on the stage and the dancers would say 'merde' to each other to warn the other dancers that there was poo on the stage. :wink:

 

What Opera has Horses in it?

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Mel Johnson

Back in the day, it was hard to find an opera, particularly a grand (patriotic) one that DIDN'T have horses in it.

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Both the Royal Ballet at Covent Garden, and Birmingham Royal Ballet at the Hippodrome (very apposite), still to this day have a live pony and trap on stage. I don't know what other companies do in their productions of this Ashton ballet.

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Mel Johnson

Pony and trap? We're talking La Fille mal Gardée?

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Miss Persistent
In Australia the common term is Chookas. - you even see it written on the backstage walls sometimes. (I guess the same as Chukkas for South Africa). I know why it is said, but have no idea what it actually means...

 

I have heard... (from Colin Peasley actually - so I trust him!) That it is a reference back to when ballet dancers in Australian first began getting paid to perform. Apparently, (This is Mr. Peasley's story not mine so I take no responsibility!) that the gourmet dish of the day was chicken in a basket. The dancers used to peak through the curtain before the show and see how big the audience was - if they sold enough tickets that night, they got paid enough to buy chicken in a basket for dinner after the show, hence the exlamation of "Chookas" as in it would be a good night.

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Oops how careless of me to omit the name of the ballet - yes La Fille Mal Gardée. If you go onto Google images and search "Pony and Trap La Fille Mal Gardée" there are several photos come up.

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  • 2 years later...

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