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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Phrase for Good Luck?????


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darialovesdancing, the first 5 posts of this thread explain the difference.

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On 12/27/2007 at 5:32 PM, kayleen said:

While I was dancing with the Johannesburg Youth Ballet this year I noticed manny of the dancers using the term chukkus to wish each other good luck, I've also noticed some of the dancers of the South African Ballet Theatre using it. Does any one know what the origin and meaning of this term is?

I was told by an English dancer that it referred to the clunky sound that a pointe shoe makes on stage if it is not prepared correctly.  Australian dancers also use the same term.  


Russian dancers often use more complex ritual themselves (instead of to someone else).  I'm not completely sure of the details but I think it includes Toi! Toi! Toi! Crossing yourself in the Russian manner 3 times and touching the floor 3 times.  


(Russian Orthodox people cross themselves forehead, chest, right, left.  Roman Catholic people cross themselves forehead, chest, left, right.  It can be interesting when you notice that the (presumably Roman Catholic Italian) Friar in Romeo and Juliet crosses himself in the Russian manner because that is where he was trained.). 

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"Toi toi toi" is that standard "Good luck" in Europe. I think it comes from the French, ut is usually pronounced as for "toy". Some Europeans will do a kind of air kiss 3 times if they're wishing someone else toi toi toi.


"Break a leg" is used in the UK for performance. But in Australia, it's not a phrase used for dance - maybe because it's too close to a basic fear of dancers? In Australia, dancers say "Chookas" - no idea where that comes from, but the Australian slang for a chicken is "chook" so I wondered if it comes from that somehow ...


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“Break a leg” in US came from vaudeville.  If an act was not doing well, it would be summarily pulled and performer would not go on stage (and performer not paid).  So the “leg” was the curtain “leg” (not a physical leg).  It meant making it actually onto stage past the curtain legs.

But, it is not used for dancers here!  That is considered a bad luck phrase for them.

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Deleted as repetitive

Edited by Thyme
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