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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Benchmarks for 17

L' Allegro

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As a dancer at a small school, I keep my nose in Pointe magazine and watch companies on VHS and DVDs every chance I get. I take all the classes I can, and work my tail off at home with those extra stretches they tell you to do. I read, read, read history of ballet and books on companies because I don't get those sorts of classes at my school. But at times I feel somewhat disconnected from the 'real' ballet world. What things, as in pirrouettes, petit allegro, fouettes, extensions, etc, are considered standard for professional track ballet dancers? I realize I will have to trasfer to a company-affiliated school soon; but some benchmarks would be great!

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It sounds as if you are putting everything you have available to you into your pursuit! :clapping:


As far as "benchmarks" for the final years of training, nothing is based upon age really but rather an overall sense of dance. Generally speaking, a student who is seriously working toward a career in ballet should, in the final years of study, be secure in the placement of the body, a refined sense of port de bras and coordination, a secure knowledge of upper level vocabulary (female students, also on pointe), a well founded petit and grande allegro, small turning movements en dehors and en dedans (doubles, if not more) and in big poses, singles working toward doubles. Self confidence and a physical sense of understanding/expressing music is also recommended.

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  • 9 months later...

Are 32 fouettes a prerequisite? I have done 32 in the past, but most attempts I falter somewhere in the high 20's. Would I be rejected from an apprenticeship/second company because of my inability to execute 32 clean fouettes at this time?

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Probably not. It's a common practice to include braces of fouettés in an audition, but finishing a full 32 is usually not the actual determinant. If a candidate can do them, then she should, but more important would be the candidate who falls out after, say, 16, but then goes right back in and finishes the music! Perseverance is being measured, not the ability to do the fouettés.

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The quality of the fouettés matter a lot more to me than the number. One is often required to do a few fouettés, but only principals doing grand pas de deux, primarily Black Swan Pas, need 32. I would rather see well placed, well rotated turns with a beautifully placed and controlled foot, and nice rounded arms, than 32 looking like one is doing karate and losing! :sweating:

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