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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Is there any shortcut?


sonny72

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I haven't looked yet, but thought I would ask here in case someone had a definitive book or video that was real good in explaining the basics of ballet in a systematic fashion(yes...I work in a science based field :offtopic: ). My wife tries to explain things, but she gets off on tangents using references that I have no idea what she is talking about. Even though he is only 9, I think even if he quits dancing down the road he is a fan of dance for life, as enthusiastic as he has gotten about this. I would like to have some reference point for discussion with him. My older boys are easy...they are very much like me, I would like to be able to demonstrate to DS that his interests are just as important to me. Thanks, Sonny.

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While there are syllabi and curricula publicly available in various media, as for the RAD and Cecchetti Methods, they don't constitute a shortcut to proficiency in ballet, which is an art, not a science. The student has to work in a medium, the human body, which is never as pliant and retentive as the human mind. Knowing ABOUT ballet is not the same thing as being able to execute it. The old saying runs, "He was so smart he could say 'horse' in ten languages, and then he bought a cow to ride on." Art is qualitative, not quantitative. Being a qualitative pursuit, ballet requires that ineffable quality, talent; and what is talent? Maxim Gorky had a good operating definition: Talent is work!

 

Hmm! This suggests a new thread for Cross Talk. I'll put one up!

 

http://dancers.invisionzone.com/index.php?showtopic=49198

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Thanks I'll check it out. Just to clarify I meant to educate myself and not him. Browsing this site I found a link to a dictionary of terms that helps out quite a bit. But, you know, maybe it'll be enough for him that I show that I approve of his involvement. If he sticks with it, maybe I'll gather a better understanding of it over time.

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sonny72,

First off I have to congratulate you on your obvious dedication and willingness to support your son. Bravo!! You will encounter people in your "ballet journey" who may be peering through a telescope at life rather than embracing all its facets.

 

Now, my personal opinion is that you will benefit best from taking classes yourself!! Even if you're not ready to commit to the ballet experience, try some ballroom or adult tap. It will at least offer you a new perspective and a closer platform to identify with your son's experiences. :)

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For yourself, the latest edition of Gail Grant's Technical Manual and Dictionary of Classical Ballet is going to be the most valuable $10 you will ever spend on ballet. (Down in value from the most valuable $5 for the previous edition but any edition is good!) For books that both you AND he will be able to use together, try Thalia Mara's First Steps in Ballet. There's also a Second... and a Third.... These books were written about 1955, but they still seem to work. They are still available in reprint. You may end up with little curls of smoke coming out of your ears, but he's got the advantage on you from his classwork. He'll know exactly what's going on. For more advanced technical observation, Classical Ballet Technique by Gretchen Ward Warren is great! For the analytically-minded, the technical part of Lincoln Kirstein's The Classic Ballet (written by Muriel Stuart) is terrific, if the Carlus Dyer artwork doesn't drive a more literal-minded student wild! (Dyer drew on Vitruvian Man but extended him into Vitruvian-Dancer-as-tesseract. The Dancer armature is shown doing things that a human body cannot do without the admission of an additional dimension or two.)

 

As always, when ordering books, we recommend using the amazon.com banner in our headline. That way you get the merchandise fast, we get a "finder's fee" which helps to pay for the site!

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sonny72,

First off I have to congratulate you on your obvious dedication and willingness to support your son. Bravo!! You will encounter people in your "ballet journey" who may be peering through a telescope at life rather than embracing all its facets.

 

Now, my personal opinion is that you will benefit best from taking classes yourself!! Even if you're not ready to commit to the ballet experience, try some ballroom or adult tap. It will at least offer you a new perspective and a closer platform to identify with your son's experiences. :yucky:

 

 

My wife would get a real kick out of that! Alas, I travel heavily for work, and am gone for days and weeks on end, then home for the same, so classes not an option. Most important, want him to know his interests count. He is only 8.5, but he really seems to have a passion for it. He was always so quiet and moody, and that has really changed in the last year. During my last homestretch before school started, he was so excited for classes to be starting again. Hopefully by showing an open mind it will reinforce to his older twin bro's that DS has just as much a place at our table as they do, that he is no less my son than they are just because they share alot of my interests.

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That's great that you want to learn about ballet to support your son!! I wish more dads were so supportive. I will say, however that it can be very difficult to learn the ballet movements from a book because you can't actually see the dancer's body in motion. My husband has found it helpful to ask my son to demonstrate what he learned in class each day and is trying to memorize the name of the steps that way. Also we try to attend professional ballets whenever we can and when my husband sees a move that he was impressed with he will ask my son what it was called. He is also learning the names of the different ballets and ballet dancers this way as well. We did get the book "Ballet for Dummies" for my husband as a joke. It does a nice job of explaining ballet in layman's terms and has some cartoons that my husband and son found hysterical.

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Thanks for the info. I am realizing that I can learn alot just by reading this board. Just showing some interest seems to have really given him a boost. His big brothers have quit picking on him. I work on the road, and talking to my wife the other night she said he was real excited to tell his teacher how we watched ballet together when I was home last weekend. That made me feel good.

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