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Ballet Talk for Dancers

When dancing with an egotist, how should you dance?


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When performing on stage with a dancer who doesn't have a corps mentality, though you are all performing the same steps more or less, how should you perform yourself?

This other dancer is technically very good but dances in a very self conscious way, making everything overly dramatic and big and the rest of us are "quieter" dancers.

Should we ramp it up? Or would that seem to be making a weird competition of it? And ballet to me is an art and not a gymnastic sport.

Funny question maybe but curious how to approach this? Our choreographer has not said anything though it's glaringly obvious to the rest of us ;)

The "better" dancer has very good technique but tends to show off, if you will. Or should we all be dancing as close to this way as possible?

The piece is a group of eight dancers and the steps are similar for all.

I'm just confused :giveup:


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Guest Pas de Quoi

I would suggest you and the other corps dancers dance the given choreography in the way it has been presented by the choreographer to the very best of your ability - as a corps piece. All arms perfectly placed identical to each other, all tendus done at exactly the same time, even the eye focus perfectly ln sync, etc.


If one watches videos of say .... the Kirov corps in Bayadere or Swan Lake, one can see how breathtakingly beautiful this kind of corps work is.


In contrast, the person who is not doing so, will stand out glaringly in a not so good way ..... perfect! :devil:

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Haha that is funny and true ;)

You are naughty but we are only doing what we are told! That's the truth of the matter.

I showed my DH who is not a dancer the videos of the performance and right away his reaction was "What is she doing? She looks so self conscious. It's not fun to watch" . Interesting! I shall attempt to be "perfectly in sync" like my cohorts then

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I'm in a piece this Saturday with 9 other adult dancers and the issue of being in sync is something we've been working very hard on. Unfortunately, the director/teacher/choreographer doesn't always notice when we're on time together but doing moves differently. So we go to each other and say we noticed a difference, work it out amongst ourselves best we can, then go to the director for clarification.


I don't know you or your dance or the person you're calling an "egotist." But I would encourage you to think of it in another way. This dancer may not be trying to upstage you, she may not even know she's doing it differently (even watching a video...I always watch myself, to find mistakes, and have to make myself look at it as a whole). She may not think she can do the moves as written and do them well (this may come from a place of fear of messing up). She may not understand that the dance will look better if you all do it the same (lack of a "corps mentality"can be deliberately refusing to work as a group, as you seem to suspect, or it could be lack of practice with it, lack of experience with the concept, no matter how obvious it may seem to you or even everyone else).


Can a couple of you approach her and say you noticed that the 8 of you are doing XYZ different from each other and let's figure out how to get everyone together. In my group, we often end up with more than one version (the director changed her mind at one point, which happens a lot, or the details for a particular move were vague and we all extrapolated). So we usually say both ways are good, we just want to know which one [director] wants. Occasionally, we will tell someone (or they'll tell me) that a move is incorrect (whoops, wrong leg or arm) but that's not common.


In your case, the moves may all be identical but there is a difference in how big or small a movement is. That's a legit issue for a choreographer to resolve. You can also ask the choreographer which way she prefers. Ask in front of the entire group, if you can do so in a neutral way that doesn't imply one way is wrong. Or pull the choreographer out before rehearsal and ask her to pay attention to that issue and to make a ruling one way or another to everyone.

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There are times to stand out and there are times to blend in. A soloist needs to blend, while the corps, ensemble, etc needs to look like one. I've been in situations where I have noticed either I am the one much different or someone else is and the best resolution I have found is to ask the choreographer/director what they want to see and adjust or maintain based on their direction. Good luck!

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