Beyond the Barre

By Webber, Rebecca | Dance Spirit, July/August 2004 | Go to article overview

Beyond the Barre


Webber, Rebecca, Dance Spirit


BOOST YOUR TECHNIQUE AND PERFORMANCE POTENTIAL BY STUDYING MORE DISCIPLINES THAN JUST BALLET.

If you're working toward a professional career in ballet, your schedule is probably packed with technique classes. While a strong ballet foundation is a must for going pro, more and more, ballet dancers are expected to have varied dance backgrounds and even knowledge of acting and music theory. By training off the beaten path, you can expand your skill set and become an even more valuable addition to a company.

Explore the enrichment classes your school has to offer and consider your elective options when attending a summer intensive. Courses that hard-core ballet dancers might be tempted to skip might actually be the classes that give you a leg up on the competition.

TRY IT NOW: MODERN AND JAZZ

In recent years, ballet companies have started to move away from purely classical repertories toward more contemporary pieces. "If you are a professional dancer, you need to know all different ways of moving in order to dance through the season," says Inessa Plekhanova, artistic director of Colorado Ballet II and The Joseph and Loretta Law Academy of Colorado Ballet. Because today's choreographers have a dizzying variety of backgrounds, "dancers need to be able to understand different vocabularies," says Lorie Komlyn, associate dean at the Walnut Hill School in Boston. One way to expand your own vocabulary and to learn to danee with more freedom than is often required in classical ballet is to try jazz and modern classes. Learning these styles can make performing contemporary choreography more natural, a handy skill in a company setting or at a ballet competition that includes a program of contemporary pieces.

TRY IT NOW: WORLD DANCE

Many ballet schools offer classes in flamenco, but how many bunheads have tried Irish dance? Or African? Or hip hop? Students who take these classes pick up skills that can improve their onstage presence in classical ballet and develop an appreciation for other types of dance, says Komlyn.

Most flamenco classes emphasize dancing with attitude, flair and rhythm. Irish dancing requires high-energy stepping and kicking guaranteed to improve endurance in allegro variations. Both African and hip hop focus on aligning motion with the rhythm of the music, whether it is melodie drumming or a Top-40 hit. Training in any or all of these alternative dance forms can help students move more freely and show more of their personalities onstage, says Plekhanova.

TRY IT NOW: CHARACTER

Swan Lake, Giselle, Sleeping Beauty and Coppelia are just a few of the classical ballets that showcase character dances derived from traditional European folk dances. They include Polish mazurkas, Italian tarantellas and stylized Russian and Hungarian foil: dances. The steps, movements and even partnering are often markedly different from classical ballet, so a dancer who is familiar with folk dances is often more marketable to companies.

If you have never taken a character class, expect it to start at the barre, where you might be asked to do traditional ballet steps, applying a different style to each combination. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Beyond the Barre
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.