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The four ground rules of Classical Ballet

The four ground rules of ballet.

 

Translated by Yaeli Graanbaum 

 

In a spoken language, there are letters that combine and create a word, the words combined and become a full logical sentence. The same sort of rules will appear in ballet. In ballet, movements and positions are the materials that create the language, and the connections between them constitute the logic in the movement. The spoken language is made of consonants, syllables, words, sentences, sections and a story line (or an article etc.). The ballet language is made of physical elements that are created from leg, arm and body positions, when combined they create a language of movement and still positions in space. In the spoken language there is rhythm of speak, an intonation and an accent. These receive their meaning by the person who hears them. In the same way, the speed of the movement in ballet, will determine the meaning of a sequence of movements.  The accuracy in the performance, while maintaining the laws of the classical language, would be considered the correct and clear way of diction. The personal abilities of the dancer, both physically and his artistic expression ability will bring a sense of a personal style, in the same way that in the spoken language the level of diction and the sound of voice determents the personal style of a speaker. 

 

The four ground rules in every methodology of the classical ballet, which have being developed through out the history, will appear in every movement and position. These rules do not apply to the romantic and the neo-classic styles, but only in the pure classical ballet. 

 

1. Every movement and position is based on torso position, when there is a parallel relation between four points: between two shoulders and two hip sides (Ilium crests). These points must always be parallel with relation to the direction where the  dancer is facing and dancing towards. However, while performing a hunched position of the body, the parallel relation is violated between the shoulders and the pelvis, all though a parallel relation must remain to the specific front. 

 

2. Every movement and position of the legs is to be executed while maximum external rotation of outwards the thigh in the hip joints. That is to say, the knees will always appear facing outwards in relation to the front and not frontwards, as so the feet; they will be positioned parallel to the knees. In this ground rule, the unique anatomy structure of every dancer is reviled, that is in the maximum turning ability of the hip joints. This ability changes amongst the different dance students. Every performer or a student must be fully aware and must make sure to work according to their anatomic structure and abilities.

 

3. In every stage of performing the movements of the ballet, the back of the dancer must be kept as long and as wide as possible. There are no contract shoulder blades and no shortage in the length of the spine column. To achieve this, one must always aspire to distance the head from the tail bone, and to widen the back in a way that allows you to breathe freely. One should direct the breath towards the ribs at the back, while keeping the breath free.      

 

4. In any moment, when there is no weight on one or both legs (for example, in a jump), right away must the feet stretch out and change to a "point" position (dorsal flexion).  

The other view of this rule is that there mustn't be any weight put on a leg, in every stage of "pointing" the feet, even if the foot is touching the floor. This part of rule no. 4 refers to non-point shoes practice. With point-shoes u can rise with body weight on top of the "point". 

 

Other rules of the language are not considered ground rules, and occasionally, are over looked according to an instructor's choreographic and aesthetic needs, in any of the methodologies. 

Movements and positions of the arms will always be made in a distance from the dancer's body. Their path will be slightly in front of the body, not exactly to the sides of the body, and above the crown of the head. 
 

In order to clarify and help in achieving the correct placement, you can guide the student to look forward, and then, to make sure that in every arm position, he could still notice the tips of his fingers in the eyesight range of the pupil, without moving them from the center.  

 

The steps that the arms pass through in-between the positions are a little different in every mythology and amongst the different teachers. Some prefer the arms a bit lower and some prefer them higher. However, the arms will always be slightly in front of the body and below the shoulder lines in the first, second and third positions. The names of the position also change from one method to other, yet the principle        remains the same.

 

In order to view those rules in photos, you may enter the pages:

http://www.ballet.co.il/default.asp?SubId=99

http://www.ballet.co.il/default.asp?SubId=97

http://www.ballet.co.il/default.asp?SubId=98

http://www.ballet.co.il/default.asp?SubId=101

                   
 

     
 
 
 
 

          

        

 

 

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