Character dance

Character dance

Character Dance is a specific subdivision of Classical Dance. It is the stylised representation of a traditional folk or national dance,mostly from a European country, and uses movements and music which have been adapted for the theatre.

Character dance is integral to much of the classical ballet repertoire. A good example of character dance within ballet is the series of national dances which take place at the start of Act III of Swan Lake. The ballet Don Quixote as well as Paquita also features many character variations based on traditional Spanish dances. Popular character dance adaptations for ballet also include the national dances of Hungary, Russia, Poland, Italy and Spain: csárdás, mazurka, tarantella, flamenco, etc.

Outside of Russia, there is little training in the art of character dance. However, it is still widely taught in the United Kingdom and Australia and in Central Europe (Czech Republic, Hungary) where it is integral to the training of students at the Royal Ballet School and the Australian Ballet School. It is also taught as a separate skill within the graded examinations syllabus of the Royal Academy of Dance, Statni Konzervator Praha. Most performing companies or schools elsewhere are not familiar with the history or technique of this style. Therefore, the term "Character Dance" is often used in misleading ways that have no bearing to the original definition in ballet terminology.

Yuri Slonimsky writes in his book The Bolshoi Ballet (Second edition 1960, pg.8 )on the history of character dance:"....The Moscow theatre thrived because at the beginning it was free from Court tutelage...another important factor was the popularity of various fairs and festivals among the Moscovites.It was here, at the turn of the 19th century that a new genre came into being-one inspired by the national comic opera-dance scenes suggested by folk festivals, games,Yule-tide,Shrovetide Festivals,etc. These dances were created by Vasily Balashov,a former inmate of the Orphanage,soloist of the Court Stage at St.Petersburg and choreographer of the Petrovsky Theatre i Moscow.Petersburg's choreographers Ivan Valberg, A.August, and others after them,borrowed and developed Balashov's methods. And in 1812-14 Russian folk danceswere successfully shown by CHarles Didelot and his colleagues in a "Russian Divertissement" at King's Theatre in London. "

Folk traditions have been incorporated into what is known as ballet for centuries but it was not until Aleksandr Shirayev, Assistant to Marius Petipa, that Character Dance became a unique and codified art-form that takes its rightful place as an integral part of Classical Ballet.

Character dances are usually performed in shoes or boots, with a suede sole and a small heel. Men typically wear black character shoes and women typically wear a flesh coloured shoe with a larger, more feminine heel.

See also

  • Grotesque dance

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • character dance — noun 1. : a mimetic dance especially in ballet representing a character 2. : a characteristic national dance …   Useful english dictionary

  • Dance Central — Developer(s) Harmonix Music Systems Publisher(s) MTV Games …   Wikipedia

  • Character dancers — play an important part in classical ballet. Before the nineteenth century, rôles such as peasants and sailors were considered character dancers and often were part of Commedia dell arte. Since the early part of the nineteenth century the word… …   Wikipedia

  • Character dancing — is performing a dance of ethnic origin generally used in the context of ballet training.All classical ballets contain slow graceful difficult steps, but often there are interludes in the story where some peasants will enter to perform an… …   Wikipedia

  • Dance Master UK — is a dance competition held annually in the United Kingdom. Contents 1 Overview 1.1 Qualifying 1.2 The Finals 2 Grand Final Winners …   Wikipedia

  • Dance of the Yi People — (simplified: 彝族舞曲; traditional: 彞族舞曲; pinyin: Yízú Wǔqǔ; sometimes also called Dance of the Yi Tribe or Yi Dance) is one of the most popular solo compositions …   Wikipedia

  • Dance Preludes — was a ballet made by Miriam Mahdaviani on New York City Ballet to Witold Lutosławski s 1955 music as a pièce d occasion for the Dancers Emergency Fund Benefit, February 24, 1991, at the New York State Theater, Lincoln Center. The program also… …   Wikipedia

  • dance — I (New American Roget s College Thesaurus) Motion to music Nouns 1. dance, dancing; ball, formal, tea dance, thé dansant, cotillion, promenade, dinner dance; masquerade, masked ball, bal masqué, fancy dress ball. Informal, drag, hop, prom, mixer …   English dictionary for students

  • Character (arts) — A character is the representation of a person in a narrative work of art (such as a novel, play, or film).[1] Derived from the ancient Greek word kharaktêr (χαρακτήρ), the earliest use in English, in this sense, dates from the Restoration,[2]… …   Wikipedia

  • Dance Theatre of Harlem — Young dancers from the Dance Theatre of Harlem perform during a dinner held at the White House on February 6, 2006. President George W. Bush and Laura Bush are in attendance …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.