NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ824177
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2003-Apr
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 54
ISSN: ISSN-1464-7893
Problems with Ballet: Steps, Style and Training
Morris, Geraldine
Research in Dance Education, v4 n1 p17-30 Apr 2003
The purpose of this research is to instigate a debate about the way in which professional ballet dancers are trained and the content of that training. The literature on the teaching of ballet has always focused on two areas: ballet vocabulary and training. The former is treated as both a fixed and autonomous form, and, for the latter, methods of training have hardly changed since the middle of the last century. The standard training is almost entirely teacher led and gives the student little opportunity for dialogue or dissension. There is almost no research which challenges this situation but the teaching methods and tenacious way in which tradition, or what is perceived to be tradition, is upheld is, I believe, leading to a loss of creativity in both the dancing and the making of dances. This paper explores these problems. I begin by outlining the problem and, using theory developed from Pierre Bourdieu, suggest some possible reasons for the reluctance or inability of pedagogues to embrace change. I follow with a brief discussion of training systems (Ninette de Valois' Vaganova in particular) indicating both the stylistic values underpinning each system and the outcome of those values on the dancer's body. To illustrate more fully the effect of training styles on dancers' bodies, I focus on two performances of the same work and highlight how dancers with dissimilar training present very different interpretations. The paper closes with some suggestions for instigating change. (Contains 4 notes.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A