Character Dance

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Character Dance


one of the expressive means of the ballet; a type of stage dance. Originally, the term “character dance” denoted a dance representative of a certain character, such as the dances performed in intermezzi or the dances inspired by artisans, peasants, or robbers. Later, the choreographer C. Blasis applied the term to all folk dances included in ballet performances, and it is this meaning that has survived to the present day. Choreographers and dancers of the classical school of dance created character dances in the classical style, using professional technique. Character-dance exercises for the bar and center were developed in the late 19th century and were later included as a pedagogical discipline in choreographic schools.

In contemporary ballet, the character dance may be an episode, or it may serve as a means of revealing a character in a ballet or creating a unified, integrated performance.


Lopukhov, A. V., A. V. Shiriaev, and A. I. Bocharov. Osnovy kharakternogo tantsa. Leningrad-Moscow, 1939.
Dobrovol’skaia, G. N. Tanets; Pantomima; Balet. Leningrad, 1975.


References in periodicals archive ?
Having trained at the Royal Ballet School, he went on to join the Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet (now Birmingham Royal Ballet) in the 1970s, where his reputation as a character dancer flourished through roles like the Widow Simone in La Fille mal gardee and Bottom in The Dream.
Barbee never had any formal training as a character dancer, but years of performing have taught him key elements of stagecraft that give his perfomances their impact.
The other two Odette/Odiles, Riolama Lorenzo and Arantxa Ochoa, showed promise, while their Siegfrieds, Zachary Hench--more of a character dancer than a classicist--and the efficient James Ady, hardly set the ballet on fire.
Kloborg has held a gamut of positions in the Danish ensemble, including principal performer, character dancer, ballet mistress, and teacher in the RDBS.
He looks, from this remove in time, like the ghostly character dancer in each one, like the ever-present Drosselmeyer of his own oeuvre.
Although, with the company's prima ballerina Margot Lander recently retired, in those days the women were not all that impressive internationally, and although dancers such as Margarethe Schanne, Mona Vangsaa, the young Kirsten Simone, and the great character dancer Gerda Karstens were fine enough, in all honesty it was the men who took the limelight.
David Drew, a company member since 1955 and now a principal character dancer and teacher, wrote a caustic criticism of the ex-director in the British paper, Mail on Sunday.
McKenzie's wish has been granted with an impeccable staging, mounted by a team headed by the great British character dancer, Alexander Grant, who is an Ashton expert and was a key member of the 1960 cast.
Widow Simone and the half-wit Alain are jewel roles for male character dancers, there are funky chickens, clog dancing and tricky patterns to create with ribbons to satisfy the corps de ballet.
As an artist, Shaun was the Mount Everest of character dancers, and anyone who takes on these roles has to compete with the memory of audiences who loved him.
However, the character dancers, Chinese, Arab and Russian certainly fell short of perfection.