Character Dance

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
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.
Whether kindly, comic, or mysterious, Drosselmeyer is typically played by character dancers who've honed their acting skills over time, in productions ranging from completely classical to utterly unconventional.
The two very young character dancers, Min-Young Cho and Ji-Hoon Yeom, brilliantly sharing the virtuoso role of the Golden Idol, seemed more at home with their role than did the Solors, and indeed there was quality in the character work, also notable as the various Fakirs and in the second-act Indian Dance, included in this version as are the Parrot Dance and the solo of the Girl balancing the jar on her head.
Without these supporting players--the corps de ballet and character dancers in ballet and the ensemble in modern dance and on Broadway--the show just couldn't go on.
Classical dancing peaks early, with the vision scene's cornucopia of steps; then come the character dancers in Act II, when Abderakhman (Laurent Hilaire) attempts to seduce Raymonda with the charms of Arabia and Moorish Spain.
Character dancers have an important role in almost every dance form.
Fittingly, the character dancers never let him down.
Although Vladimir Vasiliev heads the company in these post-Grigorovich days (since 1995), there seems to be no one like him or Maris Liepa or Mukhamedov dancing anymore--the unstintingly heroic, dashing romantics of a time past; only a few blazing character dancers like Mikhail Sharkov, whose thrilling virtuosity and physical boldness wed to a characterful plastique, could define a role like the Jester.
The male dancers here run the spectrum from little guys who do tricks to partners, actors, and character dancers. Even though I'm in the corps, I get to do great stuff.
Both choreographers made good use of the wealth of good young character dancers in the company, especially Ararat Chinarjan, Nikoleta Rafaelisova, and Juraj Vasilenko.