Resources > Tom's Dance Page > Ballet-Modern
Mar 18, 2004.
to dance page
Part 1 of
Part 2: General Questions.
To Part 3: Ballet, Modern Dance, and You.
To Part 4: History.
To Part 5: Miscellaneous questions.
To Part 6: Reading List.
To Part 7: Organizations.
Copyright © 1995-2004 by Thomas Parsons; all rights reserved. This
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is provided as is without any express or implied warranties. While every
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information contained herein. Please note that if you are reading this
FAQ from any source other than my home page, www.panix.com/~twp,
the version you are reading may not be the most recent.
Brooklyn, New York
Corrected error attributing list of seven kinds of dance movement to Noverre;
moved list into new entry in Part 3, Question C.22. Expanded and improved answers to
Questions D.4 ("What is the oldest
surviving ballet?") and D.5 ("When was the first ballet school started?")
is this group?
there a group for modern dance?
is the difference between alt.arts.ballet and rec.arts.dance?
there any other ballet/modern groups?
can I access this group?
can I post to this group?
there any dance pages on the World Wide Web?
only a beginner; should I just shut up and listen?
Questions about Ballet and Modern Dance
is modern dance?
is a ballet class like?
is a barre?
do dancers take so many classes?
do dancers wear such funny shoes?
women really dance on their toes? Why?
don't men dance on pointe?
do dancers stand with their feet turned out?
is a tutu...and why do they call it that?
are all these "positions?"
all that French?
a female dancer is called a ballerina, what is a male dancer called?
is a "Prima Ballerina Assoluta"?
are: a choreographer, a regisseur, a repetiteur, a
ballet master, and an artistic director?
are the most popular ballets?
can I find books about dance?
can I find dance-related gifts?
can I find dance videos?
can I find dance-related clipart?
can I find recorded music for ballet?
Ballet, Modern Dance, and You
should I start taking ballet?
should I start taking modern dance?
in my early twenties; it it too late for me to start a professional
career in ballet?
35 (or 45 or 55 or...) years old. Is it ridiculous for me to consider
thinking of returning to ballet after --- years; how should I start?
Are there videos I can buy?
a man. I feel funny about taking ballet classes. I mean, isn't it...er...a
I'm starting ballet. What equipment do I need?
a guy! Do I have to wear tights?
can I buy dancewear?
can I make a tutu?
do I find/choose a school or teacher?
can I tell if a teacher is good?
the teacher makes me feel good, won't I become overconfident?
live in ----; where can I take classes?
don't know a thing about ballet and I'm trying to select a school
for my child. What should I look for?
is this "Dolly Dinkle" business, anyway?
about studying in a university dance department?
can I find out about Summer dance programs?
took my first class and I couldn't understand what was going on!
keep getting mixed up!
are the basic movements in dance?
can I learn to raise my leg over my shoulder, the way I see other
can my daughter start toe dancing?
an adult beginner. Am I too old for pointe?
5'7" (or whatever) high. Am I too tall for ballet?
is a career in dancing like?
daughter's gym classes are interfering with her ballet training.
What can I do to make the school listen?
can I build a proper floor for dancing?
high should a ballet barre be?
job hunting. Any tips for preparing a résumé?
thought ballet was a Russian art.
was the first ballet?
is the oldest surviving ballet?
was the first ballet school started?
did ballet develop after the founding of that school?
did ballet develop in the nineteenth century?
in the 20th century
there a way of writing down dance, the way we write down music?
there software for doing choreography?
there software for my dance studio?
is Contact Improvisation?
offering help with eating disorders
I wish to thank
Eliot Aronstern, Lise Brenner, Victor Eijkhout, and Lance Westergard for
reading the first draft and providing valuable comments and suggestions.
Thanks also to Robert Atwood, Tom Baird, Randy Barron, Marion Bastien, Eileen
Bauer, Michael Bjerknes, Melinda Buckwalter, Laurel F. Brady, Bonnie Brooks,
CarlosC14, the Collier Family, Mark Coniglio, Alan Corneretto, Nancy Dalva,
Danczarina@aol.com, Callum Downie, William Fitzgerald, Jean Fitzpatrick,
Claudia Folts, Eyvonne Gratz, Robinne Gray, Lisa M. Hahn, Alice T. Hall,
Claudia Jeschke, Steve Keeley, Frances Kemmish, Kathy Kerr, Keith Knox,
Koo@monmouth.com, Sandi Kurtz, Joel Levine, Matthew Lewis, Vanessa Marino,
Debby McConnell, firstname.lastname@example.org, John Moran, NextStage@aol.com, Bob D.
Peterson, Roger Plaut, PriMoDnc <email@example.com>, Lori Pryor, Amy
Reusch, Rocio C. Barraza Rivacoba, Jessica Schein, Shannon <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
Tim Scholl, Sheila <LEHNERS@msn.com>, Robert Greskovic, Estelle Souche,
CHO Tomoko, Tim Victor, Jack Walker, Kimberly Wallace, Karen Ward, Jim Williams,
Leigh Witchel, Trog Woolley, Mark Zetler, and many other contributors to
this group whose postings and suggestions (and corrections) are gradually
finding their way into this FAQ.
A note about
is, with few exceptions, in French. I have used the HTML codes for accented
characters: é for acute e, and so on. But with some browsers, notably
lynx, these codes are not supported. If you use such a browser, strange
spellings--like plii for plie'--may result from the interaction between
the browser and your system.
In a group as young as this one was when this FAQ was first written,
we didn't have enough data to identify "frequently-asked" questions,
with a few exceptions; hence many of the entries were answers to questions
that we might reasonably expect to be frequently asked, or
at least wondered about. I chose to discuss things that I myself had
wondered about; things that, I surmised, beginners and non-dancers
must wonder about (since this group is specifically intended to include
them); a few technical points (well known to dancers but not to spectators);
and a brief history of ballet from 1489 to the close of the Diaghilev
era. Coverage has since been expanded in response to requests and
suggestions from the group. The FAQ ends with some questions that
don't fit well into the other categories, a list of references and
periodicals, and a list of dance-related organizations.
This FAQ is posted bimonthly (on even-numbered months) in alt.arts.ballet,
and also to rtfm.mit.edu, where most FAQs are available through anonymous
FTP. It is also posted on my web page. This FAQ and several others
can also be obtained by e-mail from the Dancers' Archive. E-mail email@example.com
with one of the following "get" commands in the Subject
line. You will get from 1 to 4 emails back, depending on which FAQ
you requested. Here are the commands:
`get' must be specified as shown above, otherwise the email server
won't know what you want to do. The word `faq' can be capitalized,
but the other words (rad, stretch, dancewear, and aab) cannot. `faq'
cannot be mixed-case. For this FAQ, request aab-faq. The other two:
rad-faq is the FAQ for rec.arts.dance and stretch-faq is for Brad
Appleton's FAQ on stretching (see Question
Amy Reusch has assembled a draft FAQ containing advice for aspiring
dancers who wonder whether they should include college in their plans.
It can be found in the ballet-modern directory of the Dancers' Archive
under the name, Schooling-FAQ.
The purpose of alt.arts.ballet is to provide a forum for people
with an interest in ballet and/or the more modern outgrowths of
All questions, comments, information and discussion pertaining
to ballet and/or modern dance are welcome, and ALL members of
the ballet/modern dance community (e.g., dancers, choreographers,
fans, students, etc.) are encouraged to participate.
This is it. Don't be misled by our name; modern-dance people post
here frequently and are welcome here.
Our group branched off from rec.arts.dance. Eliot Aronstern founded
alt.arts.ballet, in May 1994, to provide an on-line locale for
discussion of any and all topics related to ballet and modern
dance as a performing art. The primary focus in rec.arts.dance
is on discussion of social and competitive partner dancing, although
there remains some degree of overlap between these two groups.
No; this is it. But there is a ballet chat group on the New York
Times board, accessible though America OnLine. (The following
information is supplied by Danczarina@aol.com and Valerie Noelle.)
To access it,
From the AOL pull down menu, select GO TO "Keyword"
(or command K on the keyboard).
Type in "@times" and hit the "go" button.
At the "welcome to NY times" menu, click on "Message
Boards" at the bottom.
At the "@times message boards" menu, click on "list
categories" at lower left.
Scroll down till you see "Music & Dance," and click
Scroll down and you will find the following categories:
Styles, Dance Careers"
There is also a mailing list, called the Dance Ballet Mailing
List. (The following information is supplied by Rocio C. Barraza
Rivacoba.) Its description is as follows:
Dance Ballet is a general discussion group about classical dance
and ballet, made up of professional dancers, directors, students,
instructors, choreographers, dance artists & photographers,
studio owners and many others.
subscribe, send an e-mail to
with the subject, "Subscribe" (without the quotes).
You will receive a questionnaire; it's not very demanding (essentially,
all you must do is be interested in dance); once you've answered
that and returned it, you're subscribed.
Direct access to the group is available via news readers at most
sites. This FAQ includes a link to
If you are unable to access alt.arts.ballet, please make a request
(to your local net news administrator) to have this group picked
up on your local site, and/or contact Eliot
(firstname.lastname@example.org) directly by e-mail for assistance.
You can also reach the newsgroup via the Web; use http://groups.google.com/groups?as_ugroup=alt.arts.ballet.
For a mailing-list subscription, e-mail to email@example.com
from your account; make the body of the message
If you ever want to terminate your subscription, e-mail to the
same address with the body
After subscribing, you post messages by sending them to
Early postings to this group are archived in Dancers' Archive
(maintained by Eileen Bauer,
but because of a lack of disc space, nothing has been archived
since February, 1997, and the files, which run back to the inception
of the group, are nearly all compressed with the gnu zip data-compression
utility. The compressed files have an extension ".gz"
in their names. To extract these, you must download them and run
the decompression program gunzip on them. To access Dancers'
Archive, do an anonymous FTP to ftp.std.com, use the gopher to
access Dancers' Archive, or, on the Web, use
Two gopher routes to the Archive: (1) gopher gopher.std.com and
wander down the nonprofit menus until you get to Dancers' Archive.
(2) gopher gopher.panix.com, select New York Art Line, then Music,
Performance and Dance, and then the Archive. Many a Web page--including
this one--also includes
a link to the Archive.
Eileen now also offers a daily digest of alt.arts.ballet. To subscribe
to it, email firstname.lastname@example.org with either the subject
or the body containing the line:
unsubscribe by sending the message,
will receive one post per day, probably averaging ~50k. (The digest
is automatically purged of spams, by the way.) If you are already
a subscriber to the ballet-modern mailing list, this is a separate
service and you will NOT be automatically unsubscribed from the
You can post articles to this group with your newsreader.
If your provider won't support access to the alt. hierarchy, you
can also post here by e-mail via one of the following addresses:
Yes. Web pages are generally a mixed bag; some pages are just
lists of links to other pages; some are still under construction;
and some are full of information and pictures. Moreover, Web sites
sometimes just disappear without a trace. The following entries
are pointers to lists of pages.
Victor Eijkhout, in the FAQ for rec.arts.dance, asks this question
and answers it as follows: "No. Tell stories about your experiences,
or post questions and listen to the--no doubt conflicting--answers
you'll get." (But read this FAQ first.)
If you're new to the Net, however, it's a good idea to look around
at various newsgroups and get a feel for the way things are done.
There are virtually no rules, but there are customs. On
the news.answers group you will find a number of useful
documents for familiarizing yourself with the Net. I particularly
said there were virtually no rules; that last document would be
better named, "Guidelines for posting....")
A Primer on How to Work With the Usenet Commmunity
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Usenet
Hints on writing style for Usenet
Rules for posting to Usenet
It's also a good idea, with any group that's new to you, to "lurk"--i.e.,
to read without posting--for a week or two to see what the group
is like and the kinds of topic that are discussed.