2 3 Dancers , Corners, and Imaginary Squares | Ballet Webb

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Dancers , Corners, and Imaginary Squares

One of the first concepts a dancer learns is the idea of an imaginary box, or square.  This square forms the basis of the geometry of body facings, whether the dancer is onstage or in the classroom.  I teach the “headlights” concept first (see previous post), so the students know that when they face a particular direction, both headlights should focus in that direction.
When I work with young children, I have them stand on pre-cut pieces of colorful paper (about 12 inches square); or I have them draw an imaginary box on the floor with their fingers, and then instruct them to stand in the middle of this “box”.  Then we go through the process of shining their headlights to the front of the box, the back, the side, and finally, the corner.
I explain that when a dancer isn’t facing front, they face the corner of their box, not the corner of the room or the stage.  For older dancers, I go on to explain that this serves more than one purpose.  First, it presents the dancer’s body from the best possible angle (the seat isn’t visible!); it makes the dancer appear to be longer and leaner; and finally, the angle of every dancer in the room will be identical – critical for corps de ballet work.
From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets:
Secret # 5b:  “A dancer seldom faces the corner of the room or stage, but instead faces the corner of his/her own box, or square.”
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