2 3 Throwback Thursday Rake | Ballet Webb

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Throwback Thursday Rake

Throwback Thursday Rake

The word “raked” as an adjective means “inclining from the vertical or from the horizontal” according to www.dictionary.com. A raked stage is one that is higher in the back (away from the audience) than it is in the front.  As I mentioned in a recent blog, this is where the terms upstage and downstage come from.

Here is a brief history of raked stages from https://www.thoughtco.com/raked-stage-3219701:
“In Shakespearean times, theatres were built with an open area in front of the stage, where the poorest viewers, called groundlings, stood to watch performances. Raking the stage allowed cast members placed on the immediate action happening nearest the audience to still be seen.”  

Raked stages are seldom encountered today, since they fell out of favor in the early 20th century. They are more often found outside the U.S., but some still exist here, often in towns with historic theaters. For instance, Ford’s Theatre in Washington D.C. still has a raked stage.

Dancing on a raked stage can be disconcerting, although I found it easier to pirouette – I suppose because it forces your body forward. The slant isn’t usually visible to the eye, but it definitely felt when one is dancing on it.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Dance History Secret #251:
“A raked stage slants toward the audience.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“All the world's a stage.”
― William Shakespeare, As You Like It

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