Working on furthering our study of patterns this week, I joined up with the “dance crew” to try doing math with our feet. While working on this task, I immediately turned to my ballet instincts. I dance, and a lot of things in ballet are structured around a square. At the beginning of ballet class, you start of at the barre and warm up. Most every combination is focused on your own little square that you point and extend your feet and legs to. At the barre, it is most common to have combinations that work directly to your front, side, and back. If a combination makes it’s way around repeating the same movement to the front, side, back, and then back to the side it is referred to as “en croix” which translates to on the cross. Your feet are moving in a pattern that resembles the shape of a cross. Not only can patterns be found in the repetition of your exercise at every position, but also the consistency of using “en croix” between every new exercise introduced. Yeah, ballet patterns!

For my weekly work I took pictures of different ballet positions in centre- usually what comes after barre in class. These positions are also centered around a square and are consistent throughout most ballet classes. Therefore you can find a pattern working within the class to see everyone using the same position, but you can also see the pattern between different classes that use the same positions.

1. Croisé devant

croise devant

2. En face

en face

3. Écarté devant

acarte devant

4. Efaccé devant

efface devant

5. A la seconde

a la seconde

6. Croisé derrière

croise derriere

7. En face

en face derriere

8. Écarté derrière

a carte derriere

9. Efaccé derrière

efface derriere

10. Á la seconde (opposite of above)

Someday I might want to teach ballet. If I do, and if I work with young children, incorporating pattern work would be a part of my class. Maybe allowing those kids to see patterns in something they love with help them excel in school.

I loved working and thinking about my work this week. Ballet is my life and incorporating into the classroom and even my homework is awesome. It’s important to recognize what you love, so that once you manage a classroom you appreciate those things and can let the students have some of their favorite things incorporated as well.

A few questions I’d like to answer from feedback:

Are there any typical patterns or sequences in ballet that get reused a lot?

Usually in class, we will work on a sequence or a pattern of steps each class period and add on to it as we go. Sometimes these sequences occur in “barre” which is the first warm up we do in class or in “centre” which is the next part of class using the whole floor. One sequence I can think of is “tombe, pas de borre, glissade, grand jete.” It’s a very common and flowing set of movement I’ve had in nearly every class I’ve taken. Here’s a link to a dancer doing just that! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N872wtRZANE
It would be interesting to see these abstracted to positions on a square.

here’s an image I found that puts all the positions on a square- it’d be hard to follow if you weren’t already familiar with the positions: http://www.laban-analyses.org/jeffrey/1996-jeffrey-scott-longstaff-phd-thesis/IVA60_ballet_prototypes1.jpg


Is there a way/system ballet choreographers use to write down a dance? Or is it just visual record of the dancers’ movements?

Some teachers will write down combinations to help you remember if need be, I’ve done it a handful of times myself, but it’s usually just a jumble of words that you wouldn’t understand unless you are familiar with the way that teacher speaks or have a little understanding of how the dance should go. One of the best ways to record movement is by video. When I collaborate with a friend of mine while working on pieces, we often record entire class sessions when we are creating so we can reference anything we might have forgotten.