The inherent movement variability underlying classical ballet technique and the expertise of a dancer
Research in Dance Education
Taylor & Francis Group
Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts
Ballet, the art form, is underpinned by a codified technique – a set of movements, positions and aesthetics. For centuries, ballet technique has been used to develop movement accuracy and artistry in generations of dancers. Volumes have been written on the schema of ballet technique and pedagogical approaches to achieving dance artistry. This paper considers how dancers achieve the movement accuracy demanded by ballet technique within the inherent and essential variability of functioning human body systems and according to the inevitable individuality of each human body. What role do variable biological mechanisms play in the pursuit of this advanced human ability? Using an exemplar analysis of the pirouette, we discuss how the human body’s innate movement variability can be integrated with ballet technique. Awareness of this integration has the potential to inform the pedagogical processes employed by dance educators, thereby focusing dancers’ aspirations towards the integration of their innate movement strategies within ballet technique. Each dancer develops a subtle, individual movement signature, and ballet dancers are afforded the opportunity to shape ballet in their own image.