Forum: Ballet / Character Ballet

Character Ballet
Demi Character Classical Ideas Needed!
By DancerAJ113 Comments: 13, member since Thu Sep 25, 2014
On Tue Jan 20, 2015 03:15 AM

Hello, I am 14 years old and am looking for some demi character ideas for my upcoming competition. People in my section normally do things like princesses, butterfly, sailor and that kind of thing.

I was thinking maybe Wendy from Peter Pan....Any other suggestions?

8 Replies to Demi Character Classical Ideas Needed!

re: Demi Character Classical Ideas Needed!
By wembley Comments: 310, member since Fri Oct 10, 2008
On Wed Jan 21, 2015 08:13 PM
Here are a few ideas.... The little mermaid when she first gets her feet and can dance, little red riding hood with a basket of goodies, somebody seeing a foreign city for the first time, a tarantella style dance, Cinderella dancing with the broom, a kitten waking up and then playing.
re: Demi Character Classical Ideas Needed!
By Storm_Trouper Comments: 808, member since Mon May 21, 2012
On Wed Jan 21, 2015 11:05 PM
Hey, what is meant by 'demi' when used for describing a character dance? (demi = half or semi)
re: Demi Character Classical Ideas Needed!
By hummingbird Comments: 10410, member since Mon Apr 18, 2005
On Wed Jan 21, 2015 11:26 PM
It means it's a classical dance performed with a character in mind and a few 'characterful' steps, unlike a character dance which is normally a stylized national dance performed using balletic technique, like a Czardas or a Mazurka.
re: Demi Character Classical Ideas Needed!
By SandraLAVixenmember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 904, member since Tue Jul 18, 2006
On Thu Jan 22, 2015 03:01 PM
In Russia and other parts of the east, we have a set of Classical Ballet and Character Ballet step "equivalents".

For example, a Classical frappe is done with cou de pied side of coupe back and sharply extending the leg straight front, side, or back without striking the floor, in a Character frappe (or common western/Balanchine) it starts with a flexed foot and strikes the floor.

Another example are tendus, in Classical it just brushes outwards, in Character it has a plie flex at the point of extension.

I don't have the complete list and I don't think there are equivalents for ever step, but I just wanted to mention that.
re: Demi Character Classical Ideas Needed!
By wembley Comments: 310, member since Fri Oct 10, 2008
On Thu Jan 22, 2015 10:00 PM
I'm in Australia, and here Demi-character is a section at eisteddfods. Eisteddfods are competitions derived from the Welsh tradition. They may be for dance only, but often include sections for singing and music as well. A lot of the students who I dance with compete at two eisteddfods each year. If doing solos, they would usually do a classical piece, and then sometimes a comteporary or Demi-character piece.

In this system, Demi-character is like Hummingbird described it - a classical dance (often in pointe shoes) portraying a character of some type. It is a bit more fun than a typical classical variations, and helps the students to develop their acting skills. For example, I've seen girls do pieces based on the little match girl, Mary Poppins or visiting Paris.

We also do character as Sandalavixon describes it, but that is often described as National character. This is done in character shoes (black, low or Cuban heel), and the actual style varies a bit depending on which country's dance style is being portrayed (e.g. Polish, Hungarian etc....).
re: Demi Character Classical Ideas Needed!
By Storm_Trouper Comments: 808, member since Mon May 21, 2012
On Fri Jan 23, 2015 12:39 AM
Many thanks for the explanations!

So, as a male classical dance student, I am looking to choreograph and perform a piece characterizing a hockey player (very graceful, powerful, agile and athletic on the ice, hockey stick instead of a broom, goal net instead of a barre, knitted hockey stockings instead of leg warmers), almost a national character in the Great White North!
re: Demi Character Classical Ideas Needed!
By wembley Comments: 310, member since Fri Oct 10, 2008
On Fri Jan 23, 2015 06:37 AM
I haven't seen as many male Demi-character pieces, but the ones which I remember are James Bond and Legolas the elf, so a hockey player would fit in fine!
re: Demi Character Classical Ideas Needed!
By hummingbird Comments: 10410, member since Mon Apr 18, 2005
On Fri Jan 23, 2015 12:30 PM
I agree, if you're entering a general dance competition or festival your dance about a hockey player would either be in Demi Character or Character, this is where it gets really confusing. In this case the classification would depend on how much classical work was in the choreography, more classical work would be Demi Character, less would mean Character. These would be general dance competitions though.

When you talk about this from a purely balletic point of view Sandra is quite right, character dance is an art form in itself and used in many of the old classics, like Coppelia and Swan Lake, think about all of the princesses retinue dances from act 3 in of Swan Lake, they're all Character.

I've not seen Character classes on offer in North America, I might have just missed them but it is taught all over Europe and is part of any serious dancers training there, it's even part of the RAD children's exam syllabus.

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