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The Ballet of Writing

Writing. Learning the violin. Who knows. Ballet could be next.

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

The Brevity staff gets back to basics.The Brevity staff gets back to basics.

All professional dancers take ballet. Even this guy. It’s the foundation of their physical training, and it’s a particularly precise and detailed style of movement. Once a dancer understands and embodies the concepts of ballet, it’s considerably easier to master other styles of dance. The language of ballet weaves through other dance styles–while staggering through a 3-week residency with the choreographer Reggie Wilson (I was there as a scholar/researcher, but we all took morning class), I watched as he demonstrated sixteen complex counts, the feet coming from Haitian religious dance, the hips from a ringshout with a dash of Martha Graham. “What are the arms?” one girl asked. Reggie tossed over his shoulder, “Oh, it’s just port de bras fifth-fourth-third, alternate arabesque but en de dans.”* Everyone else in the room briefly nodded, and then they all did it, because they knew exactly…

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