Things you learn when there’s a man in class

Men don’t do pas piqué turns.
At least, in Ballet According To Smirnoff they don’t.
Gentle Reader, are you a man? Do you do pas piqué turns?

Also, back in Smirnoff’s day men did not raise their legs above ninety degrees in extension nor did they rise up high onto the balls of their feet. Low half-toe only! Smirnoff is aware that Things Are Different In Ballet Nowadays, at least in the extension and relevé department, and he seems to respect if not fully agree with that.

The Worst Thing A Man Can Do: is copy the ladies reverénce.
While we’re all doing the deep, stylized curtsy, Smirnoff likes to halt any men in the class before they commit The Ultimate Crime, and instead leads them in the very reserved but manly head-bop.
Also, men mustn’t put their hand to their stomach during the reverénce as though they have a cramp.
Mustn’t!

Incidentally, I just googled ‘curtsy’ to make sure I was spelling it correctly, and discovered that 1) I totally was Not spelling it correctly, and 2) there is an interesting Wikipedia page about the history and origins of the curtsy, including its use in ballet and an awesome sounding modern extrapolation called The Texas Dip.

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About adultbeginner

Had my first ballet class Ever at the advanced age of thirty-two. Yikes.
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10 Responses to Things you learn when there’s a man in class

  1. When we have dudes in class we all do lady-style reverénce and then we all do dude-style reverénce. I’ll be darned if I can make dude-style reverénce look at all dignified, though.

  2. I`ve seen a lot of men doing piqué turns. As for the ladies reverénce, they boys automatically do it, when the class is taught by a female teacher. They can`t help. It`s so funny. It`s one of those kind of thing you know is going to happen. Lol

  3. SpaceDust says:

    I just discovered your blog and I am in love! I just started ballet at an older age (a month after my 18th birthday) and every time I feel discouraged about winning the Big Thigh Competition or crawling up the stairs the day after a tough class, this blog makes me laugh and puts it into perspective.

    PS: My first class (very classical/prestigious teacher, same studio as the National Ballet of Canada, all that jazz), I finished the ladies’ reverence and accidentally proceeded with the men’s reverence afterwards… Mess up in class all you want, but screw up that reverence and I tell you, sh*t hits the fan.

  4. Johanna says:

    Our dudes do piqué turns just like the rest of us, and I honestly can’t see why they should not. Sometimes our guys even get to do extra stuff, like princely variations with tours en l’air and such. Legs are extended to everyone’s own maximum height, unless the teacher tells otherwise. We had a pro danseur (and former principal) in class just a couple of weeks ago, and it was full out dancing on all counts. But no man shall copy the ballerina’s curtsy – it’s the ultimate faux pas! Our men (we have more than one) do a polite bow, and that’s it.

    Oh, and men shall behave like gentlemen in class (outside too). Girls always go first in diagonale, and guys make room. :)

  5. chrisgo says:

    I’ve done piqué turns as far back as I can remember. I’m sure they didnt look very good, but we were doing them regardless. We do them in the hard class all the time, and our teacher there is a dude.
    I’ve never curtsyed, never ever never. Every teacher I’ve ever had was always quick to remember that they have a dude in the studio and made sure I didn’t follow the ladies. One even went out of her way and rushed over to me to show me just what I should be doing. I’d have surly followed the ladies, I had no idea what was going on at that point of time.

  6. PBG says:

    When there have been men in my class, they did piques, but they did a manly bow and what my teacher described as “manly walking” as opposed to the dainty tiptoe-walking the ladies did.

    Fun fact: I can do a Texas Dip. I can even do one without the assistance of an escort to get me back up again, though it does help to have one.

    • Whah! You can do a Texas Dip?! Are you a debutante? I am impress!
      I especially like that little detail about turning your head at the last minute so as to avoid getting lipstick on your gown.
      Fancy!

      • PBG says:

        Totally NOT a debutante, LOL! My ballet teacher taught us that along with waltzing. She said it might be useful to know, and if not useful, fun. It was fun. Not useful, though.

  7. Bippidee says:

    When I have danced with men they have not done pique turns. In the RAD syllabus the boys don’t do them, so I am guessing traditionally they aren’t for men?

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