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Character Dance – exciting facet of ballet training

Character dance is a specialised subdivision of classical ballet.  It evolved from various national or folk dances and was incorporated as part of ballet aesthetics. Character dance is considered an integral part of the proper training  of classical ballet students. It provides young dancers with a better coordination, musicality and an ever more expressive upper body.

A bit of history

Character dance was mainly introduced into ballets in the 19th century to enhance the versatility, charisma and originality of choreography. “It is often used to give local colour to the setting of the scene and unfolding of the plot as in Petrushka or The Three Cornered Hat. It can add to the spectacle as in Swan Lake of The Nutcracker.” A good example of character dance within ballet is the series of national dances which take place at the beginning of Act III of Swan Lake. The ballet Don Quixote as well as La Sylphide also features many character variations based on traditional Spanish dances.

Character dance class at Russian School of Ballet

As a separate class, with it’s particular barre work and centre, this discipline is unique to the Russian Classical Ballet method. Plie in Russian character, Tendu in Spanish and Rond de jambe per terre in Mazurka – are just a few examples of the work we do in class at Russian School of Ballet. At times, character dance class can be more challenging than a ballet class in regards to coordination and use of back muscles. But it is always fun, bringing out in students different aspects of their personalities, new emotions and expressions. It teaches students to let go and enjoy the stage experience. It builds strength, stamina, coordination, rhythm and it generally improves ballet technique.

In Russian School of Ballet we teach students a wide range of character styles.  Russian, Spanish, Polish, Hungarian, Italian and Arabic character movements our teachers have incorporated into fully developed exercises and routines.

Discover a new exciting facet of ballet training, develop artistry and challenge yourself further than you thought possible. Come to class and experience it firsthand!

For more information send us email to or call us on 072 133 5284.

Age: 13+
Ballet level: Intermediate, Advanced.