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Character Dance 4

Our first three posts have interpreted character dance as referring to the examples of national and folk dance which appear in ballet. The term can also refer to a dance which expresses the character (as in personality or profession) of a dancer. These so-called character parts help with the narrative or story-telling side of ballet. They are often comic and may be danced by older members of the company.

A fine example is the clog-dance from Ashton's La Fille Mal Gardée (The Wayward Daughter). The daughter of the title, Lise, tempts her mother, Widow Simone, to perform a clog dance. At first, Widow Simone is resistant but she soon gives in. The dance is very funny and features ballerinas dancing en pointe in clog shoes, a remarkable and rare feat.

The mother herself is played by a man (like a pantomime dame). Here is Will Tuckett taking on the role of Widow Simone for the Royal Ballet, London in 2005. At the very start of the clip you can see Widow Simone trying to stop Lise from talking to her lover, Colas. Colas is played by Carlos Acosta.

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