Simply Ballet History – Adeline Genee

Posted on 9 September 202327 February 2024Categories Simply BalletTags ,

The dance world’s first Dame – Dame Adeline Genée was not only a success onstage, but also a champion of dance training. As the first President of the Royal Academy of Dance, she left a legacy that has lasted over 100 years.

Simply Ballet History

Dance's First Dame - Adeline Genée

The dance world’s first Dame – Dame Adeline Genée was not only a success onstage, but also a champion of dance training. As the first President of the Royal Academy of Dance, she left a legacy that has lasted over 100 years.

Born in Denmark in 1878, her initial training and performing came from her uncle who had a small touring dance company. After professional success onstage in the Royal Danish Ballet, she danced in Germany, London, and North America.

In 1913, Genée visited Australia, dancing in Sydney and Melbourne in her most famous role of Swanila in Coppelia. In 1916 she returned to tour with JC William’s company at a time when ballet was just gaining traction in the new Land Down Under.

As Genée’s stage career was winding down, her next project was just beginning. After lamenting the state of dance training, a group of influential and knowledgeable former ballerinas came together to form a association designed to lift the quality of ballet teaching. Genée, along with Phyllis Bedells, Lucia Cormani, Edouard Espinosa, Tamara Karsavina formed the Association of Operatic Dancing in 1920, of which Genée was named President. The organisation, which later became the Royal Academy of Dance currently trains dancers and teachers in over 85 countries around the world. Having worked to standardise, codify, and develop training methods, she was named a Dame of the British Empire in 1950. Her retirement from the RAD in 1954 passed the baton to another influential English Ballerina – Margot Fonteyn.

Adeline Genée died in 1970, having made the ballet world a better place – for which we are all grateful.

Simply Ballet History – The Father of Australian Ballet Edward Borovansky

Posted on 29 July 202327 February 2024Categories Simply BalletTags ,

Sometimes known as the ‘father of Australian Ballet’ It’s often said he started the first Australian ballet company – but that’s not quite true… That was Helen Kirosova.

Edouard, or Edward Borovansky had an enormous influence on the development of ballet in Australia.

Simply Ballet History

The Father of Australian Ballet - Edouard Borovansky

Edouard Borovansky (1902-1959)

Sometimes known as the ‘father of Australian Ballet’ It’s often said he started the first Australian ballet company – but that’s not quite true… That was Helen Kirosova. Edouard, or Edward Borovansky had an enormous influence on the development of ballet in Australia.

Edouward Borovansky and his wife Xenia first came to Australia from Czechoslovakia in 1929 with Anna Pavlova’s touring company. It was a false start though, as they returned to Europe where Edouard eventually joined the Ballets Russe de Monte Carlo. They returned to Australia in 1938 with the Covent Garden Russian Ballet, and the couple decided to stay as war loomed in Europe.

Starting a small school in Melbourne with Eunice Weston and his wife Xenia teaching – within a year they had enough students to start a small ballet company. The company’s local success eventually attracted financial backing from touring company J C Williams whose support meant the now named Borovansky Australian Ballet Company could present established repertoire, and new choreography by Borovansky himself.

As the company grew, it attracted more Australian dancers. Local stars such as Martin Rubenstein (eventually an RAD Examiner), Kathleen Gorman (later a renowned teacher), Garth Welch, Marilyn Jones (stars of the later formed Australian Ballet Company) were all part of the company.

In 1948 the company folded due to lack of funds – but Borovansky was not deterred. Reestablishing in 1951, a glorious period followed including an appearance from Margot Fonteyn and Michael Somes in 1957, and a string of uniquely Australian choreographic works from Borovansky himself.

Sadly, in 1959 Borovansky died and the Borovansky Ballet passed into the hands of Dame Peggy vaan Praugh for 3 years until JC Williamson disbanded the company in 1961 – not without good reason though. A grant from the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust, designed to lead to the establishment of the Australian Ballet Company was received, and as they say – the rest is history!

Simply Ballet History – The First Swanhilda

Posted on 29 November 202227 February 2024Categories Simply BalletTags ,

Coppélia (sometimes subtitled The Girl with the Enamel Eyes) is a comic ballet from 1870 originally choreographed by Arthur Saint-Léon to the music of Léo Delibes. The love story follows a couple (Franz and Swanhilda) and a magical toymaker (Dr. Coppélius) trying to bring a doll to life (Coppélia). It eventually became the most performed ballet at the Opera.

Simply Ballet History

The First Swanhilda

Coppélia (sometimes subtitled The Girl with the Enamel Eyes) is a comic ballet from 1870 originally choreographed by Arthur Saint-Léon to the music of Léo Delibes.  The love story follows a couple (Franz and Swanhilda) and a magical toymaker (Dr. Coppélius) trying to bring a doll to life (Coppélia).  It eventually became the most performed ballet at the Opera. 

Coppélia premiered on 25 May 1870 at the Paris Opera, with the 16-year-old Giuseppina Bozzacchi in the principal role of Swanhilda and ballerina Eugénie Fiocre playing the part of Frantz en travesti. Modern-day productions are traditionally derived from the revivals staged by Marius Petipa and Enrico Cechetti for the Imperial Ballet of St. Petersburg in the late 19th century.

Australia first encountered Coppélia in 1913 when Adeline Genée, former President of the Royal Academy of Dance, brought the ballet on tour with the Imperial Russian Ballet.  In 1946, the Borovansky Ballet (precursor to the current Australian Ballet) staged a version, and in 1958 Sir Robert Helpmann returned to Australia with the Royal Ballet and danced the role of Dr. Coppélius.

Shortly after the founding of the Australian Ballet Company in 1962, then director Dame Peggy Van Praagh created the iconic version the is still in the company’s repertoire today.  The full ballet is currently available to view on ABC iView.

Pictured: 16-year-old Giuseppina Bozzacchi, and Dame Peggy Van Praagh as Swanhilda

Simply Ballet History – Vaslav Nijinski

Posted on 7 October 202227 February 2024Categories Simply BalletTags , , ,

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Vaslav Nijinski was the male star dancer of Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes in the early 20th Century. After graduating from the Imperial Ballet school, he was accepted straight into the second company rank at the Imperial Ballet in 1907, but left to join Diaghilev’s revolutionary new Ballets Russes in 1909.

Simply Ballet History

Vaslav Nijinski

Vaslav Nijinski was the male star dancer of Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes in the early 20th Century (More on the Ballets Russes in another post!)

After graduating from the Imperial Ballet school, he was accepted straight into the second company rank at the Imperial Ballet in 1907, but left to join Diaghilev’s revolutionary new Ballets Russes in 1909.

Pictured here in his costume from “The Blue god” (depicting the Hindu god Krishna), Michel Fokine’s choreography was supposed to display the virtuoso dancing of Vaslav Nijinsky, however mainly consisted of a series of poses inspired by Hindu sculpture.

Vaslav Nijinski poses as the blue god
Nijinski Costume the blue god National Galley Australia

The ballet premiered in 1912, and continued in the company’s repertoire until it was danced during Colonel De Basil’s Original Ballet Russe tour of Australia (1939-1940).  In a bizarre twist of fate, a cane basket full of costumes was left behind at a theatre.  In the early 1990’s, the National Gallery of Australia purchased the basket unknowingly in a clearance auction, only to discover a treasure trove of authentic early 20th Century Ballets Russes costumes.  The pieces have been lovingly restored and are now on display at the National Galley in Canberra, including Nijinski’s ‘Blue god’ costume.

Vasalav Nijinski himself had a sad end to his dancing career.  After trying his hand at choreography (not super successfully…) his virtuosity was not enough to repair a falling out with Sergei Diaghilev.  He was let go from the company and endeavoured to start his own troupe, however the start of World War 1 forced him to settle in Switzerland.  His mental health deteriorated, being diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1919 he was admitted to a mental asylum and never danced in public again.

Simply Educate

Posted on 3 October 202227 February 2024Categories Simply BalletTags , ,

Simply Ballet Dictionary. French Terms for Ballet Class.
When you first start learning ballet it can be a bit confusing because all the steps are named in French.

Check out our online ballet dictionary below to get your head around some of the terms.

Simply Educational

Simply Ballet Dictionary

When you first start learning ballet it can be a bit confusing because all the steps are named in French.

Why? Well for that answer head over to our Ballet History posts here for more info…

In the meantime, check out our online ballet dictionary below to get your head around some of the terms.

A

Assemblé

To gather or bring together

A jump in which the dancer pushed off from one foot, gathering both together in the air before landing on two feet

B

Balancé – To Rock or Sway

A lilting step, generally done on a waltz rhythm. Can be done de côté (sideways) en avant (forwards) or en arrière (backwards)

Batterie – The act of beating

An action where a dancer embellished a jump by beating or crossing the thighs against one another in a series of rapid movements. Most jumps can be berformed in a simple form, or beaten.

C

Chasseé – A  chased step

A linking step performed through a demi-plié. Can be used in a variety of ways depending on choreography

D

De côté – Travelling sideways

Used to describe the direction of any travelling step that moves sideways, either in the air or on the ground. Most dance steps can be taken travelling forward, backwards, or side ways (de côté)

Derrière – Behind

The term used to describe the placement of the working leg behind the body, or behind the other leg in a extended or closed position such as 5th

Devant – In front of

The term used to describe the placement of the working leg infront of the body, either extended or in a closed position such as 5th

E

Échappé – To Escape

An action where the dancer begins with the feet in 5th position and quickly moves the legs to an open position. Generally performed to 2nd or 4th, it can be a relevé or a jump

En avant – Travelling Forwards

Used to describe the direction of any travelling step that moves forwards, either in the air or on the ground. Most dance steps can be taken travelling sideways, backwards, or forwards (en avant)

En arrière – Travelling Backwards

Used to describe the direction of any travelling step that moves backwards, either in the air or on the ground. Most dance steps can be taken travelling forward, sideways, or backwards – en arriėre

Épaulement – Use of the shoulders

Derived from the verb épauler, the dancer turns the spine to bring one shoulder forward or back

F

Fondu – To Melt

A smoothly coordinated movement, bending and stretching both legs which is helpful for developing strength and control. Positions or steps can also be taken en fondus

G

Glissade – Gliding or Sliding

A connecting step often used before a jump. Can be performed in all directions and different characteristics depending on the choreography.

J

Jeté – To throw

A jump from one leg which lands on the other. Can be taken in many different forms from Jeté ordinaire (ordinary) to Grand Jeté (big throw).

P

Plié – To bend

A bending of the knees. Can be done as a demi (half) plié or grand (big or full) plié

Ports de Bras – Carriage of the arms

The training and movement of the arms within ballet is generally refered to as Ports de Bras. This could be an individual exercise, or choreographed arm movements with a dance or movement.

R

Relevé – To push up

An action of the legs where the dancers begins in demi-plié or en fondu, and with a strong, quick stretch of the legs, arrives on demi-pointe or en pointe.

Rond de Jambe – Circling of the leg

An action where the working leg performs a circular shape, either on the floor or in the air. Performed ‘outwards’ (en dehor), or ‘inwards’ (en dedans) in relation to the standing leg.

T

Tendu – To Stretch

An outstretched position or action of the leg.

Download Your Simply Ballet Info Pack

Posted on 22 January 202127 February 2024Categories Simply Ballet

Request an info pack for classes at Simply Ballet

Download Your Simply Ballet Information Pack

Thank you!

We can’t wait to help you find your perfect class.  You can download your Information Pack below containing details on classes, times, fees, uniform, exams, and more!

Ages 2-6
Simply Ballet Preschool Division Info Pack

 

Ages 7-18
Simply Ballet Graded Division Info Pack

 

Adults & Silver Swans Classes
Simply Ballet Open Division Info Pack

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Ballet students having fun after Examination
Royal Academy of Dance Registered Teacher

Thank you

Posted on 11 January 202123 April 2024Categories Simply Ballet

Thank you for booking!

You will received a confirmation email for your booking.  (If you can’t find it – please check your spam folder).  This will have your class date, time and level.  There is also a link to complete any remaining details we might need before your class.

We’ve also sent you all the information you need to know before your trial class as a document, but below are some of the most important bits.

Finding the Studio

Classes are held at King George Hall, 4A Koongarra Court, Magill 5072. There is free parking available onsite.  Aim to get to the studio around 5-10 mins before the start of your class if possible.  The closet bus stops are Stop 23 – Moules Rd and Stop 24 – Glen Stuart Rd.

Enter through the door closest to the car park, next to the sign.  Come through to the dressing room, which is the stage area of the hall – you can wait here if a previous class is still running. 

Bathrooms are available near the front entrance – You might want to take make use of them before class begins. 

In the waiting room, you can put your shoes on and get ready for your class. When it’s time for class to start, your teacher will come and collect you or your child from the waiting room.  Please take your bag into the dance studio. 

What To Wear?

If you or your child already have dancewear, whatever coloured leotard and tights/socks you already own is fine.  

If your child doesn’t have any dancewear – wear clothes that will allow their arms and legs to move freely and doesn’t cover their feet such as shorts, leggings, or footless tights and a fitted T-shirt or singlet.  For adult, any kind of activewear is usually fine.

Ballet Shoes are available to purchase at the studio, but cotton socks are perfectly fine for your trial class. 

Hair

Hair should be be secured in a way that it will not move during class, especially during bending or turning movements.  This applies for both male and female students.  A ponytail is usually not sufficient for this so you may want to consider a bun, a braid with the end pinned up, or another style. 

If you don’t know how to do a ballet bun, that’s ok – wrap a ponytail around its own elastic a few times and secure with some bobby pins or another elastic.

Is there anything else I need to bring?

If your class is 1 hour or longer, we suggest having a water bottle to drink from.  Adults may also like to bring a hand towel if you’re worried about sweat.  In hot weather students are required to have their own drink bottle as per our hot weather policy.  Filtered water is available onsite.

We look forward to having you along to experience Simply Ballet for yourself and if you have any questions in the meantime just contact us.  We look forward to meeting you at the studio soon to start your ballet adventure!

Kind regards,

The Simply Ballet Team

Download an Info Pack

Posted on 6 January 202127 February 2024Categories Simply Ballet

Download an info pack for classes at Simply Ballet. Details on how to book your trial class are included.

Download a Simply Ballet Information Pack

We understand that choosing a ballet school or class can be an in depth process.

We’ve put together all the info you need into a handy pack for you to keep it simple.

Click here to download your information pack for all our classes. 

Your pack includes details on class types and ages, fees, exams, what to wear and how to book your no obligation trial class.

Ballet students having fun after Examination