One of the most beautiful facets of a classical ballet is its use of pantomime to convey the narrative to the audience. As there is traditionally no verbal communication, body language – most specifically, the expressive use of heads and arms – is how ballet dancers speak with one another on the stage as well as how they tell the story to the viewers. Below, Boston Ballet‘s Ballet Master Larissa Ponomarenko coaches Principal Dancers Viktorina Kapitonova and Patrick Yocum in some of the pantomime that takes place in Giselle.
Just as a ballet dancer’s feet articulate the steps, his/her hands are the eloquent words of a conversation. Some of the most common phrases are demonstrated in this video including “You are beautiful”, “I love you”, and “I swear. This serves as a wonderful tool for young artists to mimic and then develop into their own “voice” as well as a useful guide for helping future ballet goers understand better what they are seeing on stage.