Ballet language is in French. The French King Louis XIV used to dance a lot and created ballet steps and codes. So « Corps de Ballet » means « Ballet’s Body« . In other words, it defines the dancers who aren’t soloists and form a group.
I’m going to explain to you more specifically what are the tasks and duties of a corps member.
When you go to see a show, there is usually a main dancer and main characters who lead and tell the story. The rest of the dancers are the corps members. They are here to create an architectural effect. We can say that they are the glue that keeps everything together. If you have seen the classics such as Nutcracker or Swan Lake, there are big dancing parts like the « Snowflakes », « Flower Waltz », « The Swans » that are especially choreographed for the corps de ballet.
As you can see, those dances are performed by a big amount of dancers and need a lot of rehearsals to make it look flawless and outstanding.
Being a corps member, I m going to tell you
the truth about it.
We obviously train to become soloists but in the mean time we have to work hard and do our duties. Being at the lowest rank, doesn’t mean that you have less responsibilities it simply means that you have to work with your colleagues as a team. If you mess up during the show you actually mess up everybody’s work… You have to learn to shine by sharing a special moment with the group. As we are in the studio rehearsing during the day and on stage performing at night, we share many special moments. Not only artistical one’s but also in everyday’s life.
So being a corps member is a lot more significant that we think.
I must say that I find being a corps member pretty fun. I feel connected to my colleagues and their powerful energy is contagious. When we are on stage it’s a very satisfying feeling as we are sharing a story with audience and our friends/ colleagues.
Hope this info helped you to see what a corps de ballet brings to a performance.
Alex Inside Motion