A Ballerina is a female dancer in french, so it only makes sense that the term for male dancer would be Ballerino? Not totally true.
To outsiders, many of these terms and practices remain unknown most of the time. Ballerina is one of these terms that has become broadly used outside of the particular field where it is originated. You probably heard the term and know what it means, but if you do, you may have another question in mind. Let us dive into this subject and answer the questions related to it.
Ballet is a very technical form of classical dance that has been around for over five hundred years. It has its origins in France, and all the terminology associated with it is in French. That is to be expected. There is a kind of fetish around terminology in this genre, though. People obsess over the proper names of particular moves and all sorts of things. It is good to know them, though. It makes life a lot easier when practicing this demanding form of art.
Ballet is a kind of diminutive of Ballo, which means dance. You can expect a lot of French terminologies then when it comes to Ballet. Let us now touch on a very common term.
What makes ballet so special is that it is highly technical. The moves that make up the whole of Ballet take many years of very hard work to develop. It is a very demanding art form that needs to be developed very early in a person’s life to access higher levels of practice. It is very widely used all over the world to teach coordination, develop strength and elasticity in young ones. It is far more common in girls than boys, but there is a need for male dancers to take this on.
It is considered to be the base discipline when it comes to dancing.
If a dancer ever manages to make it through the hard conditions that generate a professional they are guaranteed to have an exciting career. Many of them travel throughout the world performing the great classics. It is very hard to get to that point, though.
A ballerina is widely known as a female performer of Ballet. That makes sense in the original french and has become normal in our usage of the word. It is a word that is widely used throughout the world. Everyone knows what you mean when you say, ballerina. Tutus and fancy moves come into mind as soon as you utter the word. That is great for the art form, it keeps it in the mind of the broader population. It is not easy to make something as old as Ballet stay current. Art is always changing and evolving to reflect the world around it. Once an art form becomes stiff it is very hard for it to evolve. That happens from time to time with certain disciplines, they hold so much value to the education of newer generations that they are preserved. This is the case with any art form labeled as classical.
So know that we know and understand so much of this particular world of Ballet dancing, let us answer the question at hand. If a female dancer is a Ballerina, what do you call a male Ballet dancer? The answer is not as obvious as you might think.
This is in part correct. A Ballerina is a female dancer in french, so it only makes sense that the term for male dancer would be Ballerino. It is very common for the changed vowel to mean a change in gender both in French and Latin, the two roots of this word.
It is not so simple though. Even though the term Ballerino is correct it has other connotations. It is not widely used to mean the same as Ballerina. Calling a male dancer a Ballerino is giving them a sense of status. This term is not widely used, it is reserved usually for main dancers.
Danseur literally means dancer in french. It is the more proper way to refer to a male Ballet dancer. It is what you will hear everywhere in the world. That is because, as we have already seen, ballet terms are universally used in french. It is just like what you see in yoga where people use the original language. Also, you can find this practice in martial arts. Other activities are the same in this regard, too. A common language gets practitioners closer to each other and sets them apart from the rest of the people. It helps give them a small sense of belonging in a discipline that can be very exclusive. If you know a male dancer of Ballet you can start calling them danseur now. They will probably love you for it.
Every now and then one of these comes out into the light and takes hold in popular culture. Some of them remain in the common vocabulary because they sound great or any other reason. You would be surprised to know the origin of some of the phrases or words that we use in our everyday lives.
Sometimes we can lose sight of what is important if we focus too much on something. It is hard to keep a balance between tradition and innovation. They are both required for an art form to be great and stay great. Terminology is a big part of learning a new skill and Ballet is not the exception in this regard. Once you get to know the terms you come to love them and use them as often as you can. It is great to have this knowledge if you are planning on entering this fascinating world.