Ballet, Tap and Oriental Dancers


BALLET DANCERThe marionette is jointed at the neck, arms, waist and hips, but the legs and feet are constructed in one stiff piece with pointed toes. The hips must be weighted, but the feet need not be. The head, back and arms are strung to one stick, the toes and heels to another. Much of the effectiveness of this marionette depends upon the manipulator's clear mental image of how ballet dancers move.

For instance, at the entrance of the dancer on the points, she may take sidewise steps, always facing the audience. These are small and weaving, giving the dancer a fluttering motion of the whole body. She sways gracefully at the waist; the head and arms bend freely. For a leap into the air, one toe is raised, she soars, and lands on it with the other out behind her. For a pirouette one toe is raised backwards and she turns rapidly on the other. Forward kicking belongs to the music-hall rather than to the classic ballet. Grouping and patterns of motion by several dancers. are more interesting in marionette ballerinas than solo work.

A circus equestrienne with toe attached to the back of her mount may be operated on the same principle. More will be said of animal marionettes, by the way, in a handbook devoted especially to them.


A free-jointed marionette, even without leg-strings, will jig and tap with jerks at its shoulder-strings only. The accidental swing of arms and legs, with joints at wrist and ankle, will seem to beat syncopated time to any lively tune.


Strings attached to the breasts and hips, running up to special sticks, enable a marionette to lean over backwards and shimmy in the naughty style which the orient never knew.

My Notes
MagdaI would say that in this day and age this last one would be called a belly dancer. Magda which is my gypsy dancer uses a similar method as this although there are no strings attached to her breast. I simply use the shoulder strings to get her upper torso to shimmy. In the image of her to the left you can see that she is doing a back bend with here hands extended while at the same time moveing her hips. The hands are on a run-through so that I can pull pull it with my left hand while holding the hip bar and manipulateing it at the same time.