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32 days to go

In Act III of Swan Lake, Odile, the daughter of the evil Von Rothbart, performs a famous and notoriously difficult solo, in which the dancer must execute 32 consecutive fouetté turns.

The word fouetté translates literally from French as 'whipped'. A fouetté turn involves the dancer whipping the leg that is not supporting him or her round to facilitate a turn.

In classical ballet, there is a great tradition of the divertissement. This is a dance, which does nothing to further the plot of the ballet, but is instead a showpiece for the dancers involved. The Chinese, Arabian, Russian and other dances in the second act of The Nutcracker are good examples of divertissements.

Most classical ballets also feature an extended virtuoso solo for the two principal characters, called a grand pas de deux (literally a big step, or dance, for two). This normally takes place towards the end of the ballet, and it is in the grand pas de deux at the end of Act III of Swan Lake in which the principal ballerina, playing the character of Odile, has to execute these 32 fouetté turns, one of the greatest technical challenges in all classical ballet.

In Romeo and Juliet, the plot flows more smoothly and is less broken up by divertissements. There is also not just one extended grand pas de deux. The two lovers share many dances together, none of which are solely virtuoso showpieces, but which advance the story directly. The famous love duet they dance in the balcony scene is a good example of one of their pas de deux. The Mandolin Dance and Ton-up in Acts II and III respectively are examples of divertissements that do not advance the plot. Although these are normally danced by a few selected members of the Company, for Ballet Hoo! they will be performed by the young people. Instead of the classical ballet steps that Kenneth MacMillan choreographed, they will be performing modified steps that include some break dancing in the Mandolin Dance!

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