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Gendered titles::Ballet dancer

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Gendered titles Traditional, gender-specific titles are used for ballet dancers. In French, a male ballet dancer is referred to as a danseur and a female as a danseuse. In Italian, a ballerina is a female who typically holds a principal title within a ballet company; the title for equally ranked males is ballerino. In Italian, the common term for a male dancer is danzatore and a female dancer is a danzatrice.

These terms are rarely used in English. Since ballerino is not used in English, it does not enjoy the same connotation as ballerina. A regular male dancer in Italy is called a danzatore, while ballerino usually denotes a male ballet dancer in Italy. In the English speaking world, boys or men who dance classical ballet are usually referred to as (male) ballet dancers. Often "ballerino" is used in English-based countries as slang.

As late as the 1950s a ballerina was the principal female dancer of a ballet company who was also very accomplished in the international world of ballet, especially beyond her own company; female dancers who danced ballet were then called danseuses or simply ballet dancers. Ballerina was a critical accolade bestowed on relatively few female dancers, somewhat similar to the title diva in opera. The male version of this term is danseur noble (French). Since the 1960s, however, the term has lost this honorific aspect and is applied generally to women who are ballet dancers.<ref>Edwin Denby (1965). Dancers, Buildings, and People in the Streets</ref>

In the original Italian, the terms ballerino (a male dancer, usually in ballet) and ballerina do NOT imply the accomplished and critically acclaimed dancers once meant by the terms ballerina and danseur noble when used in English. Rather, they simply mean one who dances ballet. Italian terms that do convey an accomplished female ballet dancer are prima ballerina and prima ballerina assoluta (the French word ├ętoile is used in this sense at the Scala ballet company in Milan but has a different meaning at the Paris Opera Ballet.) Danzatore (male) and danzatrice (female) are general terms in Italian to signifiy dancers.

The term ballerina is sometimes used to denote a well-trained and highly accomplished female classical ballet dancer. In such cases, it is a critical accolade that signifies exceptional talent and accomplishment.


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Gendered titles
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