Wednesday, September 12, 2012

History of the word "cabriole"

Goats. You don't expect them to turn up in a ballet (except perhaps in Esmeralda). But etymologically there are goats in every ballet, because the name of the scissor-kick jump known as a cabriole comes from the Latin word for "goat", capra. It migrated into Italian as capriola (a young goat or fawn, also a goat-like leap or "caper", as we saw in the entry for "entrechat") and from there into French as capriole or cabriole. I don't imagine any of the world's fine dancers would appreciate being described as goat-like, no matter how well they executed their cabrioles. Here are some nice ones, performed by Josua Hoffalt of the Paris Opera Ballet (click here if the video is not embedded)

and some amazingly high ones from Tetsuya Kumakawa: (click here if the video is not embedded)

Finally, the astounding triple cabrioles performed by jumpmeister Ivan Vasiliev are unfortunately no longer available on YouTube, but they do exist!

I have NEVER seen a goat do that!

For the history of the word "adage", click here.
For "fouetté", click here
For "bourrée", click here.
For "pirouette", click here, and to find out what dancing has to do with falling over, click here.

If you love ballet, please check out my season of outstanding ballet trips by clicking here.


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