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2.14 If a female dancer is called a ballerina, what is a male dancer called?




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This article is from the Ballet and Modern Dance FAQ, by Tom Parsons twp@panix.com with numerous contributions by others.

2.14 If a female dancer is called a ballerina, what is a male dancer called?

There's no satisfactory answer to this one. Theoretically, even
though the Italian "ballerina" means simply "female dancer," only a
*principal* female dancer is supposed to be called a ballerina. If that
restriction were universally observed, then the nearest male equivalent
would be the French premi`er danseur ("first dancer"). But in practice,
people use ballerina to refer to any female ballet dancer, and in that case
all you can say is "dancer" for the male.

I suppose you could be pedantic and use the Italian masculine form
ballerino, but people probably wouldn't understand you and, worse, are
likely to mis-hear the word as "ballerina," which could lead to endless
confusion.


 

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