• 17_Wendy.mp4

    Former Principal Dancer Wendy Van Dyck demonstrates pantomiming gestures used in classical ballet.
    Video by James Hosking
  • Pantomime_SwanLakeII.jpg

    In Tomasson's Swan Lake, the Swan Queen uses a very familiar gesture to plead with Prince Siegfried to not hurt the swans.
    Photo by Erik Tomasson
  • Pantomime_Anita.jpg

    Ballet Master Anita Paciotti uses pantomime to warn Giselle of her weak heart in the character role of Giselle’s mother.
    Photo by Erik Tomasson
  • Ballet_Technique_Pantomime_Prince.jpg

    In Tomasson's Nutcracker, the Prince tells the Sugar Plum Fairy of his fierce battle with the Mouse King through the use of pantomime.
    Photo by Erik Tomasson

In classical ballet, a vocabulary of gestures are used instead of words or dancing to tell the intricacies of a story or motivations of a character. These gestures are known as classical pantomime or "mime." Former SF Ballet Principal Dancer Wendy Van Dyke explains some of the mime in Helgi Tomasson's Nutcracker.