Warm-up: Doing exercises that stretch and loosen
the muscles to prepare your body for dancing.
Barre: A horizontal wooden hand rail that runs around the wall of a
Alignment: The lining up of parts of your body to make a balanced and
Posture: The position and carriage of the body.
Pointe: A position of the foot in which your heel is held up,
your big toe is stretched down
toward the ground, your leg is turned out, and
your foot is in line with your leg.
Positions of the feet: Five different positions in which your weight is
evenly distributed over your
feet no matter what position
you body is in, with your legs turned out from the pelvis.
Port de bras: Carriage of the arms. Set movements of the arms from
one position to the other.
Plie´: An exercise in which, standing erect and with back straight,
you move down and up with
the bend of the knees.
Demi-plie´: A half knee-bend. Nearly every step begins and ends with
Grand plie´: A full knee-bend with heels off the floor.
Eleve´: A movement in which you rise up high on to the balls of your
feet. A similar position is
also referred to as Releve´.
Coupe´: A position of your foot, lifted and held flexed, tight
against your ankle.
Battement: A generic term which describes the various movements in
which the leg makes
a beating motion.
Battement tendu: An exercise in which you stretch your foot along the
floor and end in a point.
En croix: In the shape of a cross (front, side, back)
Degage´: An exercise similar to a tendu
that finishes with the foot lifted from the ground
in a point.
Rond de jambes `a terre: Circle of the leg, on the ground (`a
terre). An exercise in
which you mark out a semi-circle on the floor
with your pointed foot.
Balance: In dance, a term which describes the holding of your body in a
Centre Practice: a group of exercises
similar to those à la barre but performed in the centre
of the room without the support of the barre. These exercises are
usually performed with alternate feet and are invaluable for obtaining good
balance and control
Balance: In dance, a term which describes the
holding of your body in a stable position
Passe´: A movement that resembles a pass.
Arabesque: A position in which you balance on one straight leg (or
bent leg) with the other
stretched out behind you.
Grand Battement: Meaning large beats. An exercise in which you raise
your pointed foot
high off of the ground keeping both legs
Allegro: An Italian musical term meaning quick and lively. In ballet,
allegro steps are
completed in fast tempo without your arms
Petit Allegro: Small jumping and turning steps.
Glissade: Gliding or sliding steps. A traveling step in which you
glide your foot along
the floor with your front knee bent and
you transfer your weight. During the moment
of transition, your legs are fully
Demi-pointe: Half point, meaning standing on the balls of your feet.
A linking step in which you rise up on the balls of your
feet (on to your half point) and
glide across the floor with quick, tiny steps.
Pas de Bourre´e: A
small stepping movement, executed on the balls of the feet or on pointe, in
which the you either skim smoothly across the floor or transfer the weight from
foot-to-foot three times as a transition into another movement. A pas-de-bourrée
consists of bending both legs, extending one, then stepping up, up, down,
finishing with bent knees.
Pas de chat: A traveling step-of-the-cat in which you bring one foot
up along you
leg to the knee, and transfer your weight to the other leg with a
spring in the air, landing
with your feet in 5th position.
Routine: In dance, a term meaning a sequence of steps.
Marking: Going through the movements of a dance routine without dancing
in order to familiarize yourself with the steps before performing.
Finale: The concluding part of a performance.
Grand Allegro: A combination of large traveling steps and jumps.
Pas Marche´: The graceful walk to center stage to take a curtsey or
Curtsey: A movement by the female dancer (ballerina)
that acknowledges the
instructor at the end of a class, or an audience at the
end of a performance.
Bow: A movement by the male dancer (danseur noble) that
instructor at the end of a class, or an audience at
the end of a performance.
Reverence: A movement, generally made by the sweep of an arm to
the rest of the ensemble cast (corps), the instructor,
the choreographer, and/or the orchestra.