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Ballet Terminology

What do "those words" mean anyway?

We'll touch on the few basic words, but for more in depth information you may wish to purchase a ballet dictionary. It's a good idea for all dance students to get this reference book, as we have seen some very interesting misspellings and heard some rather humorous pronunciations!

Ballet Vocabulary
Learn the correct spelling and terminology!
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We'll Start with the Basics!

Here are your first 5 ballet vocabulary words!

1. Plie: Say it like this" plee-yay    ballet plie

A bending of the knees.
The first exercise done at the ballet barre.
Can be done in 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th positions.
3rd position is usually skipped during barre exercises because it is similar to 5th position. Beginning level students will work in 3rd position and then progress to 5th position plies.


2. Arabesque: Say it like this: air-ah-besk

arabesque A 90 degree or higher extension of one leg to the back.
Arms placed up or to the side, reaching and stretching.
A literal translation means a "big pose".



3. Battement Tendu: Say it like this "bott-mah tawn-doo"

ballet tendu

This means a stretched beat of the foot.
The working leg extends outward until your toes are fully stretched, or pointed.
This builds stretch and strength in your feet!
Yes, there are men who take ballet classes. They are great athletes!


4. Releve: Say it like this "reh-lah-vay" ballet word releve

This means rising up on your toes!
When ballerinas dance on their toes in pointe shoes, it is referred to as being "on pointe".


5. Chasse: Say it like this "shaw-say"

ballet word chasse

This means sliding or gliding movements.
Chasse means to chase. Face the mirror and slide sidways across the studio floor.
One leg chasses the other! This is a fun exercise for pre-school students!



Check back for more fun vocabulary words!

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