The barre is a long handrail that provides the dancer with support while he or she tries to accomplish a certain movement. It is used during warm-up. as well as for preparations for jumps, turns and balances.
The “turnout” is likely the most common jargon ballet dancers use. A “turnout” is the sideward rotation of the dancer’s thighbones while the toes are pointing at the opposite direction. A good turnout will form a 180-degree angle. A turnout position prevents injury from straining one’s knee and requires a lot of work to master. It also allows for greater freedom and stretches, and allows one to do movements involving spinning and jumping.
There are five variations of the turnout. The first position is when the heels are together while the toes are pointed outwards in a 180 degree angle. The second position is when the first position is adopted, except that the heels are spaced apart, approximately to the width of the dancer’s hip. The third position is like the first position, except that one foot is placed in front of the other such that the front foot covers the back foot’s heel. The fourth position involves one foot placed in front of the other, with a distance of about one and a half of the dancer’s foot size. Lastly, the fifth position involves the heel of the back foot touching the last toe of the front foot.
Plié means “bend”. When a dancer bends, her knees open outwardly away from her hips. This is done to increase the flexibility and strength of muscles. A dancer begins a jump and ends it with a plié. Pirouettes are also prepared from a plié.
The grand plié involves bending one’s knees fully such that the thighs are horizontal to the ground. For the demi-plié, the dancer bends but his or her heels remain flat on the ground.
A battement is a beating movement of the legs. A grand battement (or a large beating) involves swishing one’s leg as high as possible before bringing it back down. This loosens the hip points. A petit battement (or a small beat) starts out with the foot placed below the calf of the other leg, just around the ankle, and the angle of the knee changes while the thigh remains still.
The attitude is a dance position that is executed when a dancer stands on one leg, while his or her working leg is in the air. While doing so, the dancer’s arm is curved.
Spotting is done to prevent the dancer from being dizzy while doing many spins, turns, whirls or leaps. This is done by focusing one’s gaze on a stationary point and taking it as a reference point.
Pas jeté means to throw one’s step. It is usually used to refer to a jump or leap from one position to another. When doing this, the dancer jumps from one foot to the other, brushing one’s foot into the air.
A pirouette (pronounced as peer-oo-et) is a spin. The dancer often makes at least one complete turn.
Improving your moves
Ballet dancing is a sport that requires commitment and energy. The moves mentioned can be challenging. Thus, ballet classes for kids at Amare Dance Academy can provide your child with a holistic learning experience to acquire the necessary skillsets required for the execution of the variety of ballet steps. Feel free to contact Amare Dance Academy for more information regarding ballet classes for kids.