Ballet Terms A-B
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Adage, Adagio [a-DAHZH] At ease. The second part of a ballet class. Slow work with emphasis on sustained positions and on balance.
Air, en l’ [ahn lehr] In the air. A movement in which the working leg is in the air.
Allégro [a-lay-GROH; Italian: al-LAY-groh] Brisk, lively. The third part of a ballet class which includes fast work, jumps and turns. Usually divided into petit (little) allegro and grand (big) allegro.
Arabesque [a-ra-BESK] A pose with one leg stretched straight out to the back while arms can be in various positions.
Arriére, en [ah na-RYEHR] To the back.
Assemblé [a-sahn-BLAY] Assembled or joined together. A jump from one foot landing on two feet.
Attitude [a-tee-TEWD] A pose on one leg with the other extended with the knee slightly bent. The extended leg can be either to the front, side, or back.
Avant, en [ah na-VAHN] To the front.
Balancé [ba-lahn-SAY] Rocking step. A three step movement done by shifting the weight from one foot to the other.
Balançoire [bah-lahn-SWAHR] Seesaw. The dancer swings the working leg vigorously back and fort through first position. The upper body bends in the opposite direction.
Ballerina [bal-uh-REE-nuh] A principal female dancer in a ballet company or a female ballet dancer.
Ballet [ba-LAY] A theatrical work or entertainment in which a choreographer has expressed his ideas in group and solo dancing to a musical accompaniment.
Ballet master, ballet mistress The person in a ballet company whose duty is to give the daily company class and to rehearse the ballets in the company repertoire.
Balletomane [ba-let-uh-meyn] An admirer of the ballet.
Ballon [ba-LAWN] Balloon. A dancer is said to have ballon is he or she appears weightless as they move on the dance floor.
Ballonné [bah-lahn-NAH] Ball-like. A travelling hop on one foot as the other leg is extended outward and then returns to sur le cou-de-pied.
Ballotté [bah-luh-TAY] Tossed. A jump on to one leg while the other leg is tossed to the front, side or back.
Barre [bar] 1. The horizontal wooden railing fastened to the walls of the dance studio which the dancer holds for support. 2. The first part of ballet class with exercises at the barre.
Battement [bat-MAHN] Beating. A beating movement of the working leg.
Battu [ba-TEW] Beaten. Any step with an extra beat.
Bourrée [boo-RAY] To tamp. Small quick steps performed with the legs pulled together close in fifth position on half-pointe.
Bras [brah] Arms.
Brisé [bree-ZAY] Broken. Start in fifth position. The working leg brushes to the second position and meets the other leg in front of or behind in the air. Finally both feet land in fifth position. This is similar to an assemblé however there is a beat and the dancer travels.