Ballet class is where the dancer, whether absolute beginner or principal dancer, moves through a series of carefully choreographed movements to warm up the body, find one’s center of balance, and build strength and flexibility. There is an order in each movement, one leads to the next. All terminology is in French.
We begin class always at the ballet barre where we warm up the muscles and ligaments, work on the coveted turn out of the legs from the hip joint, and build strength. The ballet barre is your support as your learn proper positioning of the body and legs. This is where you will take your very first plié or millionth plié.
After stretching at the barre or on the floor together, we move to the center of the room. It is here we test how well we have found our balance at the barre. We move through a series of movements including tendus, adagio, and petit allegro depending on the level of the class.
We then (eventually) move across the floor together on a diagonal waltzing, turning, and jumping (grand allegro). The class ends in reverence, where the dancers bow to the audience as a way of saying thank you. Clapping is a must. We clap for our teachers, we clap for each other, we clap if there is an accompaniment playing. It is the equivalent of every yoga class ending in Namaste. Welcome to a beautiful art form steeped in history and tradition.
Stay tuned for ballet terminology in my next post. Until our next plié….