Whether they are leaping, twirling or gliding, accomplished ballet dancers at our Austin dance academy make their graceful moves look easy. When our little dancers perform, you might wonder just how difficult some of those moves are. But you probably don’t focus on just one turn or twirl, you are just amazed by the magic of it all and not stuck on the details. It is in the details, the basic ballet movements, that ballet dancers must practice for years before achieving an aura of effortless beauty.

Ballet terms have been passed down over the centuries. These terms form the language that is ballet. Here is a sample of some of the most common ballet terms.

The Barredance

Plain and simple, ballet begins at the barre. Ballet is taught in a dance studio with plenty of room to maneuver and learn about body mechanics. Dancers begin by practicing moves while holding onto the barre, the long wooden railing you see along the wall of a dance studio. The barre makes it easier for young dancers to accomplish their moves. As they get better, they will practice these moves on an open floor.

The Turnout

One of the first movements a young ballet dancer will learn is the turnout. The turnout position is when the dancer’s thigh bones are rotated sideways with the heels together and knees and toes pointed in opposite directions. Because this is such an unnatural position, it requires a lot of work.

Plie

Plie literally means bent. The plie is designed to make a dancer’s muscles, joints and tendons pliable and flexible. Dancers will practice the plie at the barre and later on the center floor.

Arabesque

When people think of ballet, most envision the graceful profile of a dancer standing on one leg with the other leg stretched behind the body. This graceful pose is known as the arabesque.

dance1Pas

In ballet, a pas is literally a step or some other move that involves an action. For example, a pas de chat is akin to a cat’s leap and a pas de marche is a dignified march step.

That’s it for now, but be sure to check back with us for more ballet terms.