Your Ballet Basics

Dancing comes in various forms. Depending on where you live in the world, you could be a ballroom dancer and dance the salsa, rumba, and tango. Or you could be raised as a Celtic step dancer. Each dance belongs to a certain culture. America even has its own dance culture with hip-hop and tap, though they are influenced by other dance cultures.

The one dance that transcends them all and is the most popular is ballet. With French and Italian origins, ballet is the base of many other dances. Most dancers start with ballet and grow upwards. Ballet is often taught in the studio, leading to derivative names like studio dance and contemporary. Since ballet teaches technique, it’s the leaping point for so many other specialties.

Dance teams around the country focus on dance and drill routines. The best teams have ballet backgrounds. When they do, everyone knows. You can see it in how they carry themselves and even in something as small as a kick or walk. Ballet dancers are disciplined and graceful. They know who they are and are proud.

image of ballet basics

Barre Work

All dancing begins at the barre. Every age group, even professional dancers, start each lesson with barre work. Each dancer stands at a metal bar that’s about waist high. With one hand lightly touching the bar, various stretches, movements, and techniques are practiced. The barre develops a dancer’s strength and core. It’s where he or she learns control and new techniques, such as how to control a pirouette or how to improve turnout. The barre grounds dancers in something familiar.

image of ballet basics

French Roots

Each ballet word, even the name itself, is French. Many instructors will require each dancer to not only learn a movement, but also its name and the meaning of that name. For instance, a fouette turn includes a pirouette turn with the turned out, bent leg to whip the dancer around multiple times without stopping. The word fouette in French means “to whip,” thus knowing the name’s meaning will allow the dancer to know how the movement should be executed.

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