Beginning ballet handbook 2017

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Adult Beginning Ballet Handbook prepared by Joan Lazarus 2017

welcome and congratulations on your first day of ballet class. You will find the study of ballet to be physically demanding and aesthetically pleasing, and no matter what skill level you plan to attain, the process will be rewarding. I hope this booklet will help guide you through your first course in ballet. There are pages at the back of the booklet for you to record combinations that you have learned so that you can practice between classes or review on your own.

A ballet class is divided into two main sections: the barre and the centre. Barre work consists of a predictable sequence of increasingly complex exercises that warm up the muscles, increase strength and flexibility, and introduce elements of style and musicality. Centre work consists of five main sections:

1 • Centre Barre

2 • Arm and Body Positions

3 • Turns (pirouettes)

4 • Petit Allégro (small, quick jumping steps)

5 • Grand Allégro (large traveling jumps and turns).

In your class, you will learn steps and combinations of steps in all these areas, so have lots of fun!

The Barre


Demi and Grand. To bend

Port de Bras

Carriage of the arms

Battement Tendu Stretch Battement

Battement Dégagé Disengaged Battement

Rond de Jambe Round of the leg

Battement Frappé Struck Battement


Sinking down, melting on one leg

Developpé Developed leg

Grand Battement

Large beating of the whole leg

Port de Bras

Carriage of the arms

Centre Barre

Barre exercises in the center


Turn of the body on one foot

Petit Allégro

Steps include: pas de bourrée, glissade, jeté, pas de chat, sissonne, assemblé, balancé, changement, chassé, royale, failli, tombé, piqué, chainé, temps levé . . . and more!

Grand Allégro

Steps include: grand jeté, balancé, saut de basque, tour jeté, pirouette . . . and more!

the centre


Allégro Arabesque Assemblé Attitude Avant, en Balancé Barre Bas, en Battement, petit and grand

brisk, lively one of the basic poses in ballet with lifted leg straight assembled or joined together pose in ballet with lifted leg bent forward rocking step not bar low beating. petit includes: tendu, dégagé, frappé; grand includes: battement cloche

Battu Bras Cambré Chainés Changement de pieds Chassé Cou-de-pied, sur le Coupé Croix, en Dedans, en Dehors, en Échappé Elevé

beaten arms arched “chain” traveling turns change of the feet glide into open position on the neck of the foot cut (intermediary step) in the shape of a cross inward, toward standing leg (direction for turns) outward, away from standing leg (direction for turns) escaping movement, also sauté raised from straight standing leg

Entrechat Failli Glissade Haut, en Jeté Pas de basque Pas de bourrée Pas de chat Passé Pas tombé Relevé Royale Saut de basque Sauté Sissonne Sous-sus Soutenu Temps levé Tour en l’air Tour jeté Turn-out

interweaving or braiding jump (beats) giving way (petit and grand allégro step) glide (petit allégro step) high thrown (petit allégro step) step of the Basque bourrée step, one of the most often used intermediary steps in ballet step of the cat passed at the side of the knee falling step raised from plié beat before feet change position jump of the Basque jumped, jumping (as in a frying pan!) scissor jump (jump off two feet, land on one and close) under-over sustained (soutenu turns) hop from one foot turn in the air turning grand jeté rotation outward of the legs from the hip, required for ballet

diagrams and figures

DISCLAIMER: Each ballet tradition (national or chronological) has slight variations in sequence, arm placement, and facings. Don’t be alarmed. As you continue your training, your teachers will acquaint you with the version that they would like you to practice.

The Room front







7 corners: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4

4 walls: 5 - 6 - 7 - 8




4 (en bas and en haut)

5 (en bas, en avant, en haut)


The body positions Croisé devant, Á la quatriéme devant, Ecarté, Effacé, Á la Seconde, Épaulé, Á la quatriéme derrière, Croisé derrière

This is a really good video of the body positions:

The ARabesques

your dance journal

your dance journal

your dance journal

dance on!

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