A short post on what to expect in a typical ballet class.
Note: Exercises for different technique aspects of ballet are usually taught in a short-to-medium length sequence (longer for higher level classes), and then practised as a mini-combination to music, repeated first on the right (ie left hand on the barre) and then the left side (ie right hand on the barre)
- No matter the level of the class, the order of the exercises (see below) remains the same.
- In Vaganova-style ballet, exercises and sequences are kept a bit simpler for beginners, yet the full body (including head positioning!) is still incorporated at all times.
Basic Class Structure
- Pre-Warmup (time permitting: a warm up by yourself before class officially starts)
- Barre Work (technique combinations, see below)
- Stretches (guided or independent stretching – note: See this post for an online stretching program that I like to work with for inspiration)
- Centre Work (combinations without use of the barre, see below – executed in smaller groups in the centre of the dance space)
- Reverence (a mini combination with port-de-bras, poses and a curtsy to end the class)
- Optionally (in some schools this is a separate class, and I will be writing a separate post on this) the class may be followed by Pointe Work
Pictures and short descriptions of the basic ballet foot positions (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th)
1. Barre Work
Combinations are done with the right leg at first (ie. the left hand at the barre) and then repeated on the other side, sometimes with a small balance exercise in between.
- Pliés and port-de-bras – in 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th position.
- Tendus (sometimes divided into slow and fast tendus) – starting in 5th
- Battement Jetés or Dégagés – starting in 5th
- Rond de Jambes – starting in 1st
- Fondus – starting in 5th (flat or relevé)
- Grand Battement
2. Centre Work
Centre work is usually done in smaller groups, starting either in the center (for static combinations), back (for traveling combinations) or in the diagonal/corner (for traveling/turn combinations and bigger jumping sequences) of the classroom.
- Tendus (sometimes combined with other exercises from the barre portion of class)
- Waltz and/or Pirouettes
- Petit Allegro (small jumps)
- Grande Allegro (big jumps)
Ballet Class Etiquette
Love this video on Ballet Class Etiquette (check out Mr Du’s Youtube Profile for full streaming Ballet classes!)
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