Dance, Movement

Ballet Class Structure

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

  1. Pre-Warmup (time permitting: a warm up by yourself before class officially starts)
  2. Barre Work (technique combinations, see below)
  3. Stretches (guided or independent stretching – note: See this post for an online stretching program that I like to work with for inspiration)
  4. Centre Work (combinations without use of the barre, see below – executed in smaller groups in the centre of the dance space)
  5. Reverence (a mini combination with port-de-bras, poses and a curtsy to end the class)
  6. 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

Ballet Terms


Foot Positions

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.

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.

3. Cooldown


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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