Question: What happens in a typical ballet class?
A basic ballet class consists of four segments: barre, center, adagio and allegro. One of the great things about ballet is that the structure of a basic ballet class is consistent throughout the world.
class begins at the barre. Dancers use the support of the barre
to work through exercises one side of their bodies at a time. They first hold on with one hand and work the opposite leg, then turn around and hold on with the other hand and work the opposite leg. A basic barre consist of a series of exercises including the following:
After warming up at the barre, dancers move to the center of the room for center work. Center exercises are similar to barre work except dancers don't have the support of the barre. Center work usually consists of the following exercises:
Adagio consists of slow, graceful steps that help develop balance, extension and control. Adagio helps a dancer concentrate on the lines being formed by their body. Adagio usually consists of the following exercises:
The allegro portion of a ballet class introduces faster, livelier steps, including turns and jumps. Allegro can be divided into two categories: petit and grand.
- Petit allegro: Petit allegro consists mainly of turns and small jumps.
- Grand allegro: Grand allegro consists of big jumps and fast movements.
Every ballet class concludes with reverence
, a series of bows and curtsies performed to slow music. Reverence gives the ballet dancers a chance to pay respect to and acknowledge the teacher and pianist. Reverence usually includes bows, curtsies, and ports de bras, and is a way of celebrating ballet's traditions of elegance and respect.