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Why is French the language of ballet?


Question: Why is French the language of ballet?
Answer: French is considered the language of ballet. Many of the terms and steps in ballet come from the French language. King Louis XIV of France loved ballet. He established the first official school of ballet, known today as the Paris Opera Ballet. The names of the steps created by King Louis are still used today.

Many ballet instructors strive to teach their young dancers the French ballet vocabulary. Many of the terms, when translated, give clues to their corresponding steps. Take a look at the following terms:

  • plie - bend
  • changement - change
  • battement - beat
  • pas de chat - step of the cat
Many of the French terms are actually simple words that sound fancy. Some people believe that the French vocabulary gives ballet a more formal, sophisticated and mysterious feeling.
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