Russian Classical Ballet Academy

Glossary

Abstract Ballet
A ballet with no specific story or theme, which is united only by the dancers movements. A ballet without a narrative, which may or may not directly respond to musical accompaniment. A dance that presents movement in a pure form.
Adage / adagio
An exercise in ballet class, at the barre or center floor, that includes slow, fluid movements such as développés; clear, linear positions such as arabesques and attitudes; and smooth, controlled pirouettes, all intended to build strength, poise, grace, and aplomb. The section of a classical ballet pas de deux in which the female dancer executes most of the smooth, extended poses and movements with the support and assistance of her male partner.
Audition
A short performance that a dancer does as a test in front of an examiner or director, in order to win a place in a school, company, or specific role in a ballet.
Auditorium
The space in the theatre where the audience sits to watch the performance.
Ballets De Cour
Court dances that are now considered to be the first ballets, performed in the courts of France and Italy during the 15th to 17th centuries.
Barre
A wooden handrail, normally fixed to the wall in a rehearsal studio, that dancers hold when they are practicing certain steps and positions
Choreographer
The person who invents sequences of steps for a dance. He or she usually also decides how the dance is presented, in terms of music, costume, and sets.
Class
The daily training session that dancers take part in.
Classical ballet
A formal style of ballet, which originated in France and then developed during the 19th century in Russia. Classical ballet is based on set positions of the arms, feet, and body.
Contemporary Dance
A style of dance that developed in the 20th century that combines elements of different dance styles. It emphasizes improvisation and a wide range of movements, rather that the formal structure of Classical ballet.
Corps De Ballet
The dancers in a ballet company who perform large group dances.
Demi Plié
A bend of the knees, which a dancer performs in ballet, with legs turned out and heels on the ground.
Divertissements
Pieces of music for small groups of dancers to perform to, which are not necessarily connected to the main story in a ballet but used simply as set pieces for the audience to enjoy.
Jeté
A big jump from one foot to another, performed in ballet.
Mime
Acting or expressing ideas and emotions by using gestures, rather than words or sound.
Neoclassical ballet
A style of dance from the early 20th century, shown in the works of the Ballets Russes and George Balanchine. It uses the formal moves of Classical ballet but without the drama and elaborate detail of the 19th century story ballets.
On Pointe
A ballerina's technique of balancing on the very tips of her toes. Very occasionally used by male dancers, too.
Pas De Deux
A dance sequence performed by a male and female couple.
Premiere
The first time ever that a ballet is performed.
Principal Dancers
The most senior dancers in a ballet company, who perform solos and dance the lead roles.
Repertory
A collection of ballets frequently performed by a company or dancer.
Romantic Ballet
A ballet created in the early 19th century or in that style, which follows the tradition of the artistic movement known as Romanticism. Among other things, Romanticism placed value on strength of emotion and the beauty of wild nature.
Story Ballet
A ballet that tells a story, such as Cinderella.
Theme Ballet
A ballet that is united by a theme - an idea or subject that holds the ballet together.
Wings
The areas to the side of the stage where the dancers warm up and wait to go on stage during a performance.