Monday, January 21, 2013

I am confused

I guess one of the most exciting parts of ballet is that you can go to any place in the world, take a class and be able to understand the teacher, even if you hardly speak their language.

The thing is, I do speak French, so I thought ballet classes would be quite easy to follow... especially since almost the whole terminology is always in French (even in Spain). But NO, nice reader! Things are not that simple. And you know why? Well, because in France a tendu is not the same thing as my Spanish teachers used to say! Here, a tendu is called a dégagé. And things would be fine if that was the only difference. But NO, because the word tendu also exists. A tendu in France is the fact of not pliéing when doing a movement. For example, you're in first position and you want to go on pointe: without bending your knees, you just go to demi-pointe and then to pointe. That would be a relevé en tendu. And I have to say I actually find it very practical: very precise!

Then there are many other things that have changed. For instance, I have never heard my teacher use the word passé. Never ever. She says something that sounds like jarret or jarré or something like that. If you're French I'd be thankful if you could help me with this one!

Also... it seems that our arms are never in fifth position. They are in couronne, which is a rather cool word. Oh, and jetés are no longer just jetés: they are now battement jetés. And grand battements are usually just battements. And pas de chats have now became sauts de chat! And I've heard my teacher say pique (/pik/), instead of piqué (/pik-ay/), but I'm still not sure if she says so just to fit words better with the music.

And then there are lots of new words. For example, a déroulé is this thing we do to practise with our pointe shoes and break them in. Starting in first position, plié, demi-pointe, pointe, tendu (like, straightening our legs) and then demi-pointe and heel to the ground in tendu.

Still, even if I am a little bit confused, I am loving every single second of class and I feel I am learning so much. I am really happy to have found this school and these amazing teachers. They are an absolute joy to take class with!

Also, one month left to see this live! - Tamara Rojo and Sergei Polunin in Marguerite and Armand.

Until next time, keep dancing!


  1. Just for your information, I just came from another ballet class and after using logic, I now know what my teacher says when she wants us to do a "passé".
    Actually, she normally says "coupé" and then "cheville", which means "ankle"... and then "jarret", which is the back of the knee. So if the passé is on the back, it would be "jarret". I still need to know how she calls a "passé devant". More news to come ;)

  2. just as a side note.... pas de chat and saut de chat are two different moves, so its possible one of your teachers just called a saut de chat a pas de chat and thats why theres a mix up :)