Barre Practice Week 1 – Basic Feet

During week one we will be getting warmed up to some of the ballet terminology. Learning ballet vocabulary is just as important as learning the movements. Practice the vocabulary as you move through the positions. Talking to yourself out loud while you are practicing is a sure way to etch it into your memory.

Try to practice these movements daily. Your goal is impeccable form and posture and the only way to achieve that is to practice practice practice.

Vocabulary

Barre

In classical ballet this is a horizontal bar, either metal or wood, that is fastened to the wall or free standing with supports on either side. This is used by a dancer for balance and support during warm-up or practice exercises.

Demi

A classical ballet term that means “half.” This is a direct translation of the french word and should always be combined to describe another word. For example: demi-plié, which would mean, half-plié.

Plié

Typically done in 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 5th positions a plié simply means to bend at the knees.

Point & Flex

When I refer to point and flex I am taking about the position of the foot. When in point your toes will me most extended reaching long out to the aiming direction. When in flex you will pull your toes in towards your shin and your heel will be extended in the required direction.

Port de Bras

A ballet term that means “movement of the arms.” It is used to describe how dancers move their arms from one position to another. For example, if a dancer moves her arms from 1st position to 5th position, that is considered a port de bras.

Soldier Posture

This refers to the neutral standing position of a ballet dancer. The spine is completely aligned with shoulder blades melting down the spine. Hips are neither tilted forward or back, but neutral under the shoulders. The arms are soft in this position.

Supporting Leg

A classical ballet term that describes a dancer’s leg that is supporting their whole body. This leaves the other leg free to move or do another step. The dancer’s supporting leg is also sometimes referred to as the “standing leg.”

Movements

All the positions below for this weeks practice will be emphasizing the foot placement only. Practice moving through each of the positions in succession. Repeating to yourself each position you are currently in.

Parallel Position

Parallel Position

This position describes the position of the feet. To practice parallel position stand with your feet directly below you hips in a neutral position. Your toes will be pointing forward and your heels are positioned directly behind your heels. Your feet will be positioned parallel to one another, hence the name, parallel position.

Practice feeling your entire sole on the ground. Imagine your feet being pulled into the ground and your head lifting to the ceiling. Stretch long through your spine. Practice this position for 5 minutes. Relaxing as you need to maintain correct position.

1st Position

1st Position

Begin in parallel position and bring your heels tight together. Pivot on your heels, keeping them together, but moving your toes open to approximately 45 degree angle.

You can practice this facing the corner of the room. Think of the corner as one half of a square. You will be finishing the other half of the square with your heels as the opposite angle to the corner. Practice this position while maintaining soldier posture.

2nd Position

2nd position

Beginning in first position step the right foot to the side opening the space between your heels to approximately 12″. Your toes and heels should be on a straight line now with the toes directly to the right or left of your heels pointing outwards. Practice this position trying to maintain soldier position with the turnout.

Demi-plié in 1st position

Demi-plie in 1st position

Beginning in 1st position, bend at the knees slightly keeping the spine straight and the heels pressed into the floor. Press through the feet to return to standing position.

Demi-plié in 2nd postion

Beginning in 2nd position, bend at the knees slightly keeping the spine straight and the heels pressed into the floor. Press through the feet to return to standing position.

Best of luck this week. Remember, becoming a ballerina takes practice. Even the most experienced ballerinas are constantly refining their form and technique. Looking graceful and making it look easy takes a lot of building of muscle memory. Have fun with it and keep dancing.

xo,

isabelle

 

Comments are closed.