Ballet Vocabulary: Lesson 1

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In the world of ballet, there are three languages. There is the language in which ballet was codified, French. Then there is the language in which interprets ballet, body language backed by emotion. And then there is a language that ballet dancers actually speak, a language of their own, and I’m not talking about French. So, here is the modern vocabulary list every ballet dancer/student should know (part one). These terms you will come across in class, gossiping among your fellow peers in ballet school, blogs like this one, or social media.

Mr. B (noun): AKA, George Balanchine, aka God (just kidding, not really)

  1. The founder of New York City Ballet, and probably the most influential choreographer of the 20th century.

What would Mr. B do?

4 T’s (noun): AKA The Four Temperaments

  1. Choreographed by George Balanchine in 1946 to music by Paul Hindemith.

Dancing 4T’s is really difficult if you aren’t trained Balanchine.

Buiscut (noun or adj):

  1. Dancers with “bad” feet or feet that don’t point.

She has biscuit feet, she’ll never go en pointe.

A La Sebesque, secabesque (noun):

  1. A non existent position in ballet that people with bad technique use. It is a combination of a la seconde, and arabesque.

You are doing a la sebesque dear, you aren’t in jazz class.

Bunhead (noun):

1. A dancer who is overly intense about ballet, to the point where it might be unhealthy.
Maureen is a bunhead, Eva is not.

Snatched (adj):

1. A dancer’s body in peak shape.
Her body is snatched, hence why she is rockin’ a unitard.

Whacked out (adj):
1. Ridiculously flexible
He is so whacked out… but only to the right.

AD (noun) aka Artistic Director:

1. The head of a ballet company.
She only got the part because she is sleeping with the AD.

Leo (noun) aka Leotard:

1. Appropriate ballet attire, made from mesh, nylon, spandex, lycra or another synthetic blend of fabric.
Who wears a white leo to an audition?

________ Hands (_____ (adj) + noun): 

1. Spatula Hands: hands that look like spatulas.
2. Oven mitt hands: hands that are shaped like an oven mitt.
3. Hamburger Hands: hands that are shaped like one is holding a hamburger.
She is definitely not getting into SAB because of her spatula hands.

Claws (noun):

1. Hands that have gone through rigorous Balanchine training and are the anti Russian hand.
He has claws, you think he is from SAB?

Nut Season (noun):
1. The part of the season in which one must dance in the annual production of the Nutcracker in which they will be overworked, and over rehearsed. Dancers may cringe, or cry if they are at the mall shopping and the Tchaikovsky score is being played during the holidays. The time of the season in which every dancer wants to quit.
It is Nut Season, I want to die.

Pancaking (verb):
1. The application of a mattifier to match ones skin tone and remove the shine or pink color.
2. When a ballet dancer goes to iHop and dreams of ordering pancakes but orders a salad instead.
Gaynor Mindens should always be pancaked, that way it isn’t obvious you are wearing them.

Floor Barre (noun):

1. An awful, but healthy alternative to taking class. It is the combination of ballet, yoga and pilates.
I would rather do character than floor barre.

This is just part one, and as I compile list two, please feel free to email me for suggestions.



So, I have decided to launch a few big things for a Ballet Education, and I hope they are helpful… But, unfortunately it will take a little bit of capitol. If you have enjoyed reading my blog, minus the grammar mistakes, you can now donate so I can pay an editor to go back through and edit everything. I just don’t have the time. Even now, I am using SIRI to update this blog while driving to an event in Los Angeles.

Here is what I was thinking…

book cover mock up

yes, I would like to publish a book…

COMING SOON... available via iPhone, iPad, Android, Desktop, Digital Download
available via iPhone, iPad, Android, Desktop, Digital Download

and yes… I want to release digital books of things that are important…

And I would like to redesign the site.

And I would like to be able to start a youtube channel with how to do real ballet techniques…

Sooooo, if you are interested please donate or email me


The Classics… not classical ballet

There really isn’t a guide to classical ballets, in fact, that term can be thrown so loosely around… This is not a ballet history lesson, if I need to do that… I will but… by a crap definition classical ballet is the traditional formal style of ballet technique. If that was the case… then the only type of classical ballet that should exist is Paris Opera. So, let us shoot the idea of “classical ballet” out. So here is the breakdown of how I classify the ballets:

Is it a part of various major company repertory and has it been established in ballet history. A ballet is only a ballet if it can be passed down from one generation to the next and be restaged. It is hard to say if a piece can be restaged or not, because the audience has to appreciate it, understand it, and go see it time and time again. This is how I classify the classics. Then in edition to the classics, they are either a story ballet, or just a ballet (this isn’t just Balanchine works, Pas De Quatre, and Grand Pas Classique… Not attached to any ballet in particular but, still classics). Sooo, in terms of  “classical” ballets… Here is the major list:

swan lake

Tchaikovsky’s Major Three: Nutracker, Swan Lake and the Sleeping Beauty. 

The Show Stopper Ballets: Diana & Acteon, Don Quixote, La Esmeralda, The Flames of Paris, Le Corsaire, Grand Pas Classique, Tchaikovsky Pas De Deux, Rubies, Stars and Stripes

The Overlooked Ballets: La Fille Mal Gardee, The Talisman, Raymonda, The Fairy Doll, Harlequinade, the Pharaoh’s Daughter, Sylvia

The Romantic Ballets: Romeo and Juliet, La Sylphide, Les Sylphide, Giselle, Manon, A Month in the Country, Emeralds , Pas De Quatre, Eugene Onegin

romeo and juliet ferri and bolle

The Corps Intensive Ballets: Paquita, La Bayadere, Etudes, Symphony in C, Serenade, Diamonds