Ballet Terms with Pictures: The Best Ballet Moves to Master

Ballet Terms With Pictures

Ballet, like anything else, has a vocabulary unique from all others. Most ballet moves are named in French, so a major portion of the ballet vocabulary is made up of the French language. Pictures can help beginning ballerinas understand these complex words and movements.

Ballet’s First Five Positions

All ballet is based around the first five basic steps that a ballerina learns. These five ballet moves are the building blocks of all ballet positions:

Pictures of Plies

The Demi Plie is executed by bending the knees only half way. It is executed in 2 counts, and is the building block ballet technique of every ballet move to be executed. When practicing, face the bar to help you keep correct posture. The Demi Plie should be practiced while the dancer is in each of the first five positions.

A Grande Plie is executed with a full bend of the knee with four counts on the downward move, and four counts on the upward lift. When the dancer reaches a full bend their heels will lift off the floor and then make contact with the floor to aid the dancer in coming back up. When executing a grande plié in the second basic ballet position, the heels will not be lifted at full bend. The grande plié, like the demi plié, is best executed in a bar facing position so you can remain balanced.

Exercise to Help You Gain Strength

Battements Tendus are exercises for the dancer to increase the strength in the arches of your feet. Your supporting foot should have your entire weight centered on the ball of the foot. Then, the other leg will begin to move out in a sliding motion from the front position. This first move is known as a la quatrieme. Then the foot will continue to be lifted slightly to the side. This is known as a la seconde. Finally, the foot gracefully glides toward the rear. This last movement is known as a la quatrieme derriere. This entire exercise should be executed with the foot seeming to slide through something as thick as peanut butter yet in a straight line.

There are other battements meant to help the dancer to strengthen their feet, and include:

There is numerous other ballet terms with pictures needed for the novice to know anything about ballet. Searching for a good illustrated book of ballet terms with pictures will aide you in your discovery of ballet terminology. You might try your local ballet class to find poster illustrations.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Alli Outten August 10, 2011 at 6:42 am

Good evening

I am currently redecorating my daughter’s bedroom in a full ballet theme with mirror and ballet barre. I would like to put a block-mounted picture of your “Ballet Movement Pictures: The First Five Positions” poster above her mirror to help her with her practice.

Is there any chance that you are able to send me a high resolution picture file of this picture so that I can have it printed? I don’t mind paying for it if required.

Thank you for your consideration.


job zena October 13, 2011 at 9:01 am

i love ballet but sometimes i womder if i can really get all the skills.the leaps are so wonderful.pls tell me what to do.zena.from nigeria

heather January 3, 2012 at 8:07 am

i love it i have been looking for my ballet tips for 900 days bye


carlos lopes January 7, 2012 at 10:45 am

hello okay, the site of jazz dance CIA has not yet been released. yes but would like to receive information about the world of dance
My name is Carlos Lopes, a teacher of ballet, jazz, and now I university physical education.
Thank you.

josephine March 21, 2012 at 9:31 am

G̶̲̥̅Ơ̴̴̴̴͡.̮Ơ̴̴̴͡D̶̲̥̅. Evening, I will love it if I can be taught ballet dance step tru email, and again I want to ask if I can still practice it as a beginner and be perfect in it since I’m 20 years old. I will love it if the steps are sent to me daily on how to practice the dance and be perfect in it. Tank u

louise asis June 4, 2012 at 6:23 am

i really love ballet… is so cool.
conteporary ballet is my hobby and i want to learn more about it……

sarafina nijinsky February 26, 2013 at 6:40 am

I have a student who is brand new to ballet, she’s 30 years old, it is never too late to start. I didn’t start to study until i was 20 and while it is too old to ever work in a ballet company, I was blessed with great teachers and now teach myself. I’m looking for a basic glossary of terminology that is printable. Any suggestions?

star July 14, 2013 at 1:48 pm

i love ballet but Im foram iran and we cant it.

star July 14, 2013 at 1:50 pm

pleas you healp me. thank

shohre August 6, 2013 at 1:02 pm

Im interested to learn balletonline.

Dany September 19, 2013 at 8:28 am

Its been years since Ive put on ballet shoes and I want to start back , any advice ? Merci ( thank you in french ).

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