3 Major Benefits of Learning Correct Ballet Terminology

by | May 1, 2016

Deciding to take ballet means you have chosen to immerse yourself in a world where everyone speaks with their bodies and reacts to commands in a “foreign” ballet language.

Some of the benefits of becoming fluent in ballet terminology, apart from the obvious reason of developing into an accomplished dancer are that you will be learning a new language and reaping the benefits of such.

  1. Skyrocket your Brain Power to New Heights – sharpen your problem solving and critical thinking skills by seeing new angles and ways of using the space you are in.
  1. Become a Multi-Tasking Beast – you can focus on more than one thing at a time – listen to music, remember choreography, implement corrections the second you hear them, express emotion…the list goes on and on. Imagine the effect this will have on your day-to-day life outside the dance studio!
  1. Improve your Memory Retention – by associating your new vocabulary with movement your brain develops the ability to associate information with what you already know; thus, helping you retain information faster and more efficiently.

In my experience as a dancer it is easier to remember choreography and dance combinations in class if the dancer knows the names of the steps. This way instead of thinking, “how was it that the teacher moved” the dancer remembers what came first, second and third in the exercise and executes it more efficiently. By sending the message from the brain to the extremities through the use of the correct ballet term, their movements become more fluid and continual and less choppy.

The same goes for my experience as a teacher. When students learn the correct terminology for the dance steps, they are able to execute the movement far better compared to those students who are still learning what the names are for steps. As a teacher I am also able to offer the students a more diverse range of steps because the class time will be used more efficiently. For example, questions can be addressed quicker because the dancer can pinpoint the part of the exercise or choreography they need clarification on by using the name of the step, instead of wasting time in a guessing game of where in the combination they are.

Here are some quick tips on learning the terminology:

  • Review at home – On your spare time or perhaps in front of the tv practice those new steps and review the names of them in your head.
  • Bring a notebook to class – when you learn a new step in class that day, write it down and describe how the movement is executed. Even if you do not know the correct spelling, write it out phonetically and then either look it up or as your instructor for help.
  • Teach someone your new moves – Sit a friend or family member down and explain to them how the step is performed. Sometimes the best way to memorize a step is by trying to teach it to someone else. This forces you really know what you are talking about.

Hopefully, the benefits and tips provided will propel you to learn the terminology and become the best dancer you can be.




  1. Starter’s Guide: Ballet Class – Clothing, Foot-ware and Books - Carla Otero Dance - […] you learn ballet you not only learn new dance moves, you are also learning a new language. Click here…

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