The Off Day Ballet Dictionary

Messy classes are unavoidable, despite our best efforts. So, perhaps we should make lemonade and think of off days as a unique subset of ballet with its own rules and definitions. (Apologies in advance to ballet teachers worldwide.)

Lemonade ballet 3

Created with Wikimedia Commons Public Domain Image 1, Image 2.

Arabesque à la Seconde: The proper name for “a la sebesque”.

Hawaiian Rond de Jombe: Yes, it’s correct technique to include a little hula.

Petrushka Jumps: Pointed feet and stretched knees would just spoil the effect.

Port de Bras de Coppélia: The ability to move like an emotionless, mechanical doll can be invaluable.

“Reverse”: Dance historians now believe this originally meant “take a moment to freestyle”.

Degas Chicken Dance

Created with Wikimedia Commons Public Domain Image.

Runway Updo: A messy bun is fashionable after all.

Spotting: The critical skill of whipping your head around to see just-what-on-earth-is-everyone-else-doing-anyway.

Superman Penchée: Arching your back would ruin the streamlined look. So would lifting your leg above 90 degrees:

superman penchée

“Superman Penchée”. Created with Wikimedia Commons Public Domain Image.

Tombé: The correct way to arrive on the floor…

Variation: As in your own personal variation of whatever the combination was supposed to be…

Vibrato: A sophisticated addition to any balancing exercise.

Zombé: Any step performed with an appropriately dead level of energy.


Created with Wikimedia Commons Public Domain Image.

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