Entertainment Performing Arts The Basic Structure of a Ballet Class Share PINTEREST Email Print Nick White/Getty Images Performing Arts Ballet Gear Favorite Ballets Singing Acting Musical Theater Dance Stand Up Comedy By Treva Bedinghaus Treva L. Bedinghaus is a former competitive dancer who has studied ballet, tap, and jazz. She writes about dance styles and practices and the history of dance. our editorial process Treva Bedinghaus Updated May 06, 2019 In a beginning ballet class, dancers learn basic exercises and steps, and they perform simple combinations at slow tempos. Over time, dancers gain technique competency, learn movement principles, develop a professional attitude and learn dance studio etiquette. A basic ballet class consists of several segments, usually: barre, center, adagio, allegro, and reverence. The components of a basic ballet class are usually consistent throughout most of the world. Barre Every ballet class begins at the barre. Dancers use the support of the barre to work through exercises one side of their body at a time. Dancers first hold on with one hand and work the opposite leg, then turn around and hold on with the other hand and work the opposite leg. Whether you are a novice, experienced or professional ballet dancer, performing barre work is an essential part of ballet class. It prepares you for dancing during the second part of the class. It establishes correct placement, and it develops core and leg strength, directionality, balance, foot articulation, and weight transfer skills. Barre exercises help you deepen and refine your technique. A basic barre consist of a series of exercises including the following: Plie Tendu Battement degage Ron de jambe Center After warming up at the barre, dancers move to the center of the room for center work. Center exercises are similar to barre work except dancers do not have the support of the barre. In the center, you learn steps, positions and poses to gain a basic movement vocabulary of ballet. You repeat exercises from the barre and learn steps that develop into dynamic movement combinations. In other words, in the center, you apply what you learned at the barre, and you learn to dance. Center work usually consists of the following exercises: Port de bras Grand battement Center work can also consist of adagio and allegro segments, which are fast and slow combinations that include classical ballet poses, arm and foot positions, steps, turns, small or large jumps, hops, and leaps. Adagio Adagio consists of slow, graceful steps that help develop balance, extension, and control. Adagio helps a dancer concentrate on the lines being formed by their body. Adagio usually consists of the following exercises: Arabesque Attitude Developpe Allegro The allegro portion of a ballet class introduces faster, livelier steps, including turns and jumps. Allegro can be divided into two categories: petit and grand. Petit allegro consists mainly of turns and small jumps. Saute Changement Jete Assemble Pirouette Fouette Chaine turns Grand allegro consists of big jumps and fast movements. Grand jete Saut de chat Reverence Every ballet class concludes with reverence, a series of bows and curtsies performed to slow music. Reverence gives the ballet dancers a chance to pay respect to and acknowledge the teacher and pianist. Reverence is a way of celebrating ballet's traditions of elegance and respect. Also, the ballet class may end with students applauding the teacher and musician for dance.