Balletfocus Video Dictionary

Check out my ballet video dictionary on YouTube: The channel features 39 common ballet steps from world’s greatest dancers in live performances: Mikhail Baryshnikov, Gillian Murphy, Leonid Sarafanov, Svetlana Zakharova, José Manual Carreño, Alina Cojocaru, Roberto Bolle, and many more. Each video focuses on a particular step and, after brief commentary, presents examples of the step.

The 39 videos comprise many of the steps performed in classical ballet performances. Whether you are new to ballet as a fan or dancer or have many years in dance, I hope this channel will be helpful. Many of the steps are performed at a whirlwind pace, so I slow down many of the clips and provide stop action at critical moments to provide insight on the mechanics of the step.

The idea for the dictionary came from a discussion last November at an event at my daughter’s school. A parent liked by blog but, not having any dance experience, didn’t understand the ballet terminology that permeates my blog: double cabriole, en dedans pirouettes, penchè, for example. I had to admit, she did have a point. Viewers with no dance experience don’t know the difference between a double tour and a double saut de basque. After considering several possibilities, I came up with the idea of cataloging steps from my favorite DVDs and other sources and assembling the individual steps in short videos. As a result, here are 39 videos, each ranging from 1-5 minutes. Going forward in my blog, I will hyperlink ballet terms to the dictionary: pirouette en dedans for example. I can now use ballet terms without guilt.

Thanks to Edward Ellison at Ellison Ballet for help in identifying several steps; Chris Perez at the law firm of Donaldson + Callif for reviewing the project and videos; Ethan Meixsell for intro music; and my family for help and patience throughout the project. Wherever possible, I use terminology consistent with Technical Manual and Dictionary of Classical Ballet, by Gail Grant (Dover 1982).

Enjoy the videos and please let me know if you have any comments.