Ballet Steps: The Plié and Tendu

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Well, this is what it's all about.  These are the Ballet steps and positions you will be doing in your very first beginners Ballet class.

There's nothing too scary in here - it's all safe to try at home.

Each video shows you a clip from our Ballet for adult beginners program that is designed to act as your very first ballet lesson.  You just join in, repeating each clip as often as you need. 

Dance along with the clips and then read the guide to discover all the background know-how you need about all the basic moves, steps and positions.

If you've already done the very first element of the class, the introduction, posture check and feet strengthening exercise, then it's time to have a go at your first 'proper' ballet step.


This is a slow exercise that really tests whether your posture is good, so make sure to keep your back nice and straight - don't bend forward. 
And resist the temptation to look down - keep your head and eye line nice and high.

Here's your Ballet steps checklist. 

Learn this and keep it in mind as you prepare to do each step.

  • Chin up slightly
  • Shoulders down
  • Rib cage pulled up
  • Back straight
  • Behind tucked under
  • And gently rest your hand on the back of your chair - don't grip too tightly
  • Now turn your feet out from the hip, keeping your legs straight.

You're ready to dance...

How did you get on?  You'll be starting to understand just how slowly and carefully a good teacher explains everything.  The pace is never more than gentle.

If you're feeling good and ready, try the next step.


Here's where you start to use the feet a bit more, by slowly sliding them along the floor until you are fully pointing your toe.

Again, this is quite slow.  While you're learning to point, the exercise is warming up your feet and legs, which is crucial if you're going to dance well, and take care of your body at the same time.

Remember your posture and your checklist from above.  Think about where your weight is and maintain a nice straight back throughout.

Pretty easy, yes?

Just remember that when you've had a go at each step, you do the exercise with the other leg.

The working leg

In the clip above, the class is standing with their right hand on the barre and their right leg nearest the barre.  This is called the supporting leg.

They do the exercise with their left leg, called the working leg.

Once they have completed the exercise, they will turn around to face the other direction so that their left hand will rest on the barre, their supporting leg will be their left and the right leg will become the working leg.

You'll therefore need to do each step and then move your chair (or whatever you're using as your barre) so that your other hand is resting on it and you can use the other leg, thus making sure that your do each step with both legs. 

The thing to think of here is that this is classical Ballet, and the essence of classicism is symmetry.  So in Ballet, the movements are always symmetrical.

The two steps you've just done, the plié and the tendu, are the real foundation of Ballet dancing and if you've mastered them, you'll find the next steps fairly easy to tackle.

To access your online class, once you click the Purchase button you'll be asked to create a very basic account with our partners Vimeo.  It's super quick.  Just enter your e-mail address and create a password.  That's it.  Then Vimeo will take you straight to the payment processing - PayPal, credit and debit card payment options are all available and secure.  You'll be in your virtual dance class in mere moments.

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