the Ballet
the Technique

The First Centre Exercises

Centre work usually begins with a ports de bras or an adage. This exercise helps the dancers get stronger, (as do almost all exercises), and it makes them work on holding aerial positions properly, while standing up without holding onto the barre. It is during the adage that dancers use an arabesque position. The Quicktime VR on this page is of a dancer in what the Royal Academy of Dance calls second arabesque. This means that the forward arm is the opposite arm from the forward leg. You can use your mouse to drag this dancer to any position so you can see the arabesque from any angle. An adage is also a very beautiful exercise if done correctly. One of the most famous ones is the Rose Adagio from The Sleeping Beauty in which the Princess Aurora stands on one pointe for several minutes while being turned by several partners and working through several positions with her working leg.

The centre continues through some of the exercises that were also done at the barre, including tendues and sometimes dégagé. These exercises no longer serve to warm up various parts of the body, as the dancers are already warm, but they still strengthen the dancers, and they are quite often more complicated than the barre exercise. In a higher level men's class, for example, tendues could include a tour en l'air, (the man jumps up into the air and spins around one, two, or sometimes three times before landing).

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