New Victory Dance Arts Break: Remixing Ballet

Every summer, New Victory Dance celebrates the artistry and diversity of NYC dance! Whether you’re preparing to attend a performance or are just in a dancing mood, New Victory Dance Arts Break offers fun and free dance education and engagement activities for wherever and however you feel like moving. Over the past three weeks, we’ve found the motion in our emotions, dancified our daily routines and sampled a menu of house dance moves. In this fourth and final installment, we’ll explore the shapes and movements of ballet. Let’s tendu it!

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New Victory Dance Arts Break: Remixing Ballet

The video in this Arts Break was filmed at the New Victory Theater. We acknowledge that the New Victory resides on the seized homeland of the Lenape people and the intertribal territory of many First Nations. We celebrate and pay deep respect to all Indigenous peoples, past, present and future.

Try This!

When you first think of ballet, traditional movements may spring to mind—gracefully bending arms, long leaping legs, pointed tiptoes. But what if we could put those shapes and movements into other parts of our bodies? Let’s join New Victory Teaching Artist Lauren Sharpe as she reimagines and remixes four traditional ballet movements.

Comment c’était? How’d it go? Once you’re feeling confident and satisfied with your first remixed ballet sequence, try switching where in your body you’re expressing each movement to create a second sequence! Here’s a visual refresher of the four ballet terms with their translations, in case you’d like a little more practice.

Plié: bend
Where can you bend?

A looping plié GIF: Lauren bends both legs at the knee. Siobhan bends her knees and elbows, rising up and down.

Tendu: stretch
Where can you stretch?

A looping tendu GIF: Lauren stretches one leg. Siobhan stretches out both arms wide.

Fondu: melt
Where can you melt?

A looping fondu GIF: Lauren melts precisely, bending her knee and hunching her shoulders. Siobhan wriggles from standing to crouching, wiggling her fingers as she melts.

Jeté: jump
Where can you jump?

A looping jeté GIF: Lauren jumps lightly forward. Siobhan springs up from a crouch.

Try creating a ballet piece with movements as tiny as possible and another ballet piece with movements as big as possible!

Craft This!

It’s time for an Arts Break language lesson—with a crafty twist! As Lauren mentioned, the language used to name and describe movements in ballet is French. In this next activity, we’ll practice some ballet vocabulary en français with a dance-based game. Allons-y! Let’s go!

Materials: Paper, pens or markers, a hat or bowl, scissors (optional)

Step One: Cut or tear your paper into small slips. On each slip write one of the ballet terms listed below. You should end up with lots of slips for each term:

  • Plié
  • Tendu
  • Fondu
  • Jeté

Materials on a table: a cap, paper, markers, scissors and slips of paper with ballet moves written on them
Step Two: Review the meanings of these ballet terms by rewatching Lauren’s video or the looping examples above.

Step Three: Place all the slips of paper in a hat or bowl and shuffle them around.
A hand holding a New Victory Dance cap full of folded slips of paper
Step Four: Assign one person to be the dancer and one person to be the choreographer. The choreographer will decide how many slips of paper to draw from the bowl. Three or four is a good number to start with.

Step Five: The choreographer draws from the bowl and reads the ballet movements aloud in order. The dancer responds by creating a ballet sequence that matches what the choreographer drew.


Once you’re comfortable with the four dance terms and their movements, try choreographing another randomized dance piece, but this time you cannot use the same part of your body more than once!

Thank you for exploring dance and movement with us these last few weeks. We hope you’ve enjoyed learning different dance styles and choreographic methods, and we hope you continue to explore whatever movement speaks to you! Keep dancing, and we’ll see you for more New Victory Arts Break later this year.

New Victory Arts Break Supporters

New Victory Arts Break is funded, in part, by the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.

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