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Ballet Word Play

Developing Your Dance Language

by Dean Speer

February 2013

One of my colleagues at Dance! West Seattle, Christin Torp, unleashed an interactive and delightfully fun game as an exercise to learn the language of ballet – our shared vocabulary – with our youth ballet classes.

The premise is simple – take the title of a famous movie, book, song, or saying, replacing one word or short phrase with a ballet word.

Give it a try – you’ll enjoy it!

Here is an example:
Finding Nemo - Finding Fifth
The Great Escape - The Great Echappé
or one of my favorite from student, Emily: “There’s a ballet for that!”

Here is what our classes came up with, by class level. I was very impressed with the results!

Ballet IV

1. Dr. Sous-Sus
2. Little Bo Leap
3. Humpty Dumpty Pas de Cheval
4. The Little Embôite That Could
5. The Ugly Développé
6. The Farmer in the Dégagé


1. Hansel and the Gargouillade
2. Goldilocks and the Three Ballottés
3. Beauty and the Brisé
4. Sleeping Bourée
5. The Pied Piqué
6. Little Red Riding Rond de Jambe Hood
7. Jack and the Battement
8. The Princess and the Plié
9. Saut de Chat and the Seven Dwarfs
10. The Three Little Pirouèttes
11. The Hunchback of Détournée
12. James and the Giant Penché
13. The Frappé Prince
14. A la Sèconde in Wonderland
15. Rêversé and Juliet
16. The Perks of Being a Waltz Flower

What are some of the ones that you can come up with? Here are a couple more to get you started:

The 10 Commandments - The 10 __________
The Hunger Games - The __________ Games

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