Back to top

12 Easy Ballet Moves for Beginners to Learn Quickly

12 Easy Ballet Moves for Beginners to Learn Quickly

In ballet, complexities exist. Certain dances call sometimes for the unexpected. For a ballet dancer, they can be challenged but when it comes down to it, strengthening the basics can always provide a base from which to work from. Easy ballet moves like the ones mentioned here can also help an inexperienced dancer or someone who may not necessarily be in practice.

The following list contains twelve easy ballet moves for beginners to work on:

1. Postural alignment

Before really digging into any easy ballet moves, posture counts for so much. Stand tall, ribs in, back flat, arches up, fingers relaxed, and create as much space between the armpit and hip. The rib cage shouldn’t be stuck out. The back should be free as well. Lastly, the legs are pulled down to the ground, pulling everything up and out in a natural way.

2. Feet positions

In addition to posture, positions of the feet are an easy place to start when it comes to easy ballet moves. There are six main positions – first, second, fourth, fifth, fourth position side, and fifth position side. Any dancer can easily look up these positions and work on them on their own, without the assistance of an instructor.

3. Arm positions

Combining an excellent posture with the right feet positions, you may then be asking yourself, what about my arms? Well, there are five arm positions to remember – first, second, third, fourth, and fifth. These don’t require any sort of practice other than memorization. This five ballet arm positions will help to stabilize you and help provide a starting point from which you can perform more difficult maneuvers down the line.

4. Coupes ballet moves

Coupes means ‘to cut’. They’re a quick action, lifting one foot off the ground and changing weight from one foot to the other. To perform a coupe quick, artistically, and gracefully lays groundwork for higher, more complex ballet leaps and balancing steps. Consider it as a sort of introduction to what’s possible months down the line with a little more practice.

5. Elancer ballet moves

Elancer is a description of any movement that darts along or just above the surface of the floor. This is performed with a dancer’s strongly stretched legs and pointed toes. It’s also worth noting elancer refers to a jumping along rather than up – a key difference.

6. Relever ballet moves

A reliever is when the heels lift off the ground to balance on the ball of the foot. Some women choose to rise to the tips of their toes, if they’re in pointe shoes. Relevers are a great strength building exercise, accumulating health and support in the foot, ankle, and calf muscles. Done correctly, a relever executed can produce an effect of floating.

7. Etendre ballet moves

The etendre means ‘to stretch’. This easy ballet move takes some strength and skill to perform. There are certainly easier ballet moves on this list, however this one is a necessary movement in any ballet dancer’s arsenal. You stretch the toe, ankle, and knee, resulting in a straight leg with pointed toe.

8. Plier ballet moves

A plier is a deep squat-like bend. Plier is the first exercise performed at the ballet barre. This is arguably the single most important movement in ballet. Why? The knees and ankle absorb the force of movement. It all happens in a fluid motion that makes a plier look elegant, effortless, and absolutely graceful.

9. Tendu ballet moves

Tendu means ‘to stretch’. A tendu can be performed in a few different ways, usually done by extending one foot across the floor either to the front of the body, to the side, or the rear. Knees and feet should be completely straight with only the toes of the foot making contact with the floor. After one has mastered a tendu, more complex customizations can be made onto it to develop something truly masterful ahead.

10. Sauter ballet moves

Sauter follows a relever, a natural progression from one to the other. A dancer pushes themselves into the air, leaving the floor with pointed toes and their legs extended. This is a relatively difficult movement to perform compared to others on this list. The real challenge is having the quickness to jump and land softly and quietly. With a little bit of strength and control, you can make it work and slowly bring the movement to get more and more graceful.

11. Glisser ballet moves

A glisser, as many may predict, means ‘to glide’. This movement involves a ballet dancer sliding their feet against the floor. In a way, it’s like ice skating – both in appearance and performance. Smoothly brush the foot propelling the leg forward, in a single extension and off the ground. Performed correctly and a glisser’s a beautiful thing to behold.

12. Tourner ballet moves

A tourner means ‘to turn around’. This describes any sort of turning of the body. This is a ballet move easy to adjust. It can be performed in place, across the floor, or in the air. A pirouette is an example of a tourner. This is again a movement that you can build from the ground up, starting minimal and creating something truly fantastical from it.