Outreach & EducationPhysics & Dance

Glossary of Terms

Person who creates the steps and the dances for the ballet. Sometimes they also create the story, idea , or the mood of the ballet.

Person who writes the music. Some famous ballet composers are Tchaikovsky, Minkus, Delibes, Adam, and Stravinsky

Corps de Ballets
Refers to the group and ensemble dancers that create beautiful formations and designs, often performed around a soloist dancer. Sometimes the function of the corps de ballet is purely decorative, embellishing yet not distracting from the principal dancers. In a story ballet, their reaction with appropriate emotions enhance and help define the dramatic situation. To execute these movements in unison takes a lot of rehearsal for the dancers to really learn the steps, the directions, and to hear the musicality the same way.

In French, it means “to throw”. For use as a ballet term, it means a jump throwing your weight from one leg to the other. It can be in a very small form such as a petite jete or a big leap that is called a grand jete.

Pas De Deux
In French, it means “step of two or dance for two”. For use in ballet, it usually refers to the adagio that the principal man and woman dancer does together. His support of her movements enables her to do more turns, hold her balance longer in poses, and his lifts add spectacular movements to the dance.

Pronounced plee ay. The bend of the knees and ankles. Originates from the French verb plier “to bend”

A general term used to describe turns on one leg. i.e. pirouette en dedans or pirouette en dehors

Person who arranges a traditional ballet like Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, or Nutcracker to suite a particular company or dancer. They make slight adjustments to the order of dances, steps , or sequences of movements. Sometimes this includes modifications to choreography, music, sets, and costuming.

Physics Terms

Rate of change in velocity.

Center of Gravity
Point at which gravitational force on a body may be considered to act.

The magnitude and direction of “push” or “pull.” The total of the forces acting on a body determines its rate of change of momentum.

The inertial resistance to a change in linear motion. A large mass will accelerate less than a small mass in response to a particular force.

A quantity of motion, equal to the product of mass and the velocity of a body.

The magnitude of velocity, ignoring direction

Rate of change of position with magnitude and direction both specified. Velocity and speed are often used interchangeably.

The Charleston Ballet and Avampato Discovery Museum would like to thank you for taking part in our programming this year. We hope to see you again soon. For information on future Ballet and Museum programs, feel free to call us or check us out online:

Charleston Ballet: (304) 342-6541
Performances & Events

The Clay Center: (304) 561-3500

This CD was funded by grants from
The McGee Foundation and
The Katharine B. Tierney Charitable Foundation