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Dancer performs fouetté en tournant, for which aplomb is critical.

In classical ballet, aplomb refers to the basic law of ballet – stability.

The French ballet master Jean-Étienne Despréaux defined it in 1806 as a specific kind of dynamic balance fundamental to all positions and movements of (classical) ballet.[1]

A 1905 book Grammar of the Art of Dancing, Theoretical and Practical referring to Bernhard Klemm, wrote: "Aplomb is the absolute safety in rising and falling back which results from the perpendicular attitude of the upper body and the artistic placing of the feet. By means of aplomb the dancer acquires a precision and an elegance which ensure the successful execution of every foot-movement, however artistic and difficult, and thereby creates a pleasing and a satisfactory impression upon the observer. Aplomb may be compared with the sureness of touch of the pianist." [2]

Aplomb is achieved with straight body with its weight equally distributed over the supporting foot (or feet). Aplomb is controlled by feeling and controlling the muscular sensations in the spine, i.e., by "holding the back". [3] The base of aplomb are the five positions of the feet codified by Pierre Beauchamp in 1680.

The correct set of the body influences all ballet steps, and the perfection of the aplomb requires years of training. Exercises at the barre begin the training of the stability and balance. [3]


  1. ^ Bernard Taper (1996) "Balanchine: A Biography", ISBN 0-520-20639-8
  2. ^ Grammar of the Art of Dancing, Theoretical and Practical, referring to the book by Bernhard Klemm, "Katechismus der Tanzkunst", Leipzig, J.J. Weber, 1855
  3. ^ a b Agrippina Vaganova (1969) "Basic Principles of Classical Ballet: Russian Ballet Technique" ISBN 0-486-22036-2