The Different Types of Ballet: Exploring the Styles and Techniques

Ballet is a graceful and elegant art form that has captivated audiences for centuries. While it may appear to be a singular art, ballet actually encompasses various styles and techniques that contribute to its rich and diverse nature. In this blog post, we will delve into the different types of ballet, exploring the various styles and techniques that make each one unique. Whether you’re a seasoned dancer or someone interested in joining youth or adult ballet classes in Calgary or Edmonton, this guide will provide you with valuable insights into the world of ballet.

Alberta Ballet School is renowned for its commitment to excellence and its role in nurturing young talent. Founded in 1991, the school offers a comprehensive curriculum that encompasses both classical and contemporary ballet techniques. Aspiring dancers from all over the world have the opportunity to train at this esteemed institution, receiving world-class instruction and guidance from experienced professionals. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced dancer, Alberta Ballet School provides a supportive environment for you to develop your skills and pursue your passion for ballet.

Different Ballet Styles

There are three main types of ballet that our school uses to inform our Professional Division curriculum and our ballet classes for students of all ages in both Calgary and Edmonton.

a) Classical Ballet

Classical ballet is the foundation of all ballet styles. It emphasizes precise and formalized movements, often characterized by pointe work, graceful arm positions, and intricate footwork. This style is rooted in tradition and showcases the beauty and grace of ballet in its purest form. Whether you’re performing a solo variation or participating in a large-scale production, classical ballet techniques such as first position, pliés, and arabesques are fundamental to mastering this style.

b) Contemporary Ballet

Contemporary ballet pushes the boundaries of traditional ballet techniques, incorporating elements of modern dance and experimentation. It blends fluidity and athleticism, allowing dancers to explore their creativity and expressiveness through a fusion of classical and contemporary movements. This style often incorporates improvisation and encourages dancers to think outside the box, challenging traditional ballet norms.

c) Neoclassical Ballet

Neoclassical ballet is a contemporary take on classical ballet, characterized by its abstract and minimalist approach. It emphasizes clean lines, speed, and technical precision, often accompanied by avant-garde music. Neoclassical ballet seeks to deconstruct traditional narrative-driven ballets and focuses on the pure movement and physicality of dance.

Different Ballet Techniques

First Position Ballet

First position is one of the foundational ballet techniques. It involves standing with heels together and toes turned out, forming a straight line with the feet. First position establishes proper alignment, strength, and turnout, which are essential for executing ballet movements correctly. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced dancer, mastering first position is crucial for building a solid foundation in ballet technique.


Allegro refers to the fast and lively movements in ballet, including jumps, leaps, and quick footwork. This technique emphasizes lightness, speed, and precision. Some common allegro steps include jetés (leaps), assemblés (jumping steps where the legs come together in the air), and entrechats (a series of jumps with beats of the legs). Allegro requires strength, coordination, and the ability to generate power and height in jumps while maintaining gracefulness and control.


Adagio is a slow and controlled movement in ballet that focuses on balance, extension, and fluidity. It showcases the dancer’s control, flexibility, and artistry. Adagio movements often involve long, sustained poses and extensions, highlighting the beauty and grace of the ballet technique. Dancers must exhibit strength, control, and body awareness to execute adagio movements with precision and elegance.

Pointe Work

Pointe work is a technique in ballet where female dancers dance on the tips of their toes using specially designed pointe shoes. This technique requires years of training and development of foot and ankle strength. Pointe work allows dancers to create the illusion of weightlessness and adds an ethereal quality to their movements. It is often featured in classical ballet productions and showcases the extraordinary skill and artistry of ballet dancers.


Partnering is a technique where male and female dancers work together to perform lifts, turns, and synchronized movements. It requires trust, strength, and coordination between partners. Partnering adds an element of dynamic and dramatic interaction between dancers, enhancing the storytelling aspect of ballet performances. It is commonly seen in pas de deux (a dance duet between a male and female dancer) and other ensemble pieces.

By mastering these various ballet techniques, dancers can expand their repertoire, refine their skills, and express themselves more effectively through movement. Each technique contributes to the overall beauty and artistry of ballet, showcasing the technical prowess and emotional depth that make this art form so captivating.

Adult Ballet Classes Calgary and Edmonton

Many adults are discovering the joy and benefits of ballet as a form of exercise and artistic expression. Adult ballet classes in Calgary and Edmonton cater to individuals of all skill levels, providing a welcoming and inclusive space for adults to learn and grow. These classes offer a range of techniques, from basic ballet fundamentals to more advanced movements, allowing adults to progress at their own pace and explore their love for dance in a supportive community. With so many benefits of ballet for adults, including fitness that’s fun, improving mental well-being and new opportunities for social interaction, sign up today to discover for yourself!

Ballet encompasses a range of styles and techniques that cater to diverse interests and skill levels. At Alberta Ballet School, there are abundant opportunities for individuals of all ages to explore their love for ballet. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced dancer, ballet offers physical and mental benefits, fostering self-expression, discipline, and a sense of community. Embrace the artistry and elegance of ballet and embark on a journey of self-discovery through dance. Consider joining adult ballet classes near you or exploring dance summer camps in 2023 to further your ballet aspirations and experience the magic of this timeless art form.