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classical ballet

system of dance based on formalized movements and positions of the arms, feet, and body designed to enable the dancer to move with the greatest possible agility, control, speed, lightness, and grace. Classical-ballet technique is based on the turned-out position of the legs, which increases the range of movement through added mobility in the hip joint and also imparts a more pleasing line to the extended leg. The subject matter of classical ballet may be romantic, realistic, or mythological; a variety of dramatic and emotional situations may be represented. A classical production is divided into three sections: the opening pas de deux (dance for two), or adagio; variations or individual performances by the partners, first by the male and then by the female; and the final pas de deux, or coda.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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