The French language. How we Americans have Americanized it, as we do with most novel and beautiful things. Now don’t misunderstand me; my study of French as a college study was spectacular, and hopefully someday, I’ll be fluent, but it did not change the shock I felt when dance teacher Lauren declared that we would jeté last Thursday. Yes, thanks to my semesters in elementary French, I knew what she wanted, but simultaneously, my jaw hit the ground because I had no idea how she thought that was remotely possible from me, a goose on a lake full of swans. It’s become almost like a game — trying to guess what words mean in the studio before Lauren demonstrates a motion that is completely alien to me. Ballet class has been great physically and mentally, and how could something so controlled and graceful be sometimes quite funny?

Behold: Olivia’s Working Ballet Dictionary for Extreme Beginners (message me individually for publishing rights). Credit to for all meanings that don’t seem slightly fictitious.

Frappé: [n.] an after-dinner drink consisting of a liqueur, as crème de menthe, poured over cracked or shaved ice.

Starbucks Gold Status. a sugary, sweet frozen drink that moms give their kids since not all of them contain espresso and even when they do, they don’t taste like coffee whatsoever; one is guaranteed to be have a higher calorie count than the total daily recommend value for an NFL linebacker.

Ballet. a beating of the toe of the working foot against the ankle of the supporting foot.

- for you, my nonballerinas, snap your leg in and hit your toe on your ankle/ wrap foot around calf AND if you don’t have bruises on your shins Lauren may just tell you it isn’t correct.

Cavalier: [n.] a horseman, especially a mounted soldier; knight.

SportsCenter Edition: add an ‘s’ to the end, you’ve a pro-team that hails from Cleveland and has been through it all; insert Lebron James.

Do you have what it takes to be a Cavalier?

Ballet. a male dancer; ballerina’s partner

- would venture to say these are some of the strongest athletes I’ve ever seen

Attitude: [n.] manner, disposition, feeling, position, etc., with regard to a person or thing; tendency or orientation, especially of the mind: a negative attitude; group attitudes.

Olivia Ingram’s friends. undying, unwavering, unmatchable sass.

Ballet. a pose in which the dancer stands on one leg, the other bent behind.

- side note: today in class we did these, and I couldn’t stop laughing because it was to the tune of a beautiful instrumental version of the Jurassic Park theme song (go-to for studying), and incidentally the consequential muscle pain equals what I’d assume a T-Rex chomp feels like.

Adage (Adagio): [n.] a traditional saying expressing a common experience or observation; proverb.

UNC MJ School. ad students rejoice!!! This term looks good on paper, and is quite familiar for that matter. Advertising Age is a well-known and incredibly informative news source for all things ad, marketing and media. Also, it’s my favorite twitter account!

Ballet. French form deriving from the Italian ad agio, meaning at ease or leisure; a succession of exercises en centre to be performed slowly, gracefully and with apparent ease

*I fall out of this every time, so do not let the definition fool you. This is tough stuff.

Fondu/fondue: [n.] a saucelike dish of Swiss origin made with melted cheese and seasonings together with dry white wine, usually flavored with kirsch; served as a hot dip for pieces of bread.

Okay, so that’s with the ‘e’ on the end. If you take it away then you have the ballet version, which is NOT CHEESE! I REPEAT — not cheese or chocolate. This is not a treat (but if you want a treat check out this sweet recipe) from your instructor for having amazing turnouts, but it is so much more than that. These are some of my favorite exercises.

Ballet. a slow bending of the supporting leg. Literally, fondu means to melt, and that’s an incredible feeling — the melting of the leg down and then growing back up. So elegant and a good stretch too.

Miscellaneous: Okay so there’s no definition for these, but they made my cut.

Port de bras:

Olivia’s Best Guess. involving arms maybe? I don’t know, it seems like the place cargo ships would go to unload boxes of Victoria’s Secret shipment if the first thing is wrong.

Ballet. a movement or series of movements made by passing the arm or arms through various positions. However, I think VS could really do something cool with this!!

En l’Air:

Olivia’s Best Guess. That says air. I know it says air. Air → UNC → basketball…this one means Air Jordan!!!! Slam-dunk for sure.

Ballet. In the air; indicates movement is to be made in the air. Okay, so I was wrong. But I like to imagine I’m Micahel Jordan through a grand jeté — tongue out and all.

-with straight legs and pointed feet and less paparazzi-

Stay tuned my fine friends as I expand the dictionary over the next couple of months, and check out my other posts to see how the journey towards becoming a ballerina began. À la prochaine!

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