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9 Words That Mean Something Different to Non-Dancers

Christmas Spectacular Rockettes Open Rehearsal


here’s no doubt your dance teachers say some pretty strange things during dance class, but as a dancer out in the real world, some of the things your non-dancing pals say can get lost in translation. If you take your mind off dance for a few seconds, you’ll realize certain words have a completely different meaning for dancers. Here’s a cheat sheet if you’re feeling confused by the lingo beyond the dance studio.

1. Attitude. Your mom tells you to stop giving her so much attitude and your mind wanders off to mentally adjust the angle of your lifted knee as you stand on one leg.

2. Frappé. Your friend suggests you order a Frappé at the coffee bar and you can’t help but think of striking your foot like a match at the ballet barre.

3. Traveling. When your aunt went traveling last year, she toured Europe. When you go traveling, it’s usually from one side of the dance floor to the other.

4. Tour. Speaking of tours … your brother’s favorite band is on the road at the moment and while he’s at the concert, your head will be spinning from practicing tours, known to dancers as turns.

5. Sauté. The new recipe you found online is going to be killer but when it instructs you to sauté the mushrooms, you’ll have to remind yourself not to jump up and down on them.

6. Partner. Your cousin’s partner is the person with whom she has a romantic relationship—her significant other. Your dance partner is significant because if one of you messes up a lift, you’re probably both going down.

7. Combination. When a fellow student asks if you remember the combination, you may cower in a corner thinking of the impossibly difficult series of movements your dance teacher makes up just to torture you. Don’t worry, your buddy is probably just asking about your school locker.

8. Marking. If your dad asks you to mark something in your calendar, you may be shocked for a moment because in dance class, marking anything is forbidden. Your dance teacher expects you to dance full-out and give 100 percent at all times.

9. Merde. Your French teacher is horrified and asks you to watch your language when you wish your fellow dancers luck for that night’s performance by saying, “Merde!” You may want to look this one up before you find yourself in deep doo-doo.