A balancé in ballet is a step where a dancer moves while alternating balance between their feet. The rhythm is usually in three counts like a waltz and has the motion of going “down, up, down” with their legs.
Typically a dancer starts in a fifth or “b-plus” position (the front foot straight and back leg bent and crossed behind) and extends the back leg to a degagé to the side on the first “and” count, fondues and transfers weight onto that foot while crossing the other behind the ankle in coupé position, then piques on the back foot while slightly lifting the first, then fondues once again on the first foot.
Other forms of balancé
balancé de côté
A balancé de côté is when a dancer performs a balancé to the side.
balancé en tournant
A balancé en tournant is when a dancer performs a balancé while turning either half or quarter turns. Very similar to the look of a waltz.
Balancé in ballet class
Balancé is often taught to young ages and in beginning ballet classes. The ease of the step combined with the feeling of movement and “dancing” makes it an enjoyable step at these levels and further into advanced levels. Like many beginning ballet steps, balancé is used often in advanced classes and through professional levels.
Dancers will often be given combinations with balancés in center combinations, such as pirouettes or adagio. A balancé en tournant is common in pirouette combinations because this has the dancer turning in a waltz-style movement.
Some schools and teachers emphasize different parts of a balancé. For example, some teach students to almost always raise their first reaching leg to 45 degrees while others prefer just a few inches off the floor, as it appears to have more energy and purpose in the step. At the end of the day, both are right and have more to do with the style a dancer may be performing on stage.