Sports & Games

Barre Technique: Temps Lié

Misty Copeland

Lesson time 5:11 min

To help you learn placement principles and prepare for larger moves like arabesques, Misty demonstrates a series of small movement exercises to practice temps lié and maintain stability while shifting her weight from side to side.

Misty Copeland
Teaches Ballet Technique and Artistry
American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Misty Copeland teaches you how to build your technique, embrace your story, and own your movement.
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[MUSIC PLAYING] MISTY COPELAND: This next series of exercises will help you practice weight shifts so you can maintain stability while you switch from side to side in the transition to larger moves. [MUSIC PLAYING] This is an exercise that will prepare you for pirouettes. So you're starting from two legs, and then you go to two legs and plié. And then it's getting all your weight over onto one leg but trying your best to make that motion go upward and not shifting over to the side. Start with demi-pliés. Push your knees back as they bend. They naturally want to come forward when you plié, so pushing them back keeps them pointed in the same direction as when your legs are straight. Run through your alignment checklist-- shoulders down, middle back engaged, core in and up, glutes tightened, and finally, legs straight. Also, don't forget to breathe. [MUSIC PLAYING] So I'm going to do temps lié, but I'm going to give you a real connection as to how it's used in pirouette. [MUSIC PLAYING] As you lift your leg, remember to keep both legs fully straight, pushing through the heel on the standing leg. You can see I'm trying not to shift to the side. Instead, I'm focusing on a feeling of moving up as I extend my leg. Pay extra attention to keeping your shoulders pressing downward and your back and core engaged. My back is straight. My shoulders are down. I'm moving as one unit. Engage your thighs by straightening the knees, and squeeze your glutes as you tendu, maintaining that engagement throughout the temps lié. Keep your hands placed lightly on the barre, and try not to grip. So we're gonna go on to the next combination, which is the same thing I was doing to the side, but I'll now be going front and back. Take these exercises slowly, allowing yourself time to check in from head to toe. My thigh muscles are tight, and I push through my heel on my standing leg as I tendu forward. As I transition to tendu back, I tighten my glutes and back muscles. I'm mindful of keeping my hips square to the barre and pressing my weight into both heels as I come back to first position. This time I come to fourth position before the plié. It's crucial to keep your knees pointed outward as you plié. Push through your standing heel as you lift your leg, maintaining that engagement as you bring your leg to passé. Check that your shoulders are down, your chest is lifted. And when bringing the leg to passé from dégagé back, make sure your hips are initiating the movement in a forward motion, bringing you back into alignment. Remember that your hips should be turned out based on strong muscles built, not on flexibility. You may feel tension in your hips, knees, or ankle joints if you're not turned out correctly as you work through these exercises. So training equally on both sides will help you avoid favoring one side over the other. Eventually, this will feel like second nature, but initially, you should check yours...

Bring emotion to life

As the first African American female principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre, Misty Copeland made history. Now she’s one of the world’s most influential dancers, and she’s inviting you to the barre to develop a deeper appreciation for ballet and the language of dance. From pliés to partners, Misty demonstrates her techniques and teaches you to own your movement, own who you are, and do the dance only you can do.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

I learned of proper body alignment that serves well for everyday movement (sitting, walking, etc.). Hearing Ms. Copeland's story was another expectation I had for the course. I was not disappointed.

This master class helped me to fully believe in myself and to realize that improving my ballet technique is possible with daily concentration and passionate effort.

I loved Misty's class. I would recommend this class for non ballerinas. Anyone can learn from and be inspired by her story.

I'm 77 and a relatively new painter. I find her story inspiring, encouraging, uplifting. Age is my "color" barrier, and Misty has given me a way to think about what I'm trying to do.