Focus class: Port de Bras

A class with a focus on Port de Bras, exploring how posture, weight placement, breathing techniques and eye focus improve artistry, coordination, and confidence in technique.


  • 1 Class
  • Suitable for 11+

In this class, students will revise and refresh their understanding of arm shapes and movements, head positions, and the mechanics of épaulement. The class explores how accurate posture and weight placement underpin upper body excellence, encouraging students to think about artistry through good breathing techniques and eye focus. Students will discover how letting the upper body lead the way as we dance can assist coordination and build confidence in technique.

What you will learn

  • How the foundations of accurate posture help arm shapes and movements
  • How to use the back in épaulement
  • How breathing and eye focus can increase artistry
  • How renewed thinking about upper body can help overall understanding of technique
  • How establishing high-quality Port de Bras develops artistic confidence and classical style

Your Tutors

Nicki Katrak

Ballet Teacher

Nicola joined The Royal Ballet School aged 11 and after winning the Adeline Genee Gold Medal, danced the role of The Young Girl in The Two Pigeons at her graduation performance.

She joined Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet in 1975 and was promoted to Principal in 1983, with her favourite roles including the title role in Giselle and Lise in Ashton’s La Fille mal Gardée.

In 1988, Nicola became Artist in Education for Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet and began working for The Royal Ballet School as Student Services Officer and Junior Associate teacher. From 1999 she was in charge of Senior Associates and joined the staff of The Royal Ballet School in 2001.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can participate?

These classes are recommended for students aged 11+ and reflect the training given to students aged 11-13 studying at The Royal Ballet School. The classes are not suitable for beginner students, students with limited experience or students under 11 years old.

For these classes, we recommend that:

  • Students are studying a syllabus delivered by a recognised classical dance awarding body, or if attending full-time vocational training, the method of training provided at their school.
  • Students have a good knowledge and understanding of ballet vocabulary.

What do I need to participate?

These classes are designed so that they can be executed in a smaller space than a ballet studio. We ask that students/parents ensure that:

  • The student meets the technical standards required for the class
  • Any apparatus used for a barre is stable and safe
  • The floor is not slippery, uneven or hazardous
  • The area used for dancing is cleared of any items which could hinder the student’s ability to fully extend their arms and legs. There should be enough space for reasonable movement. If a student cannot fully execute an exercise, they should either adapt appropriately or not participate
  • The student is able to clearly hear the teacher’s verbal instruction, see the teacher’s practical delivery and hear the music
  • The student is appropriately dressed to safely execute a dance class. Soft ballet shoes should be worn for ballet, not pointe shoes. Bare feet, socks or suitable shoes should be worn for contemporary and Pilates
  • The student’s hair is suitably tied back
  • The student is fit and well in order to take part.

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