Cambre vs. Port De Bras

5:24 PM

What's a Cambré, and what's a Port de Bras?

Port de Bras is used for almost everything that involves moving the arms, even if it's not officially a port de bras. In the Vaganova method, there are specific port de bras that have names, just like first and second and fifth position have names, they have first, second, third (etc) port de bras.

Cambré means "Arched," and is when you move or arch your back. So if a teacher says "Port de bras forward," she really means "Cambré forward." Another word that can be used instead of Cambré is Port de Corps, but honestly I've never heard that used. It's one of those ballet words that exists but isn't commonly used.

Photo used with permission. 

Below is a technical report I did on Cambrés for school this semester. If you have a Scribd Account (it's free!) you can download this PDF!
Breaking Down Cambre

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  1. "Cambré forward" is what my Mistress calls "ramasé". I heard the difference is that "ramasé" is part of the terminology of contemporary dance. What do you think or know about this? By the way, thank you for your little article.

    1. Victor- I understand "ramasse" (to pick up) is the return from the cambre, to pick up from the arched/bent position of the spine back to proper alignment, often used in the French school. Ramasse can also be used when the foot is lifted to passe retire in passing. "Port de bras" or "grand port de bras" is commonly used because the bending of the body is usually accompanied by a corresponding movement of the arms; as in "epaulement" (literally "shouldering") is actually the position of the neck and head in relation to the shoulders.

  2. My ballet instructor used the term port de corps exclusivelyShe danced in NYC in the 60's and taught in Utah during the 80's.

    1. Yeah most teachers do use port de bras as a general term... in fact sometimes I find myself doing it out of habit! But technically speaking, they are two different things.

  3. Victor, nope, never heard that. I will look it though!

  4. Incredible, my teacher use cambre and port de bras always, with the correct meaning. I 'm acclimated with that word.


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