Variation (also: ballet variation, fr. “variation“, from Latin “variatio” – change) is a short “solo” classical dance, usually technically complex and compositionally developed.

Most classical ballets include:

  • male variations – a number of small, technically complex steps, jumps, turns performed by principal dancers and soloists;
  • female variations – based on a variety of jumping movements, leaps, turns, including notorious “fuetes”, performed by principal ballerinas.

Female and male variations are often the culmination of the ballet performance – a chance to show dancer’s technical ability, impress the audience with the complexity of movements and execution.

The success of a performance largely depend on how talented and inventive variations are composed and performed. It is impossible to imagine, for example, “Don Quixote” without three variations of the sparkling Kitri: in the first act in the town square, in “The Dream” and in the pas de deux of the fourth act. This ballet is also unthinkable without Basil’s virtuoso variation in the final pas de deux.

The variations are performed not only by the principal dancers – usually playing the main characters of the ballet, but also by many soloists. In the same “Don Quixote” in the last act, Kitri’s friends dance a smooth, earthly variation with a waltz music, and the other, in contrast, a very expressive one with the biggest jumps.

Variations class is fundamental in the development of the future dancer.  Students improve their endurance and sense of space while learning classical variations of the repertoire.  They aslo gain knowledge of the technical and artistic styles of the different variations studied in the curriculum.