AskDefine | Define aplomb

Dictionary Definition

aplomb n : great coolness and composure under strain; "keep your cool" [syn: assuredness, cool, poise, sang-froid]

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. Self-confidence; poise; composure.
    His nonchalance and aplomb during hard times has always been his best character trait.
  2. In the context of "Ballet": the basic law of ballet - stability


Extensive Definition

In classical ballet, aplomb refers to the basic law of ballet - stability.
The French ballet master Jean-Étienne Despréaux defined it in 1806 as a specific kind of dynamic balance fundamental to all positions and movements of (classical) ballet.
A 1905 book Grammar of the Art of Dancing, Theoretical and Practical referring to Bernhard Klemm, wrote: "Aplomb is the absolute safety in rising and falling back which results from the perpendicular attitude of the upper body and the artistic placing of the feet. By means of aplomb the dancer acquires a precision and an elegance which insure the successful execution of every foot-movement, however artistic and difficult, and thereby creates a pleasing and a satisfactory impression upon the observer. Aplomb may be compared with the sureness of touch of the pianist."
Aplomb is achieved with straight body with its weight equally distributed over the supporting foot (or feet). Aplomb is controlled by feeling and controlling the muscular sensations in the spine, i.e., by "holding the back". The base of aplomb are the five positions of the feet codified by Pierre Beauchamp in 1680.
The correct set of the body influences all ballet steps, and the perfection of the aplomb requires years of training. Exercises at the barre begin the training of the stability and balance.


aplomb in German: Aplomb

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

assurance, balance, balanced personality, composure, confidence, constancy, constraint, control, cool, coolness, discipline, ease, easiness, equability, equanimity, equilibrium, erectness, fastness, firmness, homeostasis, imperturbability, independence, invariability, level head, levelheadedness, nerve, nonchalance, orthogonality, perpendicularity, plumbness, plungingness, poise, possession, precipitousness, presence of mind, reliability, restraint, right-angledness, right-angularity, rootedness, sang-froid, sangfroid, savoir faire, secureness, security, self-assurance, self-command, self-confidence, self-conquest, self-control, self-denial, self-discipline, self-government, self-mastery, self-possession, self-restraint, sheerness, solidity, soundness, squareness, stability, stable equilibrium, stable state, steadfastness, steadiness, steady nerves, steady state, steepness, substantiality, undeflectability, uniformity, unshakable nerves, unshakableness, up-and-downness, uprightness, verticalism, verticality, verticalness, well-regulated mind
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