Ballet Terms?

ballet terms
by zone41

Question by Marlene: Ballet Terms?
Can anybody list the complete ballet terms and the what it is. I need to practice. Thanks alot.

Best answer:

Answer by Caro
There are so many steps, positions & moves in Ballet that it’s simply not possible to list them all. As you probably know most of the terms are French – ‘tour en l’air,’ grand jete’, ‘plie’, etc. This comes from the early days of ballet at the French court. You need to find a GOOD teacher & you will pick up the terms as you learn.

Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!

2 Responses to “Ballet Terms?”

  • Yang and Tari says:

    BALLET, a form of dance with unique traditions, techniques, methods or schools of training, and a style of movement that
    distinguish it from all other theatrical dance forms. The word ballet (from the Italian ballare, meaning “to dance”) refers not only
    to a technique or style of movement but also to a company of ballet dancers and to the complete ballet production. The ballet
    production, hopefully a work of art, is traditionally defined as a synthesis of four artsdancing, drama, music, and decor.


    Adagio : Slow and sustained movements; also, the section of a pas de deux in which the ballerina, partnered by the danseur, displays her mastery of lyrical movement.

    Allegro : Fast movements.

    Aplomb : refers to stability of the position.

    Arabesque : A position in which the dancer stands on one leg with the other leg extended in a straight line to the rear. The positions of the arms and the height of the raised leg may vary.

    Attitude : A position in which the dancer stands on one leg, the other leg raised behind the body with the knee bent. A similar position, but with the leg placed in front of the body, may also be called an attitude.

    Ballerina : The principal female dancer in a company. The term is misapplied when used to designate any female dancer. A large company may have two or more ballerinas, the chief one ranked as Prima ballerina.

    Ballon : The resilience, lightness, or spring of a dancer in leaping or jumping movements.

    Battement : A kick, either high (grand battement) or low (petit battement), which may be executed in any direction.

    “battement tendu jeté (Russian school) is a battement normally taken to anywhere from 2 cm off the floor up to 45 degrees, depending on the style. It is the same as battement dégagé (Cecchetti) or battement glissé (French school).

    battement fondu is a battement (usually slower) from a fondu (both knees bent) position and extends until both legs are straight.

    battement frappé is a battement where the foot moves from a flexed position next to the other ankle, and extends out to a straight position, by doing so hitting the floor (the so-called frappé). In the Russian school the foot is wrapped around the ankle, rather than flexed and does not strike the floor.

    battement glissé is a rapid battement normally taken to 2-3 centimeters off the floor (literally means a gliding battement). See battement tendu jeté.

    battement lent a slow battement, normally taken as high as possible, which involves considerable control and strength.

    battement tendu is a battement where the extended foot never leaves the floor. The working foot slides forward or sideways from the fifth or first position to reach the forth or second position, lifting the heel off the floor and stretching the instep. It forms the preparation for many other positions, such as the ronds de jambe and pirouette positions.

    petit battement, a battement action where the bending action is at the knee, while the upper leg and thigh remain still.

    grande battement, a powerful battement action where the dancer takes the leg as high as they can, while the supporting leg remains straight.

    grande battement en cloche, a grande battement which continuously “swishes” forwards and backwards (literally in large battement with pendulum movement)It still has to turn out in ballet unless the instructor prefers not for you to turn-out. ”

    Batterie : A whole family of techniques involving jumps, where the feet cross quickly in front and behind each other, creating a flapping or “beating” effect mid-air . Any action in which the legs beat together, usually when the dancer is in air.

    Brisé: A movement similar to an assemblé. The leg that kicks forward, backward, or to the side beats and the movement travels.

    Cabriole : A batterie movement, usually for the male. One leg kicks high to the front or the back and is held in this extension until the supporting leg swiftly leaves the floor and meets the raised leg in a beat or in multiple beats.

    Chaînés : This is a common abbreviation for “tours chaînés déboulés”, which is a series of quick turns on alternating feet with progression along a straight line or circle. In classical ballet it is done on the pointes or demi-pointes (on the balls of the feet).

    Changement :Literal meaning: changing, or, to change. A jump in which the feet change positions in the air. For example, beginning in the fifth position with the right foot front, plié and jump, switching the left foot into the front and the right to the back, landing with the left foot in front, fifth position.

    Chassé : Chassé, literal meaning – to chase or to hunt. A slide with both legs bent either forwards, backwards or sideways and meeting in the air straightened. It can be done either in a gallop (like children pretending to ride a horse) or by pushing the first foot along the floor in a plie’ and springing into the air where both legs meet stretched.

    Changement de Pieds : A movement in which the dancer, starting in fifth position, jumps upward and returns to the floor in fifth position but with the position of the feet reversed. He might, for example, start with the right leg in front and conclude with the right leg in back.

    Choreographer : One who selects or invents the steps, movements, and patterns of a ballet. He must relate these motions to the music, the themeabstract or dramaticand the design of the production in order to make a ballet with form, sequence, and purpose.

    Coda : The last section of a pas de deux or of a full ballet.

    Corps de Ballet : The chorus of a ballet company; also called the ensemble.

    Croisé, croisée : Crossed. One of the directions of épaulement. The crossing of the legs with the body placed at an oblique angle to the audience. The disengaged leg may be crossed in the front or in the back. Croisé is used in the third, fourth and fifth positions of the legs (the positions that can be crossed). For example: if the front leg in third, fourth or fifth position is the right leg, and the dancer is facing the front-left corner of the stage; or if the front leg is the left, and the dancer is facing the front-right corner, then the dancer is in croisé.

    Danseur Noble : The male classical dancer, counterpart of the classical ballerina.

    Demi-Pointe : With the full weight of the body on the toes and the ball of the foot.

    Développé : The unfolding of the leg, accomplished by slowly bending and then straightening the knee as the leg is raised in an extension (to the front, side, or back) from the floor.

    The French word for the back(side). For example, a battement tendu derrière means a battement tendu taken to the back.

    [edit] Dessous
    The French word “under”. This is where the back leg is brought to the front in techniques such as the assemblé and pas de bourrée.

    Devant : The French word for the front(side).

    Divertissement : A dance without plot, or that part of a dramatic ballet composed of a series of short dances without plot.

    En Arrière : To the back.

    En Avant : To the front.

    En Dedans : Inward, toward the body.

    En Dehors : Outward, away from the body.

    Entrechat : A jump directly upward, with the body maintaining a straight line and with multiple changes of positions of feet in air. An entrechat is an elaboration of the changement de pieds.

    Effacé, effacée : Shaded. The opposite position of croise. One of the directions of épaulement in which the dancer stands at an oblique angle to the audience so that a part of the body is taken back and almost hidden from view. This direction is termed “ouvert” in the French method. Effacé is also used to qualify a pose in which the legs are open (not crossed). This pose may be taken devant or derrière, either à terre or en l’air. Example: If the the front leg is the right, and the dancer is facing the front-right corner of the stage, or if the front leg is the left and he is facing the front-left corner, he is in efface.

    Elevé : (pronounced: ay-luh-VAY) A relevé without the plié, where you go to demi or pointe from flat feet. Also called “rise” in other schools.

    Epaulement : (literally, “shouldering”) Rotation of the shoulders and head relative to the hips in a pose or a step

    Five Positions of the Feet : The five classical positions of the feet. Every ballet step or movement must begin with one of these positions and return to one of them.

    First position
    All of these photos of the positions of the feet with pointe shoes are extreme examples of the student rolling in and not “holding her arches up” and standing with the proper weight distribution on her feet. one stands with the feet heel to heel in the shape of a “-“, arms should be out like you’re holding a beachball with your hands about an inch above your belly button.

    Second position : begin with the first position but drag one of your feet to the left. So it creates the distance between ur feet.

    Third position : Cross the feet to the front and put the other behind.

    Fourth position : Position where the feet are separated by one foot’s distance, legs overlapping, the heel being placed at the toe of the other foot.

    Fifth position : Similar to Fourth position above, however the feet are touching toe to heel, legs overlapping at about the knees hands are up above your head, your arms creating an oval shape.

    Fouetté : A turn or spin on one leg, the body being propelled by a whipping motion of the free leg. It is usually performed by a female dancer.

    Glissade : A gliding step starting from fifth position, opening into second position, and closing in fifth. It may be held to the floor or used as a low leap.

    Jeté : A leap in which the dancer propels himself with a pushoff from one leg, covers space in air, and lands on the other leg.

    Pas : A step; also used to designate types of dances, as pas seul (solo) and pas de deux (dance for two).

    Pas de Bourrée : A traveling step in which the dancer may move in any direction on demi-pointe or on pointe. The calves are held as close together as possible while the dancer executes a series of swift miniature steps.

    Pas de Chat : A leap, starting from a plié in fifth position. The leading leg is drawn up with bent knee, followed almost immediately by the other leg. At the peak of the leap, both knees are bent outward to the side, and the toes are nearly touching. A gargouillade is the same movement, except that the leading leg does a rond de jamb en dehors and the following leg a rond de jamb en dedans while in air.

    Pas de Deux : A duet. A classical grand pas de deux consists of an entrée, adagio, two solosone executed by the ballerina; the other done by the danseurand a coda.

    Pirouette : A turn of the body done while standing on one leg, the other leg being held in any one of a number of traditional positions. A pirouette is done on demi-pointe by the male, on pointe by the female, dancer.

    Plié : A bending of the knees with hips, legs, and feet turned outward.

    Pointe : The tip of the toe.

    Port de Bras : The positions and movements of the arms.

    Port de bras
    “Carriage of the arms and head.” Movement of the arms in a motion around the body. The basic port de bras moves from bras bas to first position of the arms, to second position of the arms, then back down to bras bas. A full port de bras moves from bras bas to first to fifth, down through second and back to bras bas.

    Positions of the arms

    Arms in a Bolshoi fourth positionThere are two basic positions for the arms: in one, the dancer keeps the fingers of both arms almost touching to form an oval shape; in the other, the arms are extended laterally with the elbows slightly bent. These positions may be combined to give other positions; the nomenclature for the position of the arms differs according to the method followed (Vaganova, French, Cecchetti…). The following descriptions apply to the ’rounded’ positions of the arms; the corresponding allongés positions are obtained by stretching the elbows and rotating the palms of the hands downwards. A description for each school is given for better clarity.

    Vaganova (or Russian school):

    Bras bas (or preparatory position): both arms are rounded with the fingers almost touching, with both hands just in front of the dancer’s hips.
    First position: maintaining this curved oval shape, the arms are brought up so that the tips of the fingers are in line with the navel, and no higher than the sternum.
    Second position; the arms are stretched out to the side, however there is an angle of the arms down and forward, and the palms are facing forward. The elbow is slightly lower than the shoulder and the wrist is level with the elbow.
    Third position: the arms are as in the first position, but just above and slightly forward of the dancer’s head.

    French school:

    Bras bas (or ‘bras au repos’): both arms are rounded with the fingers almost touching, with both hands just in front of the dancer’s hips.
    First position: maintaining this curved oval shape, the arms are brought up so that the tips of the fingers are in line with the navel.
    Second position: the arms are stretched out to the side, however there is an angle of the arms down and forward, and the palms are facing forward. The elbow is slightly lower than the shoulder and the wrist is slightly lower than the elbow.
    Third position: one arm is in second position, while the other is rounded and raised above the head (French fifth position).
    Fourth position: one arm is in first position, while the other is rounded and raised above the head (French fifth position).
    Fifth position (or ‘bras en couronne’): both arms are rounded and held just above and slightly forward of the dancer’s head.

    Cecchetti method:

    First position: both arms are slightly rounded with the fingers almost touching, with both hands just in front of the dancer’s thighs; it is equivalent (but not identical) to the ‘preparatory position’ of the Russian and French schools.
    Second position: the arms are stretched out to the side, however there is an angle of the arms down and forward, and the palms are facing forward. The elbow is slightly lower than the shoulder and the wrist is sligtly lower than the elbow. A position intermediate between the first and the second position is called ‘demi-seconde’ (half-second position).
    Third position one arm is in the first position, while the other is in a position intermediate between the first and the second position (‘demi-seconde’).
    Fourth position: there are two forth positions. Fourth ‘en avant’ (in front): one arm is in second position, while the other is in fifth en avant. Fourth ‘en haut’ (high): one arm is in second position, while the other is in fifth position en haut.
    Fifth position: whenever the arms are rounded to form an oval shape, they are said to be in the fifth position. Therefore, there is a fifth position ‘en bas’ (down), ‘en avant’ (forward; similar to the Russian and French first position) and ‘en haut’ (high; Russian third position).

    Relevé : To rise onto pointe or demi-pointe.

    Rond de Jambe : A rotary movement of the leg. It can be done in a number of ways, such as on the floor with knee straight, or in air with a circular rotation of the knee from bent to straight.

    Sauté : A jump.

    Terre-à-Terre : Steps done on the ground.

    Tour : A turn. A pirouette is one kind of tour.

    Tour en l’Air : A turn done in air. The dancer springs upward from fifth position, makes one or more complete turns, and returns to the floor in fifth position.

    Turnout : The body positions of classical ballet in which the limbs are turned out from the hips at a 180 angle. Ballet beginners start with a less extreme turnout.

    Tutu : The fluffy skirt worn by the female dancer. In ballets of the romantic style, the tutu falls to below the calf. In the later, classical style ballet, it is short enough to reveal the legs completely.

    Variation : Usually a solo dance, or pas seul.

    Good Luck, ballerina!

  • chewy_bar_101 says:

    Adagio (Adage)
    Air, en l’
    Arriére, en
    Assemblé en tournant, grand
    Avant, en
    Ballet master, ballet mistress
    Ballonné, pas
    Battement dégagé
    Battement en cloche, grand
    Battement fondu développé
    Battement frappé
    Battement sur le cou-de-pied, petit
    Battement tendu
    Battement, grand
    Bras bas
    Bras, positions des
    Brisé volé
    Cabriole, double
    Cecchetti method
    Cecchetti, Enrico
    Centre practice
    Choreographer, choreographer
    Choreography, choreography
    Classical ballet
    Cloche, en
    Corps de ballet
    Côté, de
    Cou-de-pied position
    Coupé jeté en tournant
    Croisé, croisée
    Croix, en
    Danse de caractère
    Dedans, en
    Dehors, en
    Demi-pointes, sur les
    Diagonale, en
    Échappé sur les pointes
    Effacé, effacée
    Entrechat six
    Exercises à la barre
    Face, en
    Fish dive
    Fondu, fondue
    Fouetté en tourant
    Fouetté rond de jambe en tournant
    French School
    Gateway, the
    Grand, grande
    Italian School
    Jeté battu
    Jeté entrelacé
    Jeté, grand
    Jeté, grand in attitude
    Jeté, petit
    Leçon (Class)
    Mazurka (mazurek)
    Ouvert, ouverte
    Pas de bourrée
    Pas de bourrée couru
    Pas de chat
    Pas de deux
    Pas de deux, grand
    Pas de quatre
    Pas de trois
    Pas de valse
    Pas marché
    Penché, penchée
    Petit, petite
    Pieds, cinq postions des (Five postions of the feet)
    Pirouette à la second, grande
    Pirouette piquée
    Pointes, sur les
    Pointe shoes
    Port de bras
    Porté, portée
    Premier, première
    Promenade, tour de
    Romantic ballet
    Rond de jambe
    Rond de jambe à terre
    Rond de jambe en l’air
    Russian School
    Saut de basque
    Sauté, sautée
    Seconde, à la
    Sissonne fermée
    Sissonne ouverte, grand
    Supporting leg
    Temps lié sur les pointes
    Terre, à
    Tour de force
    Tour en l’air
    Tour jeté
    *See Jeté entrelacé
    Tournant, en
    Vaganova, Agrippina
    Working leg

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