Understanding the meaning of the terms used in Ballet, along with their correct spelling and pronunciation, helps dancers to better understand the movement and quality of movement essential to correct execution of ballet technique.
Alignment -- Body parts are stacked vertically and 'lifted' (i.e.: ankles pull up out of feet; calves pull up out of ankles; knees pull up out of calves; thighs pull up out of knees; hips pull up out of thighs; waist pulls up out of hips; chest pulls up out of waist; and head pulls up out of chest). The pelvis is centered and in a straight line with the back. The legs are turned-out at the hips, weight is slightly forward over the balls of the feet, and knees point out over the toes. Feet do not roll inward or outward. Shoulders are held down and the arms are rounded from the shoulder to the fingertips.
Plié -- Bend
Basic Exercise turns out legs and develops the tendons and muscles of the thighs, calves, ankles, and feet, increasing -flexibility and strength in the achilles tendon. The spring-like action of demi-plié is essential to all jumping movements as preparation before jumping upward and upon return of feet to the floor.
Demi -- Half or Small; Grande -- Large or Full
Port de bras -- Carriage of the arms.
-- A movement or series of movements made by passing the arm or arms from one position to another.
Cambré -- Arched
Tendu-- Stretch -- Strengthens and turns out legs and feet and develops inst,
Dégagé -- Disengage -- Foot and leg is fully stretched and slightly off the floor.
-- Develops speed and precision in movement of legs and feet.
En Croix -- In the shape of a cross.
Ronde de jambe -- Circle of the leg.
– Facilitates rotary movement of legs from the hips and flexibility in ankles and insteps.
À terre -- on the ground;
En l'air -- In the air
En dehors -- outside (front, side, back); En dedans -- inside (back, side, front)
Temps lié -- Connecting movement.
Frappé -- Strike
Sur le cou-de-pied -- on the neck of the foot (ankle)
Passé -- Pass
-- Toe of working leg touches knee of standing leg as it passes one position to another. (also a position for pirouettes)
Développé -- Develop -- Leg stretches from passe to en l'air position to the front, side, or back.
Arabesque -- Design taken from a Moorish ornament (French Curve). -- Leg is en l'air to the back.
Attitude -- Position with leg, en l'air with the knee bent. Originally taken from a statue of mercury with the leg to the back.
Fondu -- Melt -- Plie with leg en l'afr bending and foot coming to ankle of supporting leg.
Relevé -- Raise -- One or both heels raised fully, weight supported by toes and ball of foot.
Petits Battements -- Small beats. Foot is Sur le cou-de-pied and beats front and back.
Grandes Battements -- Large heats. Stretched leg is raised high and lowered to first or fifth position.
Adagio -- Slow -- Slow, unstrained, leisurely movement.
Eight Basic Positions of the Body:
croisé devant; à la quatrième devant;, écarté devant; éffacé devant;
à la seconde; éffacé derrière (épaulé); à la quatrième derrière; croisé derrière.
Croisé -- Crossed
Devant – Front
Derrière -- Rear
Écarté -- Separated, thrown wide apart
À la quatrième -- to fourth position
À la seconde -- to second position
Éffacé -- shaded
Épaulé -- Shaded
Chassé -- Chase
Glissade -- Glide
Pas de Chat -- Step of the Cat
Pas de Bourrée -- Bourree step
Jeté – Throw
Assemblé -- assemble
Piqué -- Prick -- Stepping onto a pointed foot.
Sous-sus -- Under-over. Feet tight together in releve.
Soutenu – Sustained
Soutenu en tournant – sustained while turning -A turn in sous-sus position.
Soubresaut - A springing jump from 5th position, usually travelling forward or backward with the legs tight together in the air.
Balancé -- Rocking step -- waltz (triplet)
Échappé -- Escape
Retiré -- Withdrawn
Sauté -- Jump
Sissonne -- A jump from two feet to one - Named for its originator where the legs begin closed and open in the air.
Pirouette -- Whirl or spin.
Spotting -- Movement of the head to maintain focus during turns.
Chainé -- Chains -- a series of turns in first position releve.
Changé -- Changed
Changement -- Changing -- Jump from fifth pos., going through first pos. in the air and closing in fifth, changing the front foot to the back and vice versa.
Cabriole -- Caper -- Saute with legs beating.
Penché, penchee -- leaning, inclining
Promenade, en -- in a walk
Pas de cheval -- horse's step
Contretemps -- counter beating
Failli – failing; giving way
Entrechat -- interweaving or braiding
Ballonné -- bounced, ball like
Épaulment -- shouldered – use of the head
Fermé -- closed
Fouetté – whipped
Ouvert, ouverte -- open
Pas de basque -- Basque step
Temps levé -- time raised, raising movement
Tour -- turn
Coupé -- cut, cutting
Révérance -- Reverence - curtsey, bow.
Performed at end of class as a show of respect to the: art of Ballet; teacher; accompanist; classmates; partner; audience.
Temple Terrace Ballet