ThePerforming Arts CenterofTemple Terrace

Home of Temple Terrace Ballet

♦ Location: 10630 N. 56th St., Suite 211

Contact: Lee – 813-767-6849;

Ballet Terminology

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.