BASIC BALLET TERMINOLOGY

To see these moves in action please click on this "live" ballet terminology LINK

Ballet Barre

First Position: Heels together, feet turned out from the hips

First position arms: Hands in a circle in front of chest          

Second Position: Feet  side by side @ 24" apart

Second position arms: Arms to the side

Fourth Position: Feet one in front of the other @ 12" apart

Fourth position arms: One arm high, the other arm to the side 

Fifth Position: Feet crossed over each with heel of one at the joint of the big toe of the other

Fifth position arms: Both arms up high

Plié: Bend of the knees

Relevé: A rise on the toes

Piqué: A push onto a balance on the toes of one foot

Tendu: Brush of the foot along the floor to an extension of the ankle

Degagé: Brush of the foot along the floor till it comes off @ 1"

Rond de Jambe: A circle of the working leg

Frappé: A quick brush of the floor with the ball of the foot

Fondue: A slow bending or "melting" of the standing and working leg

Grands Battements: Big brushes or kicks

 

Center Work

Adage: A slow combination to test extension and balance

Port de bras: Movement of the arms and sometimes the torso

Pas de bourrée: Quick crossing steps that combine plies and releves

Temps lié: A transfer of weight from one leg to the other through plie

Chassé: A deep slide to transfer weight

Balancé: A down-up-down waltz step

En Face: Facing the audience or front

Croisé: Facing the corner with downstage leg covering the upstage leg

Attitude: With bent working leg in the air

Arabesque: When working leg is behind

Developé: An extension of the working leg in the air

Pirouette: A turn on one standing leg

Retiré or Passé: When toe of the working leg is touching the knee of the standing leg

Spotting: Choosing one focus point to look at while turning

En dehors (outside) turns: Turning away from the standing leg or "backwards"

En dedans (inside) turns: Turning toward the standing leg or "forwards"

Soutenu turn: Legs crossed in releve fifth untwist and twist up the other way

Promenade: Lifting the heel of the standing leg to slowly turn, a held position, around in a circle

 

 

Jumps

Jeté: A jump that takes off of one foot and lands on the other foot. Can be done as a leap.

Glissade: A gliding leap that travels close to the floor

Temps levé: A hop on one foot (landing on that same foot)

Assemblé: One foot brushes out then the other foot hops. Both legs come together in the air before landing at the same time.

Sissone: A jump from two feet, travelling and landing on one foot

 

Across the Floor

Waltz step: A down-up-up step that travels forward or backward

Pas de Chat: Jump of the Cat. One foot lifts to retire quickly followed by the other so that there is a moment of suspension in the air

Piqué turns:  Inside turns on the toes of one foot

Sauté: A step and hop off one foot

Fouetté: A hop with a turn away from the leg extended in the air

Chassé: A sliding/galloping stepiding leap that travels close to the floor

Temps levé: A hop off one foot (landing on the same foot)