French Ballet terminology

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44 terms

adage

series of slow, connected movements, usually done in center

arabesque

working leg is extended to the back

assemblé

to jump from one foot to both feet, assembling the legs in the air

attitude

bent position of the leg, usually in the air

balancoire, en

term applied to grand battement when executed in continuous swinging motion front and back

chainés

a series of traveling turns

chassé

to chase; one foot chases the other one out of the way (slide in modern)

coupé

to cut

croisé

body at a 45 degree angle to the audience; legs are in 5th or 4th and are crossed to the audience

dégagé

to disengage; an extension of the straight leg with the foor slightly off the floor

demi plié

half bending of the knees; heels stay on the floor

développé

to develop; extending one leg into the air, going through knee flexion first

écarté

body at a 45 degree angle to the audience; legs open through 2nd

échappé sauté

to jump from both feet in a closed position to both feet in an open position, usually turned out

effacé

body at a 45 degree angle; legs are in 5th or 4th and are open to the audience

fondu

to bend the supporting leg with the other leg in a non-weight bearing position

fouetté

a whipping movement; there is a great variety of fouettés. often it is the sharp whipping action around of the body from one driection to another

grand battement

full swinging action of the extended leg as high as possible without distorting the supporting leg or the torso; front, side/ or back

grand jeté

big leap

grand plié

full bending of the knees; heels release from the floor, except in 2nd and 4th. opposite 2nd

pas de bourrée

three steps, usually back, side, front; often a transition step

pas de chat

step of the cat; a jump from one foot to the other, bending the knees as each leg leaves the floor

pas de cheval

step of the horse

passé

to pass the toe of the working foot up along the inside of the calf to the knee of the supporting leg

penché

to hinge over from the hip socket while standing on one leg; working leg can be in a variety of positions

piqué

to pick or prick; to step directly onto the ball of the foot

pirouette

stationary turn on one leg

port de bras

carriage of the arms

promenade

to change the facing of the body by slightly lifting the heel of the supporting leg and pivoting on the ball of the foot

relevé

to rise to the balls of the feet; can be done on one foot also; sometimes called élevé when it is done without the benefit of a preceding plié

renversé

there are several variations; one is that the working leg executes a rond de jambe en l'air en dedans as the body does a half turn toward the supporting leg

retiré

knee of the working leg is bent with the toe touching the knee of the supporting leg

rond de jambe

circular movement of the leg from the hip socket

en dehors

outward

en dedans

inward

à terre

on the floor

en l'air

in the air

en attitude

in attitude; supporting knee can be straight or bent

saut de basque

aerial turn leaping from one foot to the other and landing with second leg bent with foot in front of shin; turn is away from the landing foot

sauté

jumping or jumped

sissonne

a jump from two feet to one, usually closing feet at the end

soutenu

sustained; one leg pulls into the other, ending in a relevé fifth

tendu (tendue)

to stretch; to extend one foot and leg without bending the knee and ending with the tip of the toe still on the floor

tournant, en

indicates that the body is to turn while executing a given step

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