Kristy Nilsson's

Ballet Terminology Page

 

 

The Nine Basic Body Positions

FRONT

croisé - crossed

à la quatrième devant - to the fourth, front

effacé - effaced or shaded

SIDE

écarté - torn apart or separated

à la seconde - to the second

écarté derrière - torn apart, back

BACK

épaulé -shoulder (also called effacé derrière)

à la quatrième derrière - to the fourth, back

croisé derrière - crossed behind

 

 

 

 

Seven Basic Movements of Dance

Jean-George Noverre, 1727-1810

 Dancer & Ballet Master

 

plier - to bend

élancer - to dart

tourner - to turn

sauter - to jump

relever - to rise

glisser - to glide

étendre - to stretch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the Barre

plié - to bend

demi - half

grand - large, full

tendu - to stretch

dégagé - to disengage

glissé - to glide

jeté - to throw

en croix - in the shape of a cross

pas de cheval - step of the horse

rond de jambe - circling the leg

à terre - on the ground

en l’air - in the air

en dehors - outward

en dedans - inward

fondue - to melt

frappé - to strike

petit battement - little beating

battement serres - tight beating

grand battement - large beating

 

 

Turns

chaînés - chains

déboulés - to tumble

détourné - to turn aside

fouetté - to whip

piqué - to prick or perch

pirouette - to whirl

soutenu - sustained

tour - turn

 

 

Centre Work

adagio - slow (Italian)

allongé - to elongate

allegro - fast (Italian)

balancé - rocking step

balançoire - like a see-saw

bourrée - bourrée is a Russian folk dance

cambré - bent

coupé - to cut

developpé - to develop

élevé - to elevate

en cloche - like a bell

épaulement - shouldering,

refers to use of torso

échappé - to escape

failli - giving away

fouetté - to whip

menège - carousel

pas de Basque - step of the Basque

pas de bourrée - bourrée step

    (the bourrée is a Russian folk dance)

pas de couru - running step

passé - to pass

penché - to lean

piqué - to prick or perch

port de bras - carriage of the arms

port de corps - carriage of the body

promenade - promenade, to take a walk

relevé - to rise

renvercé - to tip over

reverence - reverence, respect

rotacion - rotation

soutenu - sustained

tombé - to fall

temps lié - linked time or linked moment

 

Jumps

assemblé - to assemble

ballon - balloon, refers to “hang time”

ballonné - like a ball

ballotté - to toss

battu / batterie - beating

brisé - broken

brisé volé - broken and flying

cabriole - like a little goat

changement - changing

chassé - to chase

ciseaux - scissors

contra temps - counter time

entrechat ___ - intertwined __ times

trois - three

quatre - four

cinc - five

six - six

huit - eight

entrelacé - interlaced or braided

échappé sautée - to escape, jumped

emboité - boxed

fouetté sautée - to whip, jumped

garguillade - gurgling, scribbling

glissade - to glide

jeté - to throw

pas de chat -step of the cat

royale - royal  (named for King Louis XIV, who couldn’t do entrechat quatre and had to fake it.)

saut de Basque - jump of the Basque

saut de chat -jump of the cat

sauté - to jump

soubresaut - quick or sudden jump

sissionne - was named for its inventor

fermé - closed

ouverte - opened

temps de flesch - jump of the arrow

temps de poisson - jump of the fish

temps levé - lifted time or lifted moment

tour en l’air - turn in the air

tour jeté - turning throw

 

 

Positions

arabesque - Arabic

attitude - attitude

B-plus - named for Balanchine

cou de pied - neck of the foot

en face - facing front

sur le cou de pied - on the neck of the foot

retiré - to retire or withdraw

sous-sus - under-over

(or sus-sous - over-under)

 

 

Arm Positions

en bas - low

en avant - in front

en haute - high

à la seconde - to the second

 

  

 

 

 

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