Dictionary of Ballet & Dance Terms

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separated, thrown wide apart


escaping or slipping movement - a level opening of both feet from a closed to an open position

Échappé sur les pointes

Échappé on the points or toes. Fifth position R foot front. Demi-plié and, with a little spring, open the feet to the second or fourth position sur les pointes

Effacé, effacée

directions of épaulement in which the dancer stands at an oblique angle to the audience so that a part of the body is taken back and almost hidden from view


the height attained in springing steps such as entrechats, grands jetés


step of beating in which the dancer jumps into the air and rapidly crosses the legs before and behind each other (quarte=4 crosses, six = six crosses)


bringing one shoulder forward and the other back with the head turned or inclined over the forward shoulder

Exercises à la barre

group of exercises performed by the dancer while clasping a bar with one hand. Bar exercises, or side practice, are the foundation of classical ballet and are to the dancer what scales are to the pianist


used to describe the ability of a dancer to raise and hold her extended leg en l'air

Face, en

Opposite (the audience); facing the audience

Fish dive

various lifts in which the danseuse is supported by the danseur in a poisson position. He may hold her above his head in a horizontal fish dive or she may fall from a sitting position on his shoulder and be caught in a fish dive, and so on.

Fondu, fondue

sinking down - used to describe a lowering of the body made by bending the knee of the supporting leg


whipped - applied to a whipping movement. The movement may be a short whipped movement of the raised foot as it passes rapidly in front of or behind the supporting foot or the sharp whipping around of the body from one direction to another

Fouetté en tourant

large fouetté, turning

Fouetté rond de jambe en tournant

whipped circle of the leg turning - the dancer executes a series of turns on the supporting leg while being propelled by a whipping movement of the working leg

Gateway, the

first position, arms are held rounded in front of the body with the fingertips on a level with the bottom of the breastbone


a traveling step executed by gliding the working foot from the fifth position in the required direction, the other foot closing to it

Grand, grande

big, large




jump from one foot to the other in which the working leg is brushed into the air and appears to have been thrown

Jeté battu

jeté beaten

Jeté entrelacé

jeté done in all directions and in a circle. It is usually preceded by a chassé or a pas couru to give impetus to the jump

Jeté, grand

large jeté

Jeté, grand in attitude

big leap forward preceded by a preliminary movement such as a pas couru or a glissade, which gives the necessary push-off

Jeté, petit

small jeté


a system of dance notation invented by the Hungarian-born teacher Rudolf von Laban

Leçon (Class)

lesson - the daily class taken by dancers throughout their career to continue learning and to maintain technical proficiency


the outline presented by a dancer while executing steps and poses

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