Dictionary of Ballet & Dance Terms

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raised - raising of the body on the points or demi-pointes, point or demi-pointe


position in which the thigh is raised to the second position en l'air with the knee bent so that the pointed toe rests in front of, behind or to the side of the supporting knee.


smooth relevé from a position à terre through all the levels of the foot (quarter-point, half-point and three-quarter point) - toes do not move from the spot at which the rise began.


Poor distribution of weight on inside or outside of foot - toes and heels should be flat on the floor and the turn-out must come from the hip joints.

Romantic ballet

A style of ballet produced during the early nineteenth century in which the accent was on the conveyance of a mood to a story.

Rond de jambe

a circular movement of the leg

Rond de jambe à terre

exercise at the bar or in the centre in which one leg is made to describe a series of circular movements on the ground

Rond de jambe en l'air

exercise at the bar or in the centre in which one leg is made to describe a series of circular movements in the air


changement in which the calves are beaten together before the feet change position

Russian School

The Russian School was founded in St. Petersburg in 1738 by the French dancerJean-Baptiste Landé. During the 1 920s the Russian ballerina and teacher Agrippina Vaganova developed a planned instructional system which later became known to the whole world as the Vaganova system.

Saut de basque

traveling step in which the dancer turns in the air with one foot drawn up to the knee of the other leg

Sauté, sautée

this term is added to the name of a step when the movement is performed while jumping

Seconde, à la

the foot is to be placed in the second position, or that a movement is to be made to the second position en l'air




fault in which the dancer turns his or her foot in from the ankle, thereby breaking the straight line of the leg


jumping step which begins on two feet and lands on one



Supporting leg

used by dancers and teachers for the leg which supports the body so that the working leg is free to execute a given movement

Temps lié sur les pointes

connected movement en pointe

Terre, à

the entire base of the supporting foot or feet touches the ground

Tour de force

feat of technical skill such as a series of brilliant pirouettes or a combination of outstanding jumps and beats

Tour en l'air

turn in the air - usually a male dancer's step although contemporary choreographers use this tour for ballerinas as well

Tournant, en

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






the ability of the dancer to turn his or her feet and legs out from the hip joints to a 90-degree position


the short classical ballet skirt made of many layers of tarlatan or net -romantic tutu is a long skirt reaching below the calf

Vaganova, Agrippina

The greatest Russian teacher of her day (1879-1951).


A solo dance in a classic ballet


The dancers in a ballet who do not appear as soloists

Working leg

used by dancers and teachers to denote the leg that is executing a given movement while the weight of the body is on the supporting leg

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