Ballet Terminology & Video Tutorials

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The ABC’s of Ballet

Ballet Terminology & Description

Term  Pronunciation Description
À la quatrième (French pronunciation: [a la katʁijɛm]) One of the directions of body, facing the audience (en face), arms in second position, with one leg extended either to fourth position in front (quatrième devant) or fourth position behind (quatrième derrière).
A la seconde (French pronunciation: [a la səɡɔ̃d]) A position of the leg to the side or a movement with the leg held to the side in second position, as in a pirouette à la seconde, in which a dancer turns with the working leg à la hauteur (‘elevated’) in second position. Also, one of the directions of the body, facing the audience (i.e. en face), arms in second position, with one leg extended to second position.
À terre (French pronunciation: [a tɛʁ]) Touching the floor.
Adage, Adagio [French: a-DAHZH] Adage is a French word derived from the Italian ad agio, meaning at ease or leisure. English ballet teachers use “adage,” the French adaptation, while Americans prefer the original Italian. In dancing it has two meanings: (1) A series of exercises following the centre practice, consisting of a succession of slow and graceful movements which may be simple or of the most complex character, performed with fluidity and apparent ease. These exercises develop a sustaining power, sense of line, balance and the beautiful poise which enables the dancer to perform with majesty and grace. The principal steps of adagio are pliés, développés,  grand fouetté en tournant, dégagés,  grand rond de jambe, rond de jambe en l’air, coupés, battements tendus, attitudes, arabesques, preparations for pirouettes and all types of pirouettes. (2) The opening section of the classical pas de deux, in which the ballerina assisted by her male partner, performs the slow movements and enlèvements in which the danseur lifts, supports or carries the danseuse. The danseuse thus supported exhibits her grace, line and perfect balance while executing développés,  pirouettes, arabesques and so on, and achieves combinations of steps and poses which would be impossible without the aid of her partner.
Air, en l’ [ahn lehr] In the air. Indicates:  (1) that a movement is  to be made in the air;  for example,  rond de jambe en l’air;  (2)  that the working leg,  after being opened to  the second or fourth  position à  terre, is to be raised  to a horizontal  position with the toe  on the level of the  hip.
Allégro [a-lay-GROH; Italian: al-LAY-groh] Brisk, lively. A term applied to all bright and brisk movements. All steps of elevation such as the entrechat, cabriole,  assemblé, jeté and so on, come under this classification. The majority of dances, both solo and group, are built on allegro. The most important qualities to aim at in allégro are lightness, smoothness and ballon.
Allongé (Italian pronunciation: [alˈleːɡro]; meaning ‘happy’) Brisk, lively motion. An attribute of many movements, including those in which a dancer is airborne (e.g., assemblé, changement, entrechat, sauté, sissonne, soubresaut).
Aplomb The apparent elegance and precision exhibited by a confident, accomplished dancer.
Arabesque [a-ra-BESK] One of the basic poses in  ballet, arabesque takes its  name from a form of Moorish  ornament. In ballet it is a  position of the body, in  profile, supported on one leg,  which can be straight or  demi-plié, with the  other leg extended behind and  at right angles to it, and the  arms held in various harmonious  positions creating the longest  possible line from the  fingertips to the toes. The  shoulders must be held square  to the line of direction. The  forms of arabesque are varied  to infinity. The  Cecchetti method uses five  principal  arabesques; the Russian School  (Vaganova), four; and the  French School, two. Arabesques  are generally used to conclude  a phrase of steps, both in the slow movements of adagio and  the brisk, gay movements of  allégro.
Arrière, en [ah na-RYEHR] Backward. Used to indicate that a step is executed moving away from the audience. As, for example, in glissade en arrière.
Arrondi (French pronunciation: [aʁɔ̃di]; meaning ’rounded’) A position of the hand. Rounded, in contrast with allongé (‘stretched out’, as in arabesque).
Assemblé [a-sahn-BLAY] Assembled or joined together. A step in which the working foot slides well along the ground before being swept into the air. As the foot goes into the air the dancer pushes off the floor with the supporting leg, extending the toes. Both legs come to the ground simultaneously in the fifth position. If an assemblé is porté it requires a preparatory step such as a glissade to precede it. If an assemblé is en tournant it must be preceded by a preparatory step. Assemblés are done petit or grand according to the height of the battement and are executed dessus, dessous, devant,  derrière, en avant, en arrière and en tournant. They may be done en face, croisé, effacé or écarté.  Assemblé may also be done with a beat for greater  brilliance. In the Cecchetti  assemblé both knees are bent and drawn up after the battement so that the flat of the toes of both feet meet while the body is in the air.
Assemblé en tournant, grand [grahn ta-sahn-BLAY ahn toor-NAHN] Big assemblé, turning. This assemblé is done in the same manner as grand assemblé. It is taken only dessus or derrière. It is traveled directly to the side, on a diagonal traveling upstage, in a circle, etc. It is usually preceded by a pas couru or a chassé. The battement at 90 degrees to the second position is taken facing upstage, then the dancer completes the turn en dedans and finishes the assemblé facing the audience.
Attitude [a-tee-TEWD] A particular pose in dancing  derived by Carlo Blasis from  the statue of Mercury by  Giovanni da Bologna. It is a  position on one leg with the  other lifted in back, the  knee bent at an angle of 90  degrees and well turned out  so that the knee is higher  than the foot. The supporting  foot may be à terre,  sur la pointe or  sur la demi-pointe. The arm on the  side of the raised leg is  held over the head in a  curved position while the  other arm is extended to the  side. There are a number of  attitudes according to the  position of the body in  relation to the  audience.
Avant, en [ah na-VAHN] Forward. A direction for the execution of a step. Used to indicate that a given step is executed moving forward, toward the audience. As, for example, in glissade en avant.
Balancé [ba-lahn-SAY] Rocking step. This step is very much like a pas de valse and is an alternation of balance, shifting the weight from one foot to the other. Balancé may be done crossing the foot either front or back. Fifth position R foot front. Demi-plié,  dégagé the R foot to the second position and jump on it lightly in  demi-plié, crossing the L foot behind the R ankle and inclining the head and body to the right. Step on the L demi-pointe behind the R foot, slightly lifting the R foot off the ground; then fall on the R foot again in demi-plié with the L foot raised sur le cou-de-pied derrière.  The next balancé will be to the left side. Balancé may also be done en avant or en arrière facing croisé or effacé and en tournant.
Balançoire (French pronunciation: [balɑ̃swaʁ]; ‘swing [children’s toy]’) Swinging the working leg between front (devant) and back (derrière) through first position, usually in conjunction with grands battements or attitudes and involving seesaw like shifting of the upper body in opposition to the legs. Similar to en cloche.
Ballerina [bahl-lay-REE-rlah (Italian)] A principal female dancer in a  ballet company. In the days of  the Russian Imperial Theatres  the title was given to the  outstanding soloists who danced  the chief classical roles. At  the Maryinski Theatre in St.  Petersburg the ballet company  consisted of ballerinas,  premiers danseurs, first and  second soloists, coryphees and  corps de  ballet.
Ballerino (Italian) A principal male ballet dancer.
Ballet (bah-lay’) From the Italian ballare, to dance.
Ballet master, ballet mistress The person in a ballet company  whose duty is to give the daily  company class and to rehearse  the ballets in the company  repertoire.
Ballet technique The foundational principles of body movement and form used in ballet.
Balletomane A ballet fan or enthusiast. The  word was invented in Russia in  the early nineteenth  century.
Ballon [ba-LAWN] Bounce. Ballon is the light,  elastic quality in jumping in  which the dancer bounds up from  the floor, pauses a moment in  the air and descends lightly  and softly, only to rebound in  the air like the smooth  bouncing of a  ball.
Ballonné, pas [pah ba-law-NAY] Ball-like or bouncing step. A step in which the dancer springs into the air extending one leg to the front, side or back and lands with the extended leg either sur le cou-de-pied or retiré. There are two kinds of ballonné:  ballonné simple, which may be performed petit or grand; and ballonné compose, which is a compound step consisting of three movements.  Ballonné may be executed in all the directions of the  body.
Ballotté [ba-law-TAY] Tossed. This step consists of coupé dessous and coupé dessus performed in a series with a rocking, swinging movement. The step may be performed with straight knees at 45 degrees or with développés at 90 degrees. The direction of the body is effacé  with the body inclining backward or forward with each change of weight. In the Russian School, ballotté is performed traveling forward on ballotté en avant and backward on ballotté  en arrière to the place from which the first jump began. In the French School and the Cecchetti method, ballotté is performed on one spot.
Barre [bar] The horizontal wooden bar  fastened to the walls of the  ballet classroom or rehearsal  hall which the dancer holds for  support. Every ballet class  begins with exercises at the  bar. See  Exercices à la  barre.
Battement [bat-MAHN] Beating. A beating action  of the extended or bent  leg. There are two types of  battements,  grands battements and  petits  battements. The petis  battements are:  Battements tendus,  dégagés,  frappés and tendus  relevés: stretched,  disengaged, struck and  stretched-and- lifted .
Battement dégagé [bat-MAHN day-ga-ZHAY] Disengaged battement. A term of the Cecchetti method. The battement  dégagé is similar to the battement tendu but is done at twice  the speed and the working  foot rises about four inches  from the floor with a well-pointed toe, then slides back into the the first or fifth position.  Battements dégagés  strengthen the toes, develop  the instep and improve the  flexibility of the ankle joint. Same as battement tendu jeté (Russian School), battement  glissé (French School).
Battement en cloche, grand [grahn bat-MAHN ahn klawsh] Large battement like a bell. A term of the French School and the Cecchetti method. Grands battements en cloche are continuous  grands battements executed from the fourth position front or back en l’air to the fourth position back or front en l’air, passing through the first position. Same as grand battement jeté  balancé, but the body  remains upright as the leg  swings.
Battement fondu développé [bat-MAHN fawn-DEW dayv-law-PAY] Battement, sinking down, developed. This is an exercise in which the supporting leg is slowly bent in fondu with the working foot pointing on the ankle. As the supporting leg is straightened, the working leg unfolds and is extended to point on the floor or in the air. The movement is done devant, derrière and à la seconde. In fondu forward, the conditional position sur le cou-de-pied devant is used. In fondu back, the basic position sur le cou-de-pied  derrière is used.
Battement frappé [bat-MAHN fra-PAY] Struck battement. An exercise in which the dancer  forcefully extends the working leg from a cou-de-pied position to the front, side or back. This exercise strengthens the toes and insteps and develops the power of  elevation. It is the basis of the allegro step, the jeté.
Battement sur le cou-de-pied, petit [puh-TEE bat-MAHN sewr luh koo-duh-PYAY] Small battement on the ankle. This is an exercise at the bar in which the working foot is held sur le cou-de-pied and the lower part of the leg moves out and in, changing the foot from sur le cou-de-pied devant to sur le cou-de-pied derrière and vice versa. Petits battements are executed with the supporting foot à terre, sur la demi-pointe or sur la  pointe.
Battement tendu [bat-MAHN tahn-DEW] Battement stretched. A battement tendu is the commencing portion and ending portion of a grand battement and is an exercise to force the insteps well outward. The working foot slides from the first or fifth  position to the second or  fourth position without lifting the toe from the ground. Both knees must be kept straight. When the foot reaches the position pointe tendue, it then returns to the first or fifth position. Battements  tendus may also be done with a demi-plié in the first or fifth position. They should be practiced en  croix.
Battement, grand [grahn bat-MAHN] Large battement. An exercise in which the working leg is raised from the hip into the air and brought down again, the accent being on the downward movement, both knees straight. This must be done with apparent ease, the rest of the body remaining quiet. The function of grands battements is to  loosen the hip joints and  turn out the legs from the  hips. Grands battements can  be taken devant, derrière and à la seconde.
Batterie (French pronunciation: [batʁi]) A movement in which the feet quickly pass each other, back to front, creating a flapping or “beating” effect, often performed in connection with jumps and turns.
Battu [ba-TEW] Beaten. Any step embellished  with a beat is called a pas  battu. As, for example, in  jeté  battu.
Bourrée (French pronunciation: [buʁe]) Abbreviation for pas de bourrée couru. Quick, even movements, often en pointe, giving the appearance of gliding. The word originates from an old French dance resembling the gavotte
Bras [brah] Arms.
Bras bas [brah bah] Arms low or down. This is the  dancer’s “attention.”  The arms form a circle with the  palms facing each other and the  back edge of the hands resting  on the thighs. The arms should  hang quite loosely but not  allowing the elbows to touch  the  sides.
Bras croisés (French pronunciation: [bʁa kʁwaze]; literally ‘crossed arms’) Arm placement in which one arm is extended in second position away from the audience while the other is curved in first position (Cecchetti fourth position en avant or RAD/French third position).
Bras, positions des [paw-zee-SYAWN day brah] Positions of the arms. Although  the positions of the feet are  standard in all methods, the  positions of the arms are not,  each method having its own set  of arm positions. The  Cecchetti method has  five standard  positions with a derivative of  the fourth position and two  derivatives of the fifth  position. The French School has  a preparatory position and five  standard positions. These  positions are used in some  Russian schools. The  Russian School  (Vaganova) has a  preparatory position and three  standard positions of the  arms.
Bravura (Italian pronunciation: [braˈvuːra]) A flashy, showy and elaborate style of dance that involves a lot of elaborate steps and style to similar music. Usually during a key solo.
Brisé [bree-ZAY] Broken, breaking. A small beating step in which the movement is broken. Brisés are commenced on one or two feet and end on one or two feet. They are done dessus, dessous, en avant and en arrière. Fundamentally a brisé is an assemblé beaten and traveled. The working  leg brushes from the fifth position to the second position so that the point of the foot is a few inches off the ground, and beats in front of or behind the other leg, which has come to meet it; then both feet return to the ground simultaneously in demi-plié in the fifth position.
Brisé volé [bree-ZAY vaw-LAY] Flying brisé. In this brisé the dancer finishes on one foot after the beat, the other leg crossed either front or back. The foundation of this step is a fouetté movement with a jeté battu. In the Russian and French Schools the raised leg finishes sur le cou-de-pied devant or derrière and the brisé volé is done like a jeté battu. In the Cecchetti method, the working foot passes through the first position to the fourth position, the calves are beaten together and on alighting the free leg is extended forward or back with a straight knee.
Cabriole [ka-bree-AWL] Caper. An allegro step in which the extended legs are beaten in the air. Cabrioles are divided into two categories: petite, which are executed at 45 degrees, and grande, which are executed at 90 degrees. The working leg is thrust into the air, the underneath leg follows and beats against the first leg, sending it higher. The landing is then made on the underneath leg. Cabriole may be done devant,  derrière and à la seconde in any given  position of the body such as croisé, effacé, écarté,  etc.
Cabriole, double [DOO-bluh ka-bree-AWL] Double cabriole. This is a cabriole in which one leg strikes the other in the air two or more times  before landing.
Cambré (French pronunciation: [kɑ̃bʁe]; literally ‘arched.’) A bending at the waist in any direction, forward, backward, or to the side.
Cavalier The male partner of the  ballerina
Cecchetti method Enrico Cecchetti, one of the  world’s outstanding teachers of  ballet, established a system of  passing on the tradition of  ballet to future generations of  dancers. This system, the  Cecchetti method, was codified  and recorded by Cyril Beaumont,  Stanislas Idzikowski, Margaret  Craske and Derra de Moroda. The  method has a definite program  of strict routine and includes  a table of principal set daily  exercises for each day of the  week. The Cecchetti Society was  formed in London in 1922 to  perpetuate his method of  teaching. In 1924 the Society  was incorporated into the  Imperial Society of Teachers of  Dancing. Entrance to the  Society is by examination and  students must pass through a  carefully graded system which  has done much to raise the  standard of dancing and  teaching throughout the British  Empire.
Cecchetti, Enrico [en-REE-koh cheh-KET-tee] This Italian dancer and ballet  master (1850-1928) was born in  Rome, son of Cesare Cecchetti  and Serafina Casagli. He  studied with Giovanni Lepri,  who was a pupil of the great  Carlo Blasis, and made his  debut at La Scala, Milan, in  1870. He toured Europe as a  premier danseur and made his  debut at the Maryinski Theatre,  St. Petersburg, in 1887. He  accepted the position of second  ballet master at the Maryinski  Theatre in 1890 and two years  later became instructor at the  Imperial School. His pupils  included Pavlova, Nijinsky,  Karsavina, Fokine,  Preobrajenska, Kchessinska and  Egorova. In 1902 he left for  Warsaw, where he became  director of the Imperial  School, and in 1905 returned to  Italy. Returning to Russia, he  opened a-private school and  later became the private tutor  of Anna Pavlova, touring the  world with her. From 1909 to  1918 he was the official  instructor to the Diaghilev  Ballet Company. From 1918 until  1923 he had a private school in  London. He then returned to  Italy and became ballet master  at La Scala in 1925. He devoted  the rest of his life to  teaching and perfecting his  teaching  methods.
Centre practice Centre practice, or exercices  au milieu, is the name given to  a group of exercises similar to  those à la barre but  performed in the centre of the  room without the support of the  bar. These exercises are  usually performed with  alternate feet and are  invaluable for obtaining good  balance and  control.
Chaînés [sheh-NAY] Chains, links. This is an abbreviation of the term “tours chaînés  déboulés”:  a series of rapid turns on  the points or demi-pointes  done in a straight line or  in a circle.
Changement de pieds [shahnzh-MAHN duh pyay] Change of feet. The term is usually abbreviated to changement. Changements are springing steps in the fifth position, the dancer changing feet in the air and alighting in the fifth position with the opposite  foot in the front. They are  done petit and grand.
Chassé [sha-SAY] Chased. A step in which one foot literally chases the other foot out of its position; done in a series.
Choreographer, choregrapher This is the term applied to one  who composes or invents ballets  or  dances.
Cinq [senk] Five. As, for example, in  entrechat  cinq.
Cinquième [sen-KYEM] Fifth. As in cinquième  arabesque.
Classic  (klas’ik)  In ballet, classic applies to a rigorous basic vocabulary of steps and movements capable of infinite variations and a system of instruction that makes such variation possible for individual dancers.
Classical ballet (1) The traditional style of  ballet, which stresses the  academic technique developed  through the centuries of the  existence of  ballet.
(2) A ballet in which the style  and structure adhere to the  definite framework established  in the nineteenth century.  Examples of classical ballets  are Coppélia, The  Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker  and Swan  Lake.
Cloche, en [ahn klawsh] Like a bell. Refers to  grands battements executed  continuously devant and  derrière through the  first position. See  Battement en cloche,  grand.
Coda (1) The finale of a classical  ballet in which all the  principal dancers appear  separately or with their  partners.
(2) The final dance of the  classic pas de deux, pas de  trois or pas de  quatre.
Corps [kawr] Body.
Corps de ballet [kawr duh ba-LAY] The dancers in a ballet who do  not appear as  soloists
Coryphée (French pronunciation: [kɔʁife]) In some systems, a dancer of higher rank than a member of the corps de ballet, performing in small ensembles and small solo roles but not ranked as a soloist.
Côté, de [duh koh-TAY] Sideways. Used to indicate  that a step is to be made  to the side, either to the  right or to the  left.
Cou-de-pied, sur le [sewr luh koo-duh-PYAY] On the “Neck” of the foot. The working foot is placed on the part of the leg between the base of the calf and the beginning of the ankle.
Coupé (French pronunciation: [kupe]; meaning ‘cut.’) Coupé is both a step and action. It is commonly executed from cou-de-pied front to cou-de-pied back or vice versa. It may also be done from an extended leg position into fondu or directly through fifth position (as in concluding a jeté). Coupé can only be performed through a closed leg position. The Vaganova School rarely uses the term coupé except as the preparation for specific allegros. Rather, “tombé through fifth position” is more commonly used.[4] In the United States, “coupé” may be used to denote the position cou-de-pied, not unlike “passé” is used to denote the position retiré in addition to the action of passing through retiré.
Coupé jeté en tournant [koo-PAY zhuh-TAY ahn toor-NAHN] A compound step consisting of a coupé dessous making a three-quarter turn and a grand jeté en avant to complete the turn. The step is usually done in a series either en manège or en  diagonale.
Couru [koo-REW] Running. As, for  example, in  pas de bourrée  couru.
Croisé, croisée [kmJah-ZAY] Crossed. One of the directions  of épaulement. The  crossing of the legs with the  body placed at an oblique angle  to the audience. The disengaged  leg may be crossed in the front  or in the  back.
Croix, en [ahn krwah] In the shape of a cross.  Indicates that an exercise  is to be executed to the  fourth position front, to  the second position and to the fourth position back,  or vice versa. As, for  example, in  battements tendus  en croix.
D’ici-de là (deh-see’-deh-lah’)  To move from ‘here’ to ‘there’. So if your leg was off the floor for example at 45 degrees, you would move the leg to the side, then back to the front.
Danse [dahnss] Dance.
Danse de caractère [dahnss duh ka-rak-TEHR] Dance of character, character  dance. Any national or folk  dance, or a dance based on  movements associated with a  particular profession, trade,  personality or mode of  living. See Mazurka and  Polonaise.
Danseur (French: [dɑ̃sœʁ]) A male ballet dancer.
Danseur noble (French: [dɑ̃sœʁ nɔbl]) A highly accomplished male ballet dancer.
Danseuse (French: [dɑ̃søz]) A female ballet dancer.
De (deh)  This means – to – or – of.
Déboulé (French pronunciation: [debule]); literally ‘hurtled,’ as in ‘with great speed.’) Another name denoting the same move as a chaîné (i.e. les tours chaînés déboulés). A fast sequence of half turns performed by stepping onto one leg, and completing the turn by stepping onto the other, performed on the balls of the feet or high on the toes, with the legs held very close together. These can be performed in a circle (en manège) or in a straight line (chaîné).
Dedans, en [ahn duh-DAHN] Inward. In steps and exercises the term en dedans indicates that the leg, in a position à terre or en l’air, moves in a circular direction, counterclockwise from back to front. As, for example, in rond de jambe à terre en dedans. In pirouettes the term indicates that a pirouette is made inward toward the supporting leg.
Dégagé (French pronunciation: [deɡaʒe]; ‘disengaged.’) Common abbreviation for battement dégagé, the foot of the working leg sharply brushes through the floor through tendu pointed in the air 45 degrees or lower. Dégagé is part of the (initiating) execution of jumps such as jeté, assemblé, brisé, and glissade. Primarily a Cecchetti/RAD term, this is known as battement tendu jeté in the Russian School or battement glissé in the French School.
Dehors, en [ahn duh-AWR] Outward. In steps and exercises the term en dehors indicates that the leg, in a position à terre or en l’air, moves in a circular direction, clockwise. As, for example, in rond de jambe à terre en dehors. In pirouettes the term indicates that a pirouette is made outward toward the working  leg.
Demi (French pronunciation: [dəmi]; meaning ‘half.’) Applied to plié, pointe, and other movements or positions to indicate a smaller or lesser version.
Demi-détourné (French pronunciation: [dəmi detuʁne]) A pivoted half turn executed on both feet. For example, if starting right foot front in 5th position, demi-plié and then relevé onto demi-pointe while pivoting a half turn inwards/en dedans towards the direction of the back foot (here left). The feet will have now changed position with the left foot in front in 5th position. Plié and straighten the legs.
Demi-plié [duh-MEE-plee-AY] Half-bend of the knees. All steps of elevation begin and end with a demi-plié. See Plié.
Demi-pointes (French pronunciation: [dəmi pwɛ̃t]) Supporting one’s body weight on the balls of one or both feet, heels raised off the floor.
Demi-pointes, sur les [sewr lay duh-mee-PWENT] On the half-points.  Indicates that the dancer  is to stand high on the  balls of the feet and  under part of the toes.  Also used in the singular,  “sur la  demi-pointe.”
Demi-ronds (deh-mee’-rohn) This means a half-circle. To move the leg either at 45 or 90 degrees off the floor, moving it from the front to the side, from the side to the back.
Deh-rehy’-her (deh-rehy’-her) This means ‘Back’.
Derrière [deh-RYEHR] Behind, back. This term may  refer to a movement, step or  placing of a limb in back of  the body. In reference to a particular step, the addition  of derrière implies  that the working foot is  closed at the  back.
Dessous [duh-SOO] Under. Indicates that the working foot passes behind the supporting foot. As, for example, in  pas de bourrée dessous.
Dessus [duh-SEW] Over. Indicates that the working foot passes in front of the supporting foot. As, for example, in pas de bourrée dessus.
Deux [duh] Two.
Deuxième [duh-ZYEM] Second.
Devant [duh-VAHN] In front. This term may refer  to a step, movement or the  placing of a limb in front of  the body. In reference to a  particular step the  addition of the word  “devant” implies that  the working foot is closed in  the  front.
Développé, temps [tahn dayv-law-PAY] Time developed, developing movement. Through common usage the term has become abridged to développé. A développé is a movement in which the  working leg is drawn up to the knee of the supporting leg and slowly extended to an open position en l’air and held there with perfect control. The hips are kept level and square to the direction in which the dancer is facing.
Diagonale, en [ahn dya-gaw-NAL] In a diagonal. Indicates  that a step is to be done traveling in a diagonal  direction.
Divertissement [dee-vehr-tees-MAHNLAY] Diversion, enjoyment. A suite  of numbers called “entrées,”  inserted into a classic  ballet. These short dances are  calculated to display the  talents of individuals or  groups of  dancers.
Divisés en quarts (deh-vee-say’ ahn kar) To move on one leg, whilst extending the other. This changes the position of the body and leg with one quarter turn.
Dix (deess)  This means ten.
Double [DOO-bluh] Double. As, for example, in  pirouette double (a double  pirouette).
Écarté [ay-har-TAY] Separated, thrown wide apart.  Écarté is one of  the eight directions of the  body, Cecchetti method. In this  position the dancer faces  either one of the two front  corners of the room. The leg  nearer the audience is pointed  in the second position  à terre or raised to  the second  position en l’air. The torso is  held perpendicular. The arms  are held en attitude with the  raised arm being on the same  side as the extended  leg.
Échappé [ay-sha-PAY] Escaping or slipping movement. An échappé is a level opening of both feet  from a closed to an open position. There are two kinds of échappés:  échappé sauté, which is done with a spring from the fifth position and finishes in a demi-plié in the open position, and  échappé sur les pointes, or demi-pointes, which is done with a relevé and has straight knees when in the open position. In each  case échappés  are done to the second or  fourth position, both feet traveling an equal distance  from the original center of  gravity.
Échappé sur les pointes [ay-sha-PAY sewr lay pwent] 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. The feet should glide rapidly to the open position and both feet must move evenly. On reaching the open position both knees must be held taut. With a little spring return to the fifth position in demi-plié. If the échappé is done in the second position the R foot may be closed either front or back. In échappé to the fourth position facing en face, croisé or effacé, the movement is done from the fifth position to the fourth position without change.
Effacé, effacée [eh-fa-SAY] Shaded. One of the 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.  This direction is termed  “ouvert” in the  French method. Effacé is  also used to qualify a pose in  which the legs are open (not  crossed). This pose may be  taken devant or  derrière, either  à terre or en  l’air.
Élévation [ay-lay-va-SYAWN] Élévation is the  ability of a dancer to attain  height in dancing. It is a term  used to describe the height  attained in springing steps  such as entrechats,  grands jetés  and so on,  combined with ballon so that  the dancer jumps with a  graceful elasticity like the  bouncing movement of a rubber  ball which touches the ground a  moment and then rebounds into  the air. The elevation is  reckoned by the distance  between the pointed toes of the  dancer in the air and the  ground. In alighting after a  pas d’élévation  the tips of the toes should  reach the ground first, quickly  followed by the sole and then  the heel. All steps of’  elevation begin and end with a  demi-plié.
Élevé (French pronunciation: [elve]; ‘raised, lifted.’) Rising to pointe or demi-pointe from straight legs and flat feet.[5] This term is used in some schools in contrast with relevé (in effect, ‘relifted’), which is taken to indicate a rise from plié (bent knees). In other schools (French, Russian, textbook Cecchetti), relevé covers both these concepts.
Emboîté (French pronunciation: [ɑ̃bwate]) A small traveling step (en avant or en arrière) where each leg is alternately brought to cou-de-pied, passing the previous standing leg in doing so, i.e. a changement emboîté. (This may have the look of running in place.) This step is known as a petit jeté in RAD and the French school. A grand emboîté is a traveling jump where each leg is alternately brought to attitude in the air, each foot passing the previous one in alternating.
En (French pronunciation: [ɑ̃]; meaning ‘in.’) A preposition used in description of a dancer’s position (e.g., en plié, en relevé, en pointe) or holding the meaning ‘towards’ when describing direction of a movement (en avant, en arrière, en dedans, en dehors = ‘to the front,’ ‘to the back’, ‘to the inside,’ ‘to the outside’).
Entrechat [ahn-truh-SHAH] Interweaving or braiding. A step of beating in which the dancer jumps into the air and rapidly crosses the legs before and behind each other. Entrechats are  counted from two to ten according to the number of crossings required and counting each crossing as two movements, one by each leg; that is, in an entrechat quatre each leg makes two distinct  movements. Entrechats are  divided into two general classes: the even-numbered entrechats, or those which land on two feet– deux, quatre, six, huit and dix– and the odd-numbered entrechats, or those which land on one foot– trois, cinq, sept and neuf.
Dntrelacé (ahn-truh-lah-say’) To weave to criss-cross.
Entrechat six [ahn-truh-SHAH seess] Six crossings. Demi-plié in the fifth position R foot front. With a strong jump open the legs, beat the R leg behind the L, open the legs, beat the R leg in front of the L, open the legs and finish in demi-plié in the fifth position R foot  back.
Entrée (French pronunciation: [ɑ̃tʁe]) 1. The initial part of a grand pas, which serves as an introduction for the suite of dances comprising the grand pas.
2. The initial appearance of a lead character or characters of a ballet on stage.
Épaulé (French pronunciation: [epole]; ‘shouldered.’) One of the positions of the body or épaulement where the body is at an oblique angle to the audience, the downstage arm is allongé in front and the downstage shoulder appears prominent to the audience as the downstage leg works to the back (e.g. second arabesque).
Épaulement [ay-pohl-MAHN]] Shouldering. The placing of  the shoulders. A term used to  indicate a movement of the  torso from the waist upward,  bringing one shoulder forward  and the other back with the  head turned or inclined over  the forward shoulder. The two  fundamental positions of  épaulement are  croisé and  effacé. When  épaulement is used the  position of the head depends  upon the position of the  shoulders and the shoulder  position depends upon the  position of the legs.  Épaulement gives the  finishing artistic touch to  every movement and is a  characteristic feature of the  modern classical style  compared to the old French  style. which has little  épaulement.
Exercices à la barre [eg-zehr-SEESS a lah bar] Exercises at the bar (or  barre). A group of exercises  performed by the dancer  while clasping a bar with  one hand. This bar,  generally a cylindrical  piece of wood is fastened  horizontally to the walls of  the practice room at a height of about three feet  six inches from the floor.  Bar exercises, or side  practice, are the foundation  of classical ballet and are  to the dancer what scales  are to the pianist. Every  ballet lesson begins with  these exercises. It is at  the bar that the dancer  acquires the fundamental  training for the attributes  he must possess. These  exercises are essential for  developing the muscles  correctly, turning the legs  out from the hips and  gaining control and  flexibility of the joints  and muscles. The exercises  at the bar can be simple or  varied but in general they  include the following  movements:
(l) Pliés in the  first, second, fourth and  fifth  positions.
(2) Battements tendus.
(3) Battements dégagés.
(4) Battements fondus.
(5) Ronds de jambe à terre.
(6) Battements frappés.
(7) Adagio.
(8) Petits battements sur le  cou-de-pied.
(9) Ronds de jambe en l’air.
(10) Grands battements.
Extension [eks-tahn-SYAWN] Term used to describe the  ability of a dancer to raise  and hold her extended leg  en l’air. A dancer is said to  have  a good extension if, when doing  a  développé  à la seconde, she is  able to hold and sustain the  raised leg above shoulder  level.
Face, en [ahn fahss] Opposite (the audience);  facing the  audience.
Failli (French pronunciation: [faji] ‘given way’, past participle.)  A slide or brush-through transition step following a preceding jump or position. Failli is often used as shorthand for a sissonne (ouverte +pas) failli, indicating a jump from two feet landing on one (sissonne) with the back foot then sliding through to the front (chassé passé), and this is often done in conjunction with an assemblé: (sissonne) failli assemblé. E.g. From croisé, the upstage leg opens behind on the sissonne as the body changes direction in the air to land ouverte effacé; the back leg which is now downstage slides through in a chassé passé to fourth in front, ending the dancer croisé the corner opposite the original. This chassé passé is the (pas) failli. An assemblé (dessus/over) to the opposite corner would reorient the body back to its the original position. Failli phrased with arabesque indicates the brushed follow-through of an arabesqued leg from elevated behind to fourth in front as lead-in to a following step.
First position (feet) Turned out legs with the feet pointing in opposite directions, heels touching.
Fish dive This is a term used in double  (supported) work for 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.
Flic flac (French pronunciation: [flik flak])  Familiar French term for battement fouetté à terre. A step where the foot of the working leg sweeps flexed across the floor from pointed à la seconde (en l’air, as in dégagé) to pointed at cou-de-pied devant or derrière.
Fondu, fondue [fawn-DEW] Sinking down. A term used to describe a lowering of the body made by bending the knee of the supporting leg. Saint-Léon wrote, “Fondu is on one leg what a plié is on two.” In some instances  the term fondu is also used  to describe the ending of a step when the working leg is placed on the ground with a soft and gradual movement.
Fouetté [fweh-TAY] Whipped. A term 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. There  is a great variety of  fouettés: petit  fouetté, which may  be devant, à la  seconde or derrière  and executed  à terre,  sur la demi-pointe  or sauté; and grand  fouetté, which may  be sauté,  relevé and  en tournant.
Fouetté en tournant, grand (Russian School) [grahn fweh-TAY ahn toor-NAHN] Large fouetté,  turning. This fouetté may be done on demi-pointe,  on point or with a jump. It  is usually done en dedans and  may be finished in attitude  croisée, attitude  effacée or any of the  arabesques.
Fouetté rond de jambe en tournant [fweh-TAY rawn duh zhahnb ahn toor-NAHN] Whipped circle of the leg turning. This is the popular turn in which the dancer executes a series of turns on the supporting leg while being propelled by a whipping movement of the working leg. The whipping leg should be at hip level, with the foot closing in to the knee of the supporting leg. Fouettés are usually done in a series. They may be executed en dehors or en dedans.
En dehors (Russian School): Fourth position R foot back. Execute a pirouette en dehors on the L leg. Fondu on the L leg, at the same time opening the R leg to the second position en l’air. Relevé on the L point or demi-pointe, executing a tour en dehors  and whipping the R foot in  back of, then quickly in front of, the L knee. Fondu on the L leg, opening the R leg to the second position en l’air.
En dehors (Cecchetti method): Fourth position R foot back.  Execute a pirouette en dehors on the L leg. Fondu on the L leg, at the same time extending the R leg to quatrième position devant en l’air (croisé devant). Relevé on the L point or demi-pointe,  sweeping the R leg to the second position en l’air,  and execute a tour en dehors, bringing the R foot to side and front of L knee. Fondu on the L foot, extending the R leg forward again. Three-quarters of the turn should be made  with the R foot in position on the supporting knee. This fouetté may also be executed from a preparation starting with a pas de bourrée en dedans and finishing with a coupé dessous, opening the working leg to quatrième devant croisé.
En dedans (Russian School): Fouetté en dedans is done in the same manner as en dehors. After a pirouette en dedans the extension is made to the second position en l’air; next the foot is brought in front of, then  in back of, the supporting  knee.
En dedans (Cecchetti method): After a pirouette en dedans the working leg is extended to the fourth position derrière en l’air; then with a demi-rond de jambe en l’air en dedans  the foot is brought to the  front of the supporting knee.
Frappé (French pronunciation: [fʁape]; ‘struck.’) Abbreviation of battement frappé. Action of extending the working foot out from cou-de-pied. In Cecchetti, RAD, and American ballet, on flat, this action involves brushing a flexed (or non-pointed relaxed) foot from cou-de-pied through the floor, the ball of the foot (lightly) striking as extending out pointed through dégagé. In the Russian school, a pointed foot at cou-de-pied extends directly out to dégagé height without brushing through the floor. On demi-pointe, Cecchetti employs the Russian style of non-brushed pointed foot directly out. Other schools may use a flexed foot without the strike or a non-brushed pointed foot on demi-pointe. Frappés are commonly done in singles, doubles, or triples. Double and triple frappés involve tapping the foot (flexed or pointed) at both cou-de-pied devant (or wrapped) and derrière before extending out. (E.g. Double frappé front would be cou-de-pied back, cou-de-pied front, dégagé front. Double frappé back would be front, back, [dégagé] back. Triple frappé front would be front, back, front, [dégagé] front.)
French School The French School of ballet  began in the court ceremonies  of the French monarchs. Louis  XIV studied with the famous  ballet master Pierre Beauchamp  and established the first  academy of dancing, known as  the Académie Royale de  Musique et de Danse, in Paris  in 1661. The École de  Danse de l’Opéra was  founded in 1713 and is now  known as the École de  Danse du Théâtre  National de l’Opéra.  Among its most famous ballet  masters were Beauchamp,  Pécour, Lany, Noverre,  G. and A. Vestris, M. and P.  Gardel, F. Taglioni, Mazilier,  Saint-Léon,  Mérante, Staats, Aveline  and Lifar. The French School  was known for its elegance and  soft, graceful movements rather  than technical virtuosity. Its  influence spread throughout  Europe and is the basis of all  ballet  training.
Gargouillade (gahr-gooee-yahd’) An advanced jump from one foot to the other.
Gateway, the This is a position of the  arms in which the arms are held rounded in front of  the body with the  fingertips on a level with  the bottom of the  breastbone. The backs of  the hands face outward  with the arms rounded so  that the elbows are a  little below the shoulders  and the wrists a little  below the elbows with the  point of the elbows  imperceptible. This position corresponds to  the fifth position en  avant of the  Cecchetti method and the  first  position of the Russian  and French Schools. When  the arms are raised from a  low position to a high  one, the arms generally  pass through the gateway.  See Port de  bras.
Glissade [glee-SAD] Glide. A traveling step executed by gliding the working foot from the fifth position in the required direction, the  other foot closing to it.  Glissade is a terre à terre step and is used to link other  steps. After a demi-plié in the fifth position the  working foot glides along  the floor to a strong point a few inches from the floor. The other foot then pushes away from the floor so that both knees are straight and both feet strongly pointed for a moment; then the weight  is shifted to the working foot with a fondu. The other foot, which is pointed a few inches from the floor, slides into the fifth position in demi-plié. When a glissade is used as an auxiliary step for small  or big jumps, it is done with a quick movement on the upbeat. Glissades are done with or without change of feet, and all begin and end with a demi-plié. There are six glissades: devant, derrière, dessous, dessus, en avant, en arrière, the difference between them depending on the starting and finishing  positions as well as the direction. Glissade may also be done sur les pointes.
Glissade précipitée (French pronunciation: [ɡlisad pʁesipite]; ‘precipitated glide.’) A quick glissade generally done leading into a following step, such as with glissade jeté or glissade assemblé.
Grand écart (French pronunciation: [ɡʁɑ̃ plije])  A full plié or bending of the knees. Throughout the movement, the pelvis should be kept neutral, the back straight and aligned with the heels, the legs turned out, and the knees over the feet. From standing to bent this should be fluid. A purpose of the grand plié is to warm up the ankles and stretch the calves.
Grand pas de chat A jump where the leading leg extends forward through grand battement or développé and the trailing leg remains in retiré until landing
Grand, grande [grahn, grahnd] Big, large. As, for example;  in grand battement. (To find  terms starting with  “grand,” look up  the second word of the  term.)
Hortensia “A male dancer’s step in which the dancer jumps into the air with the legs drawn up, one in front of the other, then reverses their position […] several times before landing with the feet apart again.”[7] This step can look akin to swimming in air.
Huit (weet) This means eight.
Italian School The Imperial Dancing Academy  connected with La Scala in  Milan was opened in 1812. Its  greatest period began when  Carlo Blasis, Italian dancer  and teacher, became its  director in 1837. Blasis  published two textbooks,  Treatise on the Art of Dancing  and Code of Terpischore, in  which he codified his teaching  methods and all that was known  of ballet technique. These  books form the basis of our  modern classical training.  Blasis trained most of the  famous Italian dancers ot the  era, and his pupil Giovanni Lepri was the teacher of Enrico  Cecchetti, one of the greatest  teachers in the history of  ballet. It was Cecchetti who  brought the Italian School to  its peak. The Italian School  was known for its strong,  brilliant technique and the  virtuosity of its dancers, who  astonished the audience with  their difficult steps and  brilliant  turns.
Jambe [zhahnb] Leg.
Jambes, ronds de (rohn duh zjahmb) To circle the legs either on or off the floor,outward or inward.
Jeté (French pronunciation: [ʒəte]; ‘thrown.’) A leap in which one leg appears to be thrown in the direction of the movement (en avant, en arrière, or sideways). There are several kinds of jetés, including jeté / jeté ordinaire (RAD) / pas jeté (Rus.), grand jeté, and tour jeté (ABT) / grand jeté en tournant (Fr./Cecc.) / jeté entrelacé (Rus.), or the common compound step coupé jeté (en tournant).
Jeté battu [zhuh-TAY ba-TEW] Jeté beaten. Both jeté dessus and jeté dessous may be beaten.
Jeté en avant, grand [grahn zhuh-TAY ah na-VAHN] Large jeté forward. A big leap forward preceded by a preliminary movement such as a pas couru or a glissade, which gives the necessary push-off. The jump is done on the foot which is thrown forward as in grand battement at 90 degrees, the height of the jump depending  on the strength of the thrust and the length of the jump depending on the strong push-off of the other leg which is thrust up and back. The dancer tries to remain in the air in a definitely expressed attitude or arabesque and descends to the ground in the same pose. It is important to start the jump with a springy  plié and finish it with a soft and controlled plié.
Jeté entrelacé [zhuh-TAY ahn-truh-la-SAY] Jeté interlaced. A term of the Russian School. This jeté is 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. In the French School this is called “grand jeté dessus en tournant”; in the  Cecchetti method, “grand jeté en tournant en arrière.”
Jeté, grand [grahn zhuh-TAV] Large jeté. In this step the legs are thrown  to 90 degrees with a corresponding high jump. It is done forward to attitude croisée or effacée, and to all the arabesques. It may also be done backward with the leg raised either  croisé or effacé devant. Grand jeté is always preceded by a preliminary movement such as a glissade, pas couru or coupe.
Jeté, pas [pah zhuh-TAY] Throwing step. A jump from  one foot to the other in  which the working leg is  brushed into the air and  appears to have been thrown.  There is a wide variety of  pas jetés (usually  called merely jetés)  and they may be performed in  all  directions.
Jeté, petit [puh-TEE zhuh-TAY] Small jeté. From a demi-plié in the fifth position the  working foot glides along the floor until it reaches a position  à la demi-hauteur.  The supporting foot springs from the floor and the landing is made in fondu on the working leg with the other foot extended in the air or sur le cou-de-pied. Petit jeté is done dessus, dessous, en avant, en arrière and en tournant.
l’air, en (ahn lahr) This means – in the air. To describe a leg position or a jump.
Labanotation This is a system of dance  notation invented by the  Hungarian-born teacher  Rudolf von Laban. This  system has been developed  and perfected by the Dance  Notation Bureau, which was  founded in New York in  1940 and introduced the  term in 1953. Many ballets  have been notated by the  Bureau, which has compiled  a library of works in  Labanotation, including  the previous edition of  the present book (notated  by Allan  Miles).
Leçon [luh-SAWN] Lesson. The daily class  taken by dancers throughout  their career to continue  learning and to maintain  technical proficiency. It  consists of exercices  à la barre (side  practice) followed by  exercices au milieu  (centre practice),  port de bras,  pirouette practice and petit  and grand allégro.  See these  terms.
Ligne [LEEN-yuh] Line. The outline presented by  a dancer while executing steps  and poses. A dancer is said to  have a good or bad sense of  line according to the  arrangement of head, body,  legs and arms in a pose or  movement. A good line is  absolutely indispensable to  the classlcal  dancer.
Manèges [ma-NEZH] Circular. A term applied to  steps or  enchaînements  executed in a  circle.
Mazurka or mazurek A Polish folk dance in 3/4 time which has been introduced into a number of ballets as a character  dance.
Methods (French: Méthodes [may-TAWD]) Academic ballet as we know it  today came into being in the  year 1661, when King Louis XIV  of France founded the  Académie Royale de  Musique et de Danse. Although  individual Milanese  dancing-masters had been  renowned since the fifteenth  century, the permanent  Imperial Dancing Academy  connected with La Scala  Theatre was not opened until  1812. The Academy at Milan  influenced Paris and  especially Russia through the  rules of education drawn up by  Carlo Blasis, who became  director of the Academy in  1837 and rapidly made it the  centre of ballet  activity. By the middle of the  nineteenth century the ballet  centres of the world had  shifted from Paris and Milan  to St. Petersburg and Moscow.  The Russian School first  derived its technique from  France but by the middle of  the nineteenth century it had  acquired an international  aspect through the influence  of international artists. From  the beginning of the second  half of the nineteenth century  Russian ballet was dominated  by Marius Petipa, a Frenchman,  and Christian Johannsen, a  Swede. Then in 1874 Enrico  Cecchetti, the last great  exponent of the Italian  School, arrived in Russia.  These three men working on  generations of Russian dancers developed Russian ballet,  making it as much a system as  Italian or French ballet.  Actually the French method is  in the greatest proportion in  the Russian  School.
Mime The art of using the face  and body to express  emotion and dramatic  action. Mime from Giselle Act I Mime from The  Sleeping Beauty  Prologue
Modern Ballet a type of ballet from the twentieth century. To this day, modern ballet looks to re-invent itself and reach out in an ever-increasing facet of creation and movement.
Neuf [nuhf] Nine.
Notation There is no universally  accepted system of  recording the choreography  of ballets although many  systems of dance notation  have been devised by  dancers and  choreographers. At  present, there are two  systems of notation in  general use, Labanotation  and Benesh  notation.
Ouvert, ouverte [oo-VEHR, oo-VEHRT] Open, opened. This may refer  to positions (the second and  fourth positions of the feet  are positions ouvertes),  limbs, directions, or certain exercises or steps. In the  French School the term is  used to indicate a position  or direction of the body  similar to  effacé.
Ouvert, ouverte (French pronunciation: [uvɛʁ(t)]; ‘open, opened.’) Converse of fermé(e) (‘closed’) Ouvert may refer to positions (the second and fourth positions of the feet are positions ouvertes), limbs, directions, or certain exercises or steps. In the French School, this term is used to indicate a position or direction of the body similar to effacé.
Partnering Dancing performed by a pair of dancers, typically a male and a female, in which the pair strives to achieve a harmony of coordinated movements so that the audience remains unaware of the mechanics. A dance that is focused on a single pair of partnering dancers is a pas de deux. For a male dancer, partnering may involve lifting, catching, and carrying a partner, and providing assistance and support for leaps, promenades and pirouettes.
Pas [pah] Step. A simple step or a  compound movement which  involves a transfer of  weight. Example: pas de  bourrée.  “Pas” also refers  to a dance executed by a  soloist (pas seul), a duet  (pas de deux). and so  on.
Pas de basque (French pronunciation: [pɑ d(ə) bask]; ‘step of the Basques.’) Halfway between a step and a leap, taken on the floor (glissé) or with a jump (sauté); it can be done moving toward the front or toward the back. This step can also be found in Scottish highland dance. Starting in fifth position croisé, a dancer executes a plié while brushing the downstage leg out to tendu front. The downstage leg does a demi rond de jambe to the opposite corner while the body turns to face that corner. Weight is quickly transferred to that brushed leg, now upstage, allowing the dancer to pass the newly downstage leg through first position via a chassé passé to fourth devant, ending croisé the new corner, and finishing by bringing the upstage leg in to close fifth.
Pas de bourrée [pah duh boo-RAY] Bourrée step. Pas de bourrée is done dessous, dessus, devant, derrière, en avant, en arrière and en tournant, en dedans and en dehors, on the point or demi-pointe.
Pas de bourrée couru [pah duh boo-RAY koo-REW] Pas de bourrée, running. A term of the French School. This is a progression on the points or demi-pointes by a series of small, even steps with the feet close together. It may be done in all directions or in a circle.
Pas de chat [pah duh shah] Cat’s-step. The step owes its name to the likeness of the movement to a cat’s leap.
Pas de cheval (French pronunciation: [pɑ də ʃ(ə)val]; ‘step of the horse.’) A movement of the leg to cou-de-pied and sharply out to pointe tendue through a petit développé.
Pas de deux [pah duh duh] Dance for two.
Pas de deux, grand [grahn pah duh duh] Grand dance for two. It  differs from the simple pas de  deux in that it has a definite  structure. As a general rule  the grand pas de deux falls  into five parts:  entrée, adage,  variation for the danseuse,  variation for the danseur, and  the coda, in which both  dancers dance  together.
Pas de poisson (French pronunciation: [pɑ də pwasɔ̃]; ‘step of the fish.’)  A type of soubresaut, or a jump without a change of feet. From fifth position, a dancer executes a deep demi-plié and then jumps arching the back with straight legs behind, so that the body is curved like a fish jumping out of water. Also called temps de poisson.
Pas de quatre [pah duh KA-truh] A dance for four. The most  famous pas de quatre in  ballet history took place  in London on July 12, 1845,  at a command performance  for Queen Victoria, when  the four greatest  ballerinas of the  nineteenth century, Marie  Taglioni, Carlotta Grisi,  Fanny Cerrito and Lucile Grahn, appeared  together.
Pas de trois [pah duh trwah] A dance for three.  Similarly, a pas de cinq is  a dance for five people; a  pas de six is a dance for six people;  etc.
Pas de valse [pah duh valss] Waltz step. Done with a graceful swaying of the body with various arm movements. May be done facing or en tournant. The step is like a balancé, but the feet do not cross.
Pas marché [pah mar-SHAY] Marching step. This is the dignified, classical walk of the ballerina and the premier danseur.
Passé (French pronunciation: [pɑse]; literally ‘passed.’) Passing the working foot through from back to front or vice versa. Generally used to refer to retiré passé, indicating passing the foot of the working leg past the knee of the supporting leg (on, below, or above) from back to front or front to back. Retiré passé may initiate or complete by sliding the working foot up or down the supporting leg from or to the floor, may be executed directly from an open position such as in pirouette from fourth, or may transition from knee to another position such as arabesque or attitude (as in développé). A chassé can also pass through from back to front as in (sissonne) failli: chassé passé.
Penché, penchée [pahn-SHAY] Leaning, inclining. As, for  example, in arabesque  penchée.
Petit saut (French pronunciation: [p(ə)ti so]; ‘small jump.’) A small jump, in which the feet do not change positions in mid-air; also called temps levé sauté in the Vaganova vocabulary.
Petit, petite [puh-TEE, puh-TEET] Little, small. As, for  example, in petit battement.  (To find terms starting with  “petit,” look up  the second word of the  term.)
Pieds, cinq positions des [sen paw-zee-SYAWN day pyay] Five positions of the feet.  There are five basic positions  of the feet in classical  ballet, and every step or  movement is begun and ended in  one or another of these  positions, which were  established by Pierre  Beauchamp, maître de  ballet of the Académie  Royale de Musique et de Danse  from 1671 to  1687.
First position (Première  position):
In this position the  feet form one line, heels  touching one  another.
Second position (Seconde  position):
The feet are on  the same line but with a  distance of about one foot  between the  heels.
Third position  (Troisième  position):
In the third  position one foot is in front  of the other, heels touching  the middle of the other  foot.
Fourth position  (Quatrième  position):
In the fourth  position the placement of the  feet is similar to that in the  third position, the feet being  parallel and separated by the  length of one foot. This is the  classical fourth position but  it may also be done with the  feet in the first position,  only separated by the space of  one foot. The former is known  as quatrième position  croisée (crossed fourth  position), while the latter is  called quatrième  position ouverte (open fourth position). Today  quatrième position  croisée is done with the  feet placed as in the fifth  position, parallel and separated by the  length of one foot, instead of  the third  position.
Fifth position  (Cinquième  position):
In the fifth  position, Cecchetti method, the  feet are crossed so that the  first joint of the big toe  shows beyond either heel. In  the French and Russian Schools  the feet are completely crossed  so that the heel of the front  foot touches the toe of the  back foot and vice  versa.
Piqué [pee-KAY] Pricked, pricking. Executed by stepping directly on the point or demi-pointe of the working foot in any desired direction or position with the other foot raised in the air. As, for example, in piqué en arabesque, piqué développé and so on.
Piqué turn A tour piqué or piqué turn is a traveling turn executed by the leg stepping out onto an en pointe or demi-pointe foot becoming the supporting leg while the working leg moves from plié to retiré derrière, if an en dedans turn, or retiré devant, if an en dehors turn. In fast piqué turns, petit retiré may be executed instead (i.e. working foot at cou-de-pied). Most commonly done en dedans, piqué turns en dehors are also referred to as lame ducks.
Pirouette [peer-WET] Whirl or spin. A complete turn of the body on one foot, on point or demi-pointe. Pirouettes are performed en dedans, turning inward toward the supporting leg, or en dehors, turning outward in the direction of the raised leg. Correct body placement is essential in all kinds of pirouettes. The body must be well centered over the supporting leg with the back held strongly and the hips and shoulders aligned. The force of momentum is furnished by the arms, which remain immobile during the turn. The head is the last to move as the body turns away from the spectator and the first to arrive as the body comes around to the  spectator, with the eyes focused at a definite point which must be at eye level. This use of the eyes while turning is called “spotting.”  Pirouettes may be performed  in any given position, such  as sur le cou-de-pied, en attitude, en arabesque, à la seconde, etc.
Pirouette à la seconde, grande [grahrul peer-WET a lah suh-GAWND] Large pirouette in the second position. This pirouette is usually performed by male dancers. It is a series of turns on one foot with the free leg raised to the second position en l’air at 90 degrees.
Pirouette piquée [peer-WET pee-KAY] Pricked pirouette. A term of the French School. Same as piqué tour en dedans. This is a pirouette in which the dancer steps directly onto the point or demi-pointe with the raised leg sur le cou-de-pied devant or derrière, in attitude, arabesque or any given position. This turn is executed either en dedans or en dehors.
Plié [plee-AY] Bent, bending. A bending of the knee or knees. This is an exercise to render the joints and muscles soft and pliable and the tendons flexible and elastic, and to develop a sense of balance. There  are two principal pliés:  grand plié or full bending of the knees (the knees should be bent until the thighs are horizontal) and demi-plié or half-bending of the knees.  Pliés are done at the bar and in the centre in all five positions of the feet. The third  position is usually omitted. When a grand plié is executed in either the first, third or fourth position croisé (feet in the fifth position but separated by the space of one foot) or the fifth position, the heels always  rise off the ground and are lowered again as the knees straighten. The bending movement should be gradual and free from jerks, and the knees  should be at least half-bent before the heels are allowed to rise. The body should rise at the same speed at which it descended, pressing the  heels into the floor. In the grand plié in the second position or the fourth position ouverte (feet in the first position but separated by  the space of one foot) the  heels do not rise off the  ground. All demi-pliés are done without lifting the heels from the ground. In all pliés the legs must be well turned out from the hips, the knees open and well over the toes, and the weight of the body evenly distributed on both feet, with the whole foot grasping the floor.
Pointe shoes The satin ballet shoes used by  dancers when dancing  sur les pointes.  The ballet shoes of  Marie Taglioni, the first major  ballerina to dance on her  points, were not blocked but  were padded with cotton wool.  Later (about 1862) the toes of  the ballet slippers were  stiffened (blocked) with glue  and darned to give the dancer  additional support. Today the  toes of pointe shoes are  reinforced with a box  constructed of several layers of strong glue in between  layers of  material.
Pointes, sur les [sewr lay pwent] On the points. The raising  of the body on the tips of  the toes. Also used in the  singular, “sur la  pointe.” First  introduced in the late  1820s or early 1830s at  the time of Taglioni.  There are three ways of  reaching the points, by  piqué,  relevé or  sauté.
Poisson
[pwa-SAWN]
Fish. A position of the body in  which the legs are crossed in  the fifth position and held  tightly together with the back  arched. This pose is taken  while jumping into the air or  in double work when the  danseuse is supported in a  poisson position by her  partner. See Fish  dive.
Polonaise A processional dance in 3/4 time with which the court ballets of the seventeenth century were opened. It may be seen today in such ballets as The Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake. The polonaise is a march in which two steps are taken forward on the demi-pointes and then the third step is taken flat with the supporting knee bent in fondu and the other leg raised in front.
Port de bras [pawr duh brah] Carriage of the arms. The term port de bras has two meanings: (1) A movement or series of movements made by passing the arm or arms through various positions. The passage of the arms from one position to another constitutes a port  de bras. (2) A term for a  group of exercises designed  to make the arms move gracefully and harmoniously. In the Cecchetti method there are eight set exercises on port de bras.
In the execution of port de bras the arms should move from the shoulder and not from the elbow and the movement should be smooth and flowing. The arms should be softly rounded so that the points of the elbows are imperceptible  and the hands must be simple, graceful and never flowery. The body and head should come into play and a suggestion of épaulement should be used. In raising the arms from one position to another the arms must pass through a position known in dancing as the gateway.  This position corresponds  to the fifth position en avant, Cecchetti method, or the first position, French and Russian Schools. In passing from a high position to a low one, the arms are generally lowered in a line with the sides. Exercises on port de bras can be varied to infinity  by combining their basic elements according to the taste of the professor and the needs of the pupil.
Porté, portée [pawr-TAY] Carried. Refers either to  a step which is traveled in the air from one spot  to another (such as  assemblé dessus  porté) or to the  carrying of a danseuse by  a  danseur.
Pose (poh-say) A pose – a certain position.
Premier, première [pruh-MYAY, pruh-MYEHR] First.
Preparation (pray-pahr-ah-zjohn) This means to prepare.
Promenade, tour de [toor duh prawm-NAD] Turn in a walk. A term of the French School used to indicate that the dancer turns slowly in place on one foot by a series of slight movements of the heel to the required side while maintaining a definite pose such as an arabesque or attitude. The turn may be performed either en dedans or en dehors. In a pas de deux, the ballerina on point holds her pose and is slowly turned by her partner who walks around her holding her hand.
Quatre [KA-truh] Four.
Quatrième [ka-tree-EM] Fourth.
Relevé [ruhl-VAY] Raised. A raising of the body on the points or demi-pointes, point or demi-pointe. There are two ways to relevé. In the French School, relevé is done with a smooth, continuous rise while the Cecchetti method and the Russian School use a little spring. Relevé may be done in the first, second, fourth or fifth position, en attitude, en arabesque, devant, derrière,  en tournant, passé en avant, passé en arrière and so on.
Relevelent, battlement (baht-mahn-rehl-leh-vay lehnt) This means to rise slow and even. Extend one leg forward – the other leg rises to demi-pointe, either front, back or side.
Renverse (rahn-vay-say) To reverse, to move the leg in a circle with co-ordination of the body – either as a jump or on the floor.
Retiré [ruh-tee-RAY] Withdrawn. A 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.
Reverence (ray-vay-rahnss)  To bow,the last exercise of a class.
Revoltade (ruh-vohl-tahd) To revolve, a jump on one foot.
Rise This is a smooth relevé from a position à terre through all the levels of the foot (quarter-point,  half-point and three-quarter point). The toes do not move from the spot at which the rise began.
Rolling Dancers who do not have a good  turn-out should not force their  legs to turn out too much at  first, as this usually results  in rolling ankles. If the  weight is on the inside of the  feet. dancers call this rolling in; if the weight is on the  outside of the feet, it is  called rolling out. The 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. Example of  romantic ballets are La  Sylphide and  Giselle.
Rond (rohn) This means Round.
Rond de jambe à terre [rawn duh zhahnb a tehr] Rond de jambe on the ground. An exercise at the bar or in the centre in which one leg is made to describe a series of circular movements on the ground. Both legs must be kept perfectly straight and all movement must come from the hip, along with the arching and relaxing of the instep. The toe of the working foot does not rise off the ground and does not pass beyond the fourth  position front (fourth position ouvert) or the fourth position back. This is an exercise to turn the legs out from the hips, to loosen the hips and to keep the toe well back and heel forward. There are two kinds of ronds de jambe à terre: those done en dedans (inward) and those done en dehors  (outward).
Rond de jambe en l’air [rawn duh zhahnb ahn lehr] Rond de jambe in the air. Ronds de jambe en l’air are done at the bar and in centre practice and may be single, or double, en dehors or en dedans. The toe of the working foot describes an oval, the extreme ends of which are the second position  en l’air and the supporting leg. The thigh must be kept motionless and the hips well turned out, the whole movement being made by the leg below the knee. The thigh should also be held horizontal so that the pointed toe of the  working foot passes at (approximately) the height of the supporting  knee. Ronds de jambe en l’air may also be done with the leg extended to the second position en l’air (demi-position) and closed to the calf of the supporting leg. The accent of the movement comes when the foot is in the second position en l’air. The movement is done en dehors and en dedans.
Ront de jambe [rawn duh zhahnb] Round of the leg, that is,  a circular movement of the  leg. Ronds de jambe are  used as an exercise at the  bar, in the centre and in  the adage, and are done  à terre or en l’air.  When used as a step, ronds  de jambe are done en l’air  and may be sauté or  relevé. All are done  clockwise (en dehors) and  counterclockwise (en  dedans).
Royale [ruah-YAL] Royal. A changement in which the calves are beaten  together before the feet change position. Also termed “changement  battu.”
Russian pas de chat A jump where the legs are successively brought to attitude derrière instead of retiré.[6] This variant of the pas de chat appears in several Petipa ballets (e.g. the 4th variation in Paquita).
Russian School The Russian School was founded  in St. Petersburg in 1738 by  the French dancerJean-Baptiste  Landé. The French  influence continued under such  great teachers as Charles Le  Picq, Charles Didelot,  Christian Johanssen, Jules  Perrot, Arthur  Saint-Léon and Marius  Petipa. In 1885 Virginia Zucchi, a  famous Italian ballerina,  appeared in St. Petersburg and  created a sensation with her  forceful and brilliant Italian  technique which differed from  the soft, graceful elegance of  the French technique prevalent  in Russia until then. Other  Italian dancers such as Enrico  Cecchetti arrived in Russia  and continued to astound the  Russians with their amazing  dexterity, brilliant  pirouettes, tours and  fouettés. The Russian  dancers rapidly absorbed  everything the Italians had to  teach and incorporated it into  the Russian system. Thus, the  Russian School of Ballet is a  development of the French and  Italian  Schools. 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. This svstem  has become the basic method of  the entire Soviet  choreographic  school.
Saut de basque [soh duh bask] (French and Russian Schools). Basque jump. A traveling step in which the dancer turns in the air with one foot drawn up to the knee of the other leg. Fifth position R foot front. Demi-plié with R foot retiré devant; step on the R foot in demi-plié to the second position, turning en dedans one half-turn and thrusting the L leg to the  second position en l’air;  push off the floor with the  R foot and complete the turn, traveling to the side of the extended leg and landing on the L foot in fondu with the R leg bent in retiré devant. Both legs should be fully turned out during the jump. Saut de basque may also be performed with a double turn in the air.
Saut de chat (French pronunciation: [so də ʃa])  In RAD and American ballet, saut de chat refers to a jump similar to a grande jété differing in that the front leg extends through a développé instead of a grand battement. This is called a grande jété développé in other schools. In the French and Cecchetti schools, saut de chat refers to what RAD/ABT call a pas de chat.
Sauté, sautée [soh-TAY] Jumped, jumping. When  this term is added to  the name of a step, the  movement is performed  while jumping. As, for  example,  échappé sauté. Note: In  all jumping movements  the tips of the toes  should be the first to  reach the ground after the jump, then the sole  of the foot followed by  the heel. In rising  from the ground the  foot moves in the  reverse  order.
Second position (feet) Legs turned out with feet pointing in opposite directions and heels at least shoulder-width apart.
Seconde, à la [ah la suh-GAWND] To the second. A term to  imply that 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. As, for  example, in  grand battement à la  seconde.
Sept [set] Seven.
Serre (sehr-ay) This is a fast beating of the foot agaist the ankle of the other foot.
Sickle A term that refers to the reverse of a winging, indicating a foot where the heel is too far back so the toes are in front of the ankle and heel, breaking the line of the leg at the ankle. If a dancer sickles an en pointe or demi-pointe foot, the ankle could collapse to the outside, resulting in a sprain. A working foot should be straight to the side and mildly winged to the front or back.
Sickling This term is used for a fault  in which the dancer turns his  or her foot in from the ankle,  thereby breaking the straight  line of the  leg.
Sissonne [see-SAWN] Sissonne is named for the  originator of the step. It is a jump from both feet  onto one foot with the  exception of  sissonne fermée,  sissonne  tombée and sissonne  fondue, which finish on two  feet. Sissonne may be  performed petite or grande.  The petites sissonnes are  sissonne simple, sissonne  fermée,  sissonne ouverte  at 45 degrees and  sissonne tombée at 45  degrees. The grandes  sissonnes are sissonne  ouverte at 90 degrees,  sissonne renversée  and sissonne  soubresaut.
Sissonne fermée [see-SAWN fehr-MAY] Closed sissonne. A step of low elevation performed to a quick tempo. This sissonne finishes on two feet with the working foot gliding along the floor into the demi-plié in the fitth position. It may be performed en avant, en arrière and de côté in all directions, such as croisé,  effacé, écarté,  etc.
Sissonne ouverte, grande [grahnd see-SAWN oo-VEHRT] Big open sissonne. This sissonne is usually performed with high elevation and is done from a demi-plié  on both feet and finished  on one foot with the other leg raised in the desired pose, such as attitude, arabesque, à la seconde, etc. It is performed en avant, en arrière, de côté, en tournant and is done with  a développé  or a grand battement at 90 degrees.
Six [seess] Six.
Soubresaut (French pronunciation: [subʁəso]) A relevé, or rise, into a tight fifth position, feet touching and ankles crossed, giving the appearance of one foot with two heels. A term from the Cecchetti school, sus-sous (‘over-under’) is the equivalent term in the French and Russian schools.
Sous-sus (soo-sew) A very tight 5th position in ballet on demi-pointe.
Soutenu (soot-new) To support. To draw one leg evenly to the other done in place with a half or whole turn, outwards or inwards.
Soutenu en tournant (French pronunciation: [sutny ɑ̃ tuʁnɑ̃]; ‘sustained.’)  Similar to tours chaînés (déboulés), a soutenu turn is a turn usually done in multiples in quick succession. The dancer first executes a demi-plié while extending the leading leg in tendu, stepping onto that leg en pointe/demi-pointe (making it the standing leg), then bringing the other leg to 5th position in front of the standing leg and finally turning (effectively, an unwinding motion). At the end of the rotation, the originally crossed-over foot in front should now be in 5th position behind. Common abbreviation of assemblé soutenu en tournant (Cecc.). This is known as a glissade en tourant in the Russian school. When done at the barre en demi-pointe to switch sides, only half a turn is done instead of a full turn, and the foot does not extend out into tendu. Differs from a détourné in that there is a repositioning of the feet on finishing (and a crossing action, if not initiated in 5th) vs. just a pivot to half turn.
Split A configuration of the legs in which the legs are extended in opposite directions, either to the side (straddle split) or with one leg forward and the other back (front split). This is employed in various movements, including grand jeté and arabesque penchée.
Supporting leg A term used by dancers and  teachers for the leg which  supports the body so that the  working leg is free to execute  a given  movement.
Sur le cou-de-pied (French pronunciation: [syʁ lə ku də pje]; literally ‘on the neck of the foot.’)  The arched working foot is placed wrapped at the part of the leg between the base of the calf and the beginning of the ankle. On the accent devant (front), the heel of the working foot is placed in front of the leg, while the toes point to the back, allowing the instep (cou-de-pied in French) of the working foot to hug the lower leg. On the accent derrière (back), the heel of the working leg is placed behind the leg with the toes pointing to the back. The action of alternating between devant and derrière is seen in a petit battement.
Temps (tahn)  To step. A sharp, springy action – in time.
Temps de cuisse (tahn duh kweess)  To place one foot in front on another, then jump with two feet and land on one foot.
Temps de fleche (tahn duh flesh) To jump from one foot to the other but in the air they pass each other with bent legs.
Temps levé (French pronunciation: [tɑ̃ l(ə)ve]; iterally ‘time raised.’) A term from the Cecchetti school indicating a hop on one foot while the other is raised in any position. The instep is fully arched when leaving the ground and the spring must come from the pointing of the toe and the extension of the leg after the demi-plié. In the Cecchetti method, the specifically indicates a spring from fifth position while raising one foot to sur le cou-de-pied. In the Russian and French schools, this is known as sissonne simple.
Temps levé sauté (French pronunciation: [tɑ̃ l(ə)ve sote]; literally ‘time raised jumped.’) A term from the Russian school. This can be executed with both feet from first, second, third, fourth, or fifth position starting with a demi-plié, leading to a jump in the air that lands with the feet in the same position as they started. (Otherwise known as simply a saut or sauté.) This can also be performed from one foot, while the other maintains the same position it had before starting the jump (i.e. the same as temps levé).
Temps lié (French pronunciation: [tɑ̃ lje]; ‘time linked.’) A term indicating the transfer of weight from one leg to another by shifting through to the position without any sort of gliding or sliding movement.
Temps lié sur les pointes [tahn Iyay sewr lay pwent] Connected movement on the points.
Temps releve (tahn rehl-leh-vay) To extend one leg with supporting leg bent, then, rise up on supporting leg to demi-pointe as other leg moves to the side.
Tendu (French pronunciation: [tɑ̃dy]; literally ‘stretched.’) Gradually extending the working leg to the front (tendu devant), side, or back, passing from flat to demi-pointe to point where only the toes are touching the floor (tendu à terre), or only the pointed toes are elevated (en l’air). A common abbreviation for battement tendu.
Tendue, double  (doo-bluh-tahn-dew) To extend the leg from a specific position in a certain direction with foot fully pointed, put heel on floor, stretch leg again point foot then close to original position.
Terre, à [a tehr] On the ground. This term  indicates: (1) that the  entire base of the  supporting foot or feet  touches the ground; (2)  that the foot usually  raised in a pose is to  remain on the ground with  the toes  extended.
Tire-bouchon (teer-boo-shon) A turn – the working leg is drawn up slowly to the side of the supporting leg as a turn is performed.
Tombé (French pronunciation: [tɔ̃be]; iterally ‘fallen.’)  The action of falling, typically used as a lead-in movement to a traveling step, e.g. pas de bourrée. A tombé en avant begins with a coupé to the front moving to a dégagé to fourth position devant, the extended foot coming down to the floor with the leg en plié, shifting the weight of the body onto the front leg and lifting the back leg off the floor in dégagé (to fourth derrière). A tombé through second starts with a dégagé of the leading leg to second position, the leading foot coming to the floor with the leg in plié, and the trailing leg lifting off the floor in dégagé to (the opposite-side) second position. A tombé en avant can also be initiated with a small sliding hop instead of a coupé. In the Vaganova school, the full term is sissonne ouverte tombée.
Tour (toor) This means to turn.
Tour de force [toor duh fawrss] An arresting, vital step; a feat of technical skill such as a series of brilliant pirouettes or a combination of outstanding  jumps and beats.
Tour en l’air [toor ahn lehr] Turn in the air. This is essentially a male dancer’s step although contemporary choreographers use this tour for girls. lt is a turn in the air in which the dancer rises straight into the air from a demi-plié,  makes a complete turn and  lands in the fifth position  with the feet reversed. The turn may be single, double or triple according to the  ability of the dancer. The  arms assist and the head must spot as in pirouettes. Tour en l’air may also be finished in various poses such as attitude, arabesque, grande seconde or on one knee. It may also be done in a series.
Tournant, en [ahn toor-NAHN] Turning. Indicates that  the body is to turn  while executing a given  step. As, for example,  in assemblé en  tournant.
Tours en l’air (French pronunciation: [tuʁz ɑ̃ l ɛːʁ]; literally ‘turn in the air.’) A jump, typically done by males, with a full rotation in the air. The landing can be on both feet, on one leg with the other extended in attitude or arabesque, or down on one knee as at the end of a variation. A single tour is a 360° rotation, a double is 720°. Vaslav Nijinsky was known to perform triple tours en l’air.
Tour lent (toor lehnt)  To turn slowly on one leg.
Triple Runs One big step, followed by two little steps, that can be done in a circle.
Trois [trwah] Three. As, for example, in  entrechat  trois.
Troisième [trwah-ZYEM] Third. As, for example, in  troisième  arabesque.
Turn-out This is the ability of the  dancer to turn his or her feet  and legs out from the hip  joints to a 90-degree  position. This turn-out, or  en-dehors, is one of the  essential principles of the  classical dance, giving the  dancer freedom of movement in  every  direction.
Turnout Rotation of the legs at the hips, resulting in knees and feet facing away from each other.
Tutu [tew-TEW] This is the short classical  ballet skirt made of many  layers of tarlatan or net. The  romantic tutu is the long skirt  reaching below the  calf.
Un  (uh) This means one.
Unieme (uh-zee-em) This means first.
Vaganova, Agrippina [ah-gree-PEE-nah vah-GAH-naw-vah] The greatest Russian  teacher of her day  (1879-1951). She was a  graduate of the St.  Petersburg Imperial Ballet  School, where she studied  under Ivanov, Vazem, Gerdt,  Legat and others. She was  accepted into the corps de  ballet of the Maryinski  Theatre in 1897 and became  a ballerina in 1915. She  left the stage in 1917 to  devote herself to teaching.  In 1921 she became a  teacher at the Leningrad  State Ballet School  (formerly the Imperial  Ballet School, St.  Petersburg) and began  developing the  instructional system that  later became known to the  world as the Vaganova  system. In 1934 she became  head of the Leningrad  Choreographic Technicum and  published her textbook  Fundamentals of the Classic  Dance Vaganova’s method has  become the basic method of  the entire Soviet  choreographic school. This  method is still being  developed by Vaganova’s  followers.
Variation [va-rya-SYAWN] Variation. A solo dance in a  classic  ballet.
Virtuoso A performer with great  technical  ability.
Vole (voh-lay)  This means to fly.
Working leg A term 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.