Slow and sustained movements; also, the section of a pas de deux in
which the ballerina, partnered by the danseur, displays her mastery of
A position in which the dancer stands on one leg with the other leg
extended in a straight line to the rear. The positions of the arms and
the height of the raised leg may vary.
A position in which the dancer stands on one leg, the other leg raised
behind the body with the knee bent. A similar position, but with the
leg placed in front of the body, may also be called an attitude.
The principal female dancer in a company. The term is misapplied when
used to designate any female dancer. A large company may have two or
more ballerinas, the chief one ranked as Prima ballerina.
The resilience, lightness, or spring of a dancer in leaping or jumping movements.
A kick, either high (grand battement) or low (petit battement), which may be executed in any direction.
Any action in which the legs beat together, usually when the dancer is in air.
A batterie movement, usually for the male. One leg kicks high to the
front or the back and is held in this extension until the supporting
leg swiftly leaves the floor and meets the raised leg in a beat or in
Changement de Pieds
A movement in which the dancer, starting in fifth position, jumps
upward and returns to the floor in fifth position but with the position
of the feet reversed. He might, for example, start with the right leg
in front and conclude with the right leg in back.
One who selects or invents the steps, movements, and patterns of a
ballet. He must relate these motions to the music, the theme abstract
or dramatic and the design of the production in order to make a ballet
with form, sequence, and purpose.
The last section of a pas de deux or of a full ballet.
Corps de Ballet
The chorus of a ballet company; also called the ensemble.
The male classical dancer, counterpart of the classical ballerina.
With the full weight of the body on the toes and the ball of the foot.
The unfolding of the leg, accomplished by slowly bending and then
straightening the knee as the leg is raised in an extension (to the
front, side, or back) from the floor.
A dance without plot, or that part of a dramatic ballet composed of a series of short dances without plot.
To the back.
To the front.
Inward, toward the body.
Outward, away from the body.
A jump directly upward, with the body maintaining a straight line and
with multiple changes of positions of feet in air. An entrechat is an
elaboration of the changement de pieds.
Five Positions of the Feet
The five classical positions of the feet. Every ballet step or movement
must begin with one of these positions and return to one of them.
A turn or spin on one leg, the body being propelled by a whipping
motion of the free leg. It is usually performed by a female dancer.
A gliding step starting from fifth position, opening into second
position, and closing in fifth. It may be held to the floor or used as
a low leap.
A leap in which the dancer propels himself with a pushoff from one leg, covers space in air, and lands on the other leg.
A step; also used to designate types of dances, as pas seul (solo) and pas de deux (dance for two).
Pas de Bourrée
A traveling step in which the dancer may move in any direction on
demi-pointe or on pointe. The calves are held as close together as
possible while the dancer executes a series of swift miniature steps.
Pas de Chat
A leap, starting from a plié in fifth position. The leading leg
is drawn up with bent knee, followed almost immediately by the other
leg. At the peak of the leap, both knees are bent outward to the side,
and the toes are nearly touching. A gargouillade is the same movement,
except that the leading leg does a rond de jamb en dehors and the
following leg a rond de jamb en dedans while in air.
Pas de Deux
A duet. A classical grand pas de deux consists of an entrée,
adagio, two solosone executed by the ballerina; the other done by the
danseurand a coda.
A turn of the body done while standing on one leg, the other leg being
held in any one of a number of traditional positions. A pirouette is
done on demi-pointe by the male, on pointe by the female, dancer.
A bending of the knees with hips, legs, and feet turned outward.
The tip of the toe.
Port de Bras
The positions and movements of the arms.
To rise onto pointe or demi-pointe.
Rond de Jambe
A rotary movement of the leg. It can be done in a number of ways, such
as on the floor with knee straight, or in air with a circular rotation
of the knee from bent to straight.
Steps done on the ground.
A turn. A pirouette is one kind of tour.
Tour en l'Air
A turn done in air. The dancer springs upward from fifth position,
makes one or more complete turns, and returns to the floor in fifth
The body positions of classical ballet in which the limbs are turned
out from the hips at a 180 angle. Ballet beginners start with a less
The fluffy skirt worn by the female dancer. In ballets of the romantic
style, the tutu falls to below the calf. In the later, classical style
ballet, it is short enough to reveal the legs completely.
Usually a solo dance, or pas seul.