top of page

Ballet Online Studio


Jacklyn Dougherty Cloche, en [ahn klawsh]. Like a bell. Refers to grands battements executed continuously devant and derriere 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.  Colle [kaw-LAY]. Adhering, glued. Both legs are kept tightly together in mid-air in a jump. See Temps de poisson.  Compose, composee [ kawn-poh-ZAY ]. Composite or compound. As, for example, in ballonne compose.  Compound step. A step made up of two or more steps or portions of steps under one name. Examples are ballonne compose (made up of ballonne - chasse movement and ferme); sissonne doublee (made up of sissonne ouverte, coupe and assemble).  Conditional position. A term of the Russian School. It refers to a position sur le cou-de-pied in which the foot is pointed on the ankle.She Cou- de-pied, sur le (Russian School).  Contretemps [kawn-truh-TAHN]. Beating against time. A term of the Cecchetti method and the French School. This is a compound step consisting of a coupe dessous, chasse efface en avant, ferme, temps leve and chasse passe croise en avant. It is executed quickly and prior to the beat of the music. It is a very useful step for traveling to the side. Fourth position L foot back and pointe tendue. Raise the L foot slightly off the ground, spring off the R foot and jump forward on the L foot— bending the knee— so that the L foot falls in a short fourth position front. Bring the R foot sur le cou-de-pied devant and immediately slide it— bending the knee— to the second or fourth position, transferring the weight to it. Close the L foot to the fifth position back, keeping the knees bent. Finish with a demi-contretemps.  Contretemps, demi- [ duh-MEE-kawn-truh-TAHN ]. Half-beating against time. A term of the Cecchetti method and the French School. Demi- contretemps is the second half of the full contretemps and is used mostly as a preparatory step. It is composed of a temps leve and a chasse passe croise en avant. Fifth position R foot front. Spring upward off the R foot and bring the L foot sur le cou-de-pied derriere. Come to the ground on the R foot in demi-plie and slide the L foot forward with a chasse passe croise en avant. Demi- contretemps may also be executed from the fourth position, L foot back, pointe tendue.  Corps [kawr]. Body.  Corps de ballet [ kawr duh ba-LAY ]. The dancers in a ballet who do not appear as soloists.  Corps de face [kawr duhfahss ]. Body facing front.  Corps penche de cote [kawr pahn-SHAY duh koh-TAY ]. Body bending to the side.    Cou-de-pied, sur le (Cecchetti method) [sewr luh koo-duh-PYAY ]. In the Cecchetti method, sur le cou-de-pied devant is the position of the working foot placed with the outside face of the heel in front of the supporting foot just above the ankle bone with all five toes resting on the floor sur la demi-pointe. Sur le cou-de-pied derriere is the same position with the inside face of the heel placed behind the supporting foot just above the ankle joint.  Cou-de-pied, sur le (Russian School) [sewr luh koo-duh-PYAY ]. In the Russian School there are two positions sur le cou-de-pied devant: the wrapped or basic position and the pointed or conditional position. There is one basic position sur le cou-de-pied derriere. The foot is completely stretched in all positions. 1. Sur le cou-de-pied devant in the wrapped or basic position is the position of one foot placed between the ankle and base of the supporting leg just under the calf muscle. The sole, with instep stretched and toes pointed, encircles the ankle so that the pointed toes are behind the heel of the supporting foot. This position is used for petits battements sur le cou-de-pied and battements frappes. 2. In sur le cou-de-pied devant in the pointed or conditional position, the pointed foot is placed so that the side of the small toe touches the supporting leg above the ankle joint. This position is used for battements fondus, battements soutenus, sissonne simple, developpes, etc. There is also a high conditional position in which the pointed toe is placed halfway up the shin bone (this is used for pirouettes) and a low conditional position with the small toe of the working foot touching the edge of the slipper of the supporting foot. The low conditional position is always done on point or demi-pointe and is used for battements battus. 3. In the basic position sur le cou-de-pied derriere, the inside face of the heel is pressed against the supporting leg just below the base of the calf muscle with the foot completely stretched and the toes pointing downward.        Couronne, en [ ahn koo-RAWN]. In the shape of a crown. A term of the French School for a position of the arms rounded above the head. As, for example, in the fifth position of the arms.  Couru [ koo-REW ]. Ballet running movement.    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 (see Battement tendu).  Csardas [ CHAHR-dahsh ]. The national dance of Hungary. It consists of two movements, lassu (slow) and friska (fast). It was first introduced in ballet as a character dance in the first act of Saint-Leon’sCoppe/za in 1870.  Cuisse [kweess]. Thigh  Danse [ dahnss ]. Dance.  Danse de caractere [ 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.  Danse d’ecole [ dahnss day-KAWL]. Dance of the school. The classical style. See Ballet d’ecole.  Danseur [dahn-SUHR]. Male dancer.  Danseur, premier [ pruh-MYAY dahn-SUHR]. First dancer. A leading male dancer of a company. Danseur etoile, premier [ pruh-MYAY dahn-SUHR ay-TWAHL]. First star dancer. The highest rank in the cadre of the Paris Opera for a male dancer.  Danseur noble [ dahn-SUHR NAW-bluh]. Noble dancer. A premier danseur excelling in the classical style.  Danseuse [ dahn-SUHZ ]. Female dancer.  Danseuse, premiere [ pruh-MYEHR dahn-SUHZ ]. First dancer. A leading female dancer in a company. The French term for a ballerina next in rank below premiere danseuse etoile.  Danseuse etoile, premiere [ pruh-MYEHR dahn-SUHZ ay-TWAHL]. First star dancer. The highest rank in the cadre of the Paris Opera for a female dancer.  Deboite [day-bwah-TAY]. Disjointed. A term applied to an emboite sur les pointes executed en arriere. Deboites travel backward, the front foot swishing out and closing at the back. See Emboite en reculant.  Deboules [ day-boo-LAY ]. Rollings like a ball. A term of the French School for a series of demi-tours executed alternately on each foot, moving forward in a single direction. When turning to the right the first half-turn will be on the R foot; then the L foot steps forward and completes the turn. The feet are held very close together in the first position and the turns are done as quickly as possible. Deboules are done on the points or demi-pointes. See also Chaines; Tour, petit.  Decor [ day-KAWR ]. Decoration. The scenery and properties used in a ballet.   Dedans, en [ahn duh-DAHN]. Inward. In steps and exercises the term en dedans indicates that the leg, in a position a terre or en Fair, moves in a circular direction, counterclockwise from back to front. As, for example, in ond de jambe a terre en dedans. In pirouettes the term indicates that a pirouette is made inward toward the supporting leg.  Defile [day-fee-LAY\. This is a term used at the Paris Opera for the appearance of the entire ballet company on the stage. On rare occasions the partition dividing the famous “Foyer de la Danse” from the back of the stage is removed for the defile of dancers. The entire company, from the eleves to the etoiles, appears on the stage. The defile of dancers is as follows: (1) Eleves (apprentice dancers; also known as “les petits rats”). (2) Premiers quadrilles, seconds quadrilles (corps de ballet). (3) Coryphees (leaders of the corps de ballet). (4) Grands sujets, petits sujets (soloists). (5) Premieres danseuses (ballerinas). (6) Premieres danseuses etoiles (prima ballerinas). Each “cadre” (framework or division) has its corresponding number of male dancers also.    Dehors, en [ahn duh-AWR]. Outward. In steps and exercises the term en dehors indicates that the leg, in a position a terre or en Fair, moves in a circular direction, clockwise. As, for example, in rond de jambe a terre en dehors. In pirouettes the term indicates that a pirouette is made outward toward the working leg.    Derriere [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 (for example, glissade derriere), the addition of derriere implies that the working foot is closed at the back.  Descendant, en [ ahn day-sahn-DAHN] . Coming down. A term of the French School to imply that the working leg passes from back to front so that the dancer moves downstage, or that a step travels in a forward direction.  Dessous [ duh-SOO ]. Under. Indicates that the working foot passes behind the supporting foot. As, for example, in assemble dessous.  Dessus [ duh-SEW ]. Over. Indicates that the working foot passes in front of the supporting foot. As, for example, in assemble dessus.  Detire [ day-tee-RAY ]. Drawn out. A term of the French School for a drawing out or stretching of the leg at the bar. Fifth position R foot front. Raise the R leg in a high retire devant and take the inward side of the heel of the R foot with the R hand. Demi-plie on the L leg and stretch the R leg and arm forward. Carry the stretched R leg to the second position as high as possible while straightening the L knee and still holding the heel. The exercise may also be done with the hand crossed under the raised leg so that the heel is held on the outward side. See Pied dans la main.  Detourne [day-toor-NAY]. Turned aside. A detourne is a pivot turn on both points or demi-pointes. It is a complete turn toward the back foot and reverses the position of the feet. See Pique detourne; Temps de pointe detourne.  Detourne, demi- [ duh-MEE-day-toor-NAY ]. Half-detourne. This is a half-turn in which the dancer turns toward the back foot, bringing the back foot in the front, and lowering the heels on completing the half turn.  Detourne a terre [day-toor-NAY a tehr ]. Turned aside on the ground. A term of the French School. From the fourth position croise, L foot back and pointe tendue, the dancer turns to the left by little shifts of the R heel, making a demi-tour and finishing with the L leg pointe tendue, croise devant.  Detourne en Fair [day-toor-NAY ahn lehr]. Turned aside in the air. A term of the French School. This is a movement of adagio. From a pose in arabesque croisee, the dancer turns en dehors by small shifts of the heel while rotating the raised leg in the hip socket and finishing in the pose croise devant. See Degage en tournant.       Divertissement [dee-vehr-tees-MAHN]. Diversion, enjoyment. A suite of numbers called “entrees,” inserted into a classic ballet. These short dances are calculated to display the talents of individuals or groups of dancers.  Dos a dos [ doh za doh ]. Back to back.  Dos au public [ doh oh pew-BLEEK]. Back to the audience.  Double [ DOO-bluh ]. Double. As, for example, in pirouette double (a double pirouette).  Double, doublee [ doo-BLAY ]. Doubled. As, for example, in sissonne doublee. Double work. All movements in which one dancer is partnered or supported by another. See Adage; Enlevement; Pas de deux.   Ecole [ ay-KAWL ]. School. As in ecole frangaise, ecole russe.   Elance, elancee [ ay-lahn-SAY ]. Darting. When this term is used with a step it indicates that the step is to be done in a darting manner. Any jump performed elance is done just above the surface of the floor with one or both legs strongly stretched and toes well pointed. For example, an assemble dessus traveled to the side would be an assemble elance.  Elancer [ ay-lahn-SAY ]. To dart. One of the seven movements in dancing.  Elevation [ay-lay-va-SYAWN]. Elevation 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 jetes 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’elevation 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- plie.  Elevation, pas d’ [ pah day-lay-va-SYAWN]. Step of elevation. Any movement which involves a jump or spring.  Eleve [ay -LEV]. Pupil, student. The apprentice dancers at the Paris Opera are known as “les eleves” or “les petits rats.”  Emboite [ahn-bwah-TAY\. Fitted together, “boxed.” The name is derived from the close fitting of the feet like a lid upon a box. It is a type of jete done without a brush of the working foot. Fifth position R foot back. Demi-plie, spring into the air, bringing the R foot forward with knee slightly bent; land in demi-plie on the L foot with the R foot in front of the L ankle. The step is then done to the other side by springing on the R foot and landing with the L foot in front of the R ankle. The step travels en avant and alternates from one leg to the other. The bent leg must move beyond the supporting leg during each change. The movement may also be executed en arriere by bringing the free leg from front to back on each change. The term emboite as described above is used in the Russian School and the Cecchetti method. The French School terms this step “petit jete.” The French emboite is done only sur les pointes or demi-pointes. See Emboite sur les pointes.     En [ ahn ]. In; while. For all expressions beginning with “en,” see the following word. For instance, for the definition of “En arriere” see “Arriere, en.”  Enchainement [ ahn-shen-MAHN ]. Linking. A combination of two or more steps arranged to fit a phrase of music.  En-dehors [ ahn duh-AWR]. A term of the French School for turn-out ( q-v ).  Enlevement [ahn-lev-MAHAf]. Carrying off. The male dancer lifts his partner in the air in a step or pose.   Entree [ ahn-TRAY ]. Entrance. The term is given to the arrival of a dancer or group of dancers who perform a number in a divertissement. The term also applies to the beginning of a grand pas de deux in which the danseuse and danseur make their entrance. See Pas de deux, grand.  Entrelace, entrelacee [ ahn-truh-la-SAY ]. Interlaced. For example, jete entrelace.  Enveloppe [ ahn-vuh-law-PAY ]. Enveloped. A term of the French School. Enveloppe is a rotation of the body turning en dedans on the supporting leg (either releve or saute) while the other leg envelops or encircles it. Enveloppe is used to give momentum to inward turns. Fifth position R foot front. Raise the L leg in back a la demi-hauteur and execute a grand rond de jambe en dedans, closing the L foot on the R shinbone and turning one complete turn to the right. The L foot may finish retire devant or may be brought back into attitude or arabesque.   Equilibre [ ay-kee-LEE-bruh ]. Equilibrium; aplomb. (1) The ability of the dancer to balance and hold a pose. (2) The balancing of the body on demi- pointe or full point in any required position.  Etendre [ay-TAHN-druh]. To stretch. One of the seven movements in dancing.  Etendu [ ay-tahn-DEW ]. Outstretched, extended. The second half of a plie when the legs straighten.  toile [ay-TWAHL]. Star. A title given to certain premieres danseuses and premiers danseurs of the Paris Opera (premiere danseuse etoile or premier danseur etoile) to indicate that they are the leading dancers. See Defile. Exercices a 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.  Exercices au milieu [ eg-zehr-SEESS oh mee-LYUH\. Exercises in the centre, that is, centre practice. A group of exercises similar to those at the bar but performed without the support of the bar in the centre of the practice room. Exercices au milieu help the dancer to acquire uprightness and balance. A more popular term for these exercises is centre practice. Extended positions of the arms. When the arms and hands are held straight in any position, the position is said to be extended or ouverte. For example, the fifth position en haut, taken with the hands turned out so that the arms form a V, is called cinquieme position ouverte.  Extension [eks-tahn-SYAWN]. Term used to describe the ability of a dancer to raise and hold her extended leg en Pair. A dancer is said to have a good extension if, when doing a developpe a la seconde, she is able to hold and sustain the raised leg above shoulder level.   Face, en [ ahnfahss ]. Opposite (the audience); facing the audience.  Failli [fah-YEE]. Giving way. A fleeting movement done on one count. Fifth position croise, R foot front. Demi-plie, spring into the air with the feet held close together and, while in the air, turn the body efface so that the L shoulder comes forward and the head turns toward the L shoulder. Land on the R foot in demi-plie with the L leg opened in efface derriere at 45 degrees; immediately slide the L foot through the first position to the fourth position croise in demi-plie with the weight on the L foot, L knee bent and body inclined to the left.  Faux, fausse [foh,fohss ]. False.  Faux entrechat cinq ramasse [foh zahn-truh-SHAH senk ra-ma- SAY\. False entrechat cinq picked up. Same as sissonne fermee.  Ferme, fermee [fehr-MAY ]. Closed. Indicates that both feet are in a closed position or that the feet at the end of a step are brought to a closed position. As, for example, in position fermee, sissonne fermee.  Finale. The final section of a classic ballet. See Coda.  Finger turns. These are turns in which the girl partner is supported by the boy. The boy stands in back of the girl, his R hand raised above the girl’s head with the index finger pointed downward. The girl grasps his finger with her R hand. The boy’s L hand is held forward to the left side of the girl with her L hand resting on it. The girl does a sous-sus to the fifth position on point, takes her R foot to retire and executes a developpe croise devant. From this position she pushes from the boy’s L hand, executes a fouette rond de jambe en tournant and continues turning with a series of pirouettes, still holding the boy’s index finger. At the completion of the pirouettes she stops herself by quickly grasping the boy’s L hand. See Fouette rond de jambe en tournant en dehors (supported).  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. Fixed points of the practice room or stage (Cecchetti method). See illustrations, p. 138. In the Cecchetti method the corners and centre of each side of the practice room are numbered to help the dancer develop a sense of direction. The dancer stands in the centre of the room, facing side 5, which is the front of the room or audience. The numbers are used to indicate the direction to be taken by the dancer in a given step or pose.  Fixed points of the practice room or stage (Russian School [Vaga-nova]). To determine the direction for a movement or a pose or to indicate the degree of the turn of the body, the orners and the sides of the practice room are numbered in the Russian School as well. The dancer stands in the centre of the room facing side 1, which is the front of the room or audience.  Flechir [flay-SHEER ]. To bend. As, for example, in flechir les genoux (bend the knees).  Flic-flac \fleek-FLAK ]. A crack, as of a whip. A term of the Russian School. A flicking or lashing movement done in exercises at the bar and in the centre of the room. It is composed of whipping movements from second position at 45 degrees through the fifth position front and back (or back and front) close to the supporting leg; then the leg is opened again to the second position at 45 degrees. Flic-flac is performed en dedans, en dehors and en tournant. It may also be performed with a rise to the demi-pointe on the final extension to second position. En dedans: From the second position en Fair at 45 degrees, whip the foot downward, bending the knee and brushing the ball of the foot along the floor passing through fifth position front and finishing with the pointed toe crossed in front, beyond sur le cou-de-pied; throw the pointed foot outward toward second position without brushing the floor; fling the foot downward through fifth position, brushing the floor and finishing with the pointed toe crossed behind, beyond sur le cou-de-pied. The foot is then opened to the second position en Fair at 45 degrees. En dehors: Reverse the movement, crossing behind, then in front of, the supporting ankle.  Flic-flac en tournant [fleek-FLAK ahn toor-NAHN ] . Flic-flac, turning. The turn may be en dedans or en dehors. The “flic” is done on the whole foot and the “flac” on demi-pointe. En dehors: From the second position en Fair at 45 degrees, the leg is whipped downward, bending the knee and brushing the ball of the foot through the fifth position so that the pointed foot is crossed in back, beyond sur le cou-de-pied. The dancer then rises on the demi-pointe of the supporting leg and makes a full turn en dehors while the working foot opens slightly and brushes along the floor to cross in front of the supporting leg. The working leg is then immediately thrown out to the second position at 45 degrees. En dedans: This is done in the same manner, crossing the working foot in front of, then in back of, the supporting leg and turning en dedans on demi-pointe. During the turn, either en dehors or en dedans, the arms provide the force. They are lowered from the second position to the preparatory position, then raised to the first position and opened to the second position.  Fondu, fondue [faum-DEW ]. Sinking down. 1) Ballet term used to describe the lowering of the body.  Dancers lower the body, by bending the knee of the supporting leg.  2) Fondu is the ending of a step when the working leg is placed on the ground with a soft and gradual movement.   Frappe, frappee [fra-PAY ]. Struck. See Battement frappe.  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 Ecole de Danse de l’Opera was founded in 1713 and is now known as the Ecole  Galop [ga-LOH]  Nineteenth-century dance in 2/4 time.  Finale to a series of ballet divertissements.  Gargouillade [gar-goo-YAD]. Gurgling or rumbling. In the Cecchetti method and the French School the step resembles a pas de chat with a double rond de jambe, actually a rond de jambe and a half with the commencing leg. A brilliant executant will also do a double rond de jambe with the closing leg. The step may be done either en dehors or en dedans.  Gargouillade (Russian School) [gar-goo-YAD]. See Rond de jambe double.  Gargouillade en dedans (Cecchetti method) [ gar-goo-YAD ahn duh-DAHN]. Gargouillade inward. Fifth position R foot back. Execute a double rond de jambe en Fair en dedans a la demi -hauteur with the R leg and finish with the R foot at the side of the L knee. Spring upward and to the right off the L foot, landing in demi-plie on the R foot and bringing the L foot to the side of the R knee. (A double rond de jambe en Fair en dehors without the final extension a la seconde may be executed with the L foot before bringing it to the side of the knee.) Close the L foot in demi-plie in the fifth position front.  Gargouillade en dehors (Cecchetti method) [ gar-goo-YAD ahn duh-AWR]. Gargouillade outward. Fifth position R foot front. Execute a double rond de jambe en Fair en dehors a la demi-hauteur with the R leg and finish with the R foot at the L knee. Spring upward and to the right off the L foot, landing in a demi-plie on the R foot and bringing the pointed L foot to the side of the R knee. (A double rond de jambe en Fair en dedans without the final extension a la seconde may be executed with the L foot before bringing it to the R knee.) Close the L foot to the fifth position front in demi-plie. This step is often preceded by a coupe dessous.  Gargouillade vole (Cecchetti method) [gar-goo-YAD vaw-LAY]. Gargouillade flown. Fifth position R foot back. Execute a double rond de jambe en Fair en dedans a la demi-hauteur with the R leg and finish with the R foot in retire at the side of the L knee. Spring off the L foot onto the R and land in demi-plie sur place, turning the body efface. As the R foot comes to the ground, draw the L point upward to the side of the R knee and open it to the fourth position en Fair, pointing to the left front corner of the room. Immediately lower the L foot to the fourth position, pointe tendue, body remaining efface. 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.  Gauche, a [a gohsh ]. To the left.  Gavotte [ ga-VAWT ]. This was originally a peasant dance but became a fashionable court dance during the reigns of Louis XIV and XV. It was later revived by Gardel at the Paris Opera, where it became the basis for brilliant solos.   Gigue [zheeg]. Jig. An early eighteenth-century dance in 2/4 time.    Glisse [glee-SAY]. Glided, gliding. As, for example, in battement glisse.  Glisser [glee-SAY]. To glide. One of the seven movements in dancing.  Grand, grande [grahn, grahnd ]. Big, large. As, for example, in grand battement.    Haut, en [ahn oh]. High. Used to indicate a high position of the arms. As, for example, in cinquieme position en haut.  Hauteur, a la Demi [a lah oh-TUHR]. To the height half.  A position in which the working leg is raised at right angles to the hip, half.    Hortensia [awr-tahn-SYAH]. 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 in the air several times before landing with the feet apart again. The legs do not beat.      Jambe [ zhahnb ]. Leg.  Jarret [ zha-REH ]. Ham (bend of the knee).  Jarrete [ zhar-TAY ]. Close-legged, knock-kneed. The opposite of arque, or bowlegged (q.u). When the jarrete dancer stands in the first position the knee joints touch or nearly touch, the calves touch but the heels are separated. This type of dancer is usually slightly built, extremely loose-limbed and supple and has high, beautiful insteps which are often weak. Jete, grand [grahn zhuh-TAY ]. Large jete. In this step the legs are thrown to 90 degrees with a corresponding high jump. It is done forward to attitude croisee or effacee, and to all the arabesques. It may also be done backward with the leg raised either croise or efface devant. Grand jete is always preceded by a preliminary movement such as a glissade, pas coura or coupe.
Jacklyn Dougherty

Cloche, en [ahn klawsh]. Like a bell. Refers to grands battements executed continuously devant and derriere 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.


Colle [kaw-LAY]. Adhering, glued. Both legs are kept tightly together in mid-air in a jump. See Temps de poisson.


Compose, composee [ kawn-poh-ZAY ]. Composite or compound. As, for example, in ballonne compose.


Compound step. A step made up of two or more steps or portions of steps under one name. Examples are ballonne compose (made up of ballonne - chasse movement and ferme); sissonne doublee (made up of sissonne ouverte, coupe and assemble).


Conditional position. A term of the Russian School. It refers to a position sur le cou-de-pied in which the foot is pointed on the ankle.She Cou- de-pied, sur le (Russian School).


Contretemps [kawn-truh-TAHN]. Beating against time. A term of the Cecchetti method and the French School. This is a compound step consisting of a coupe dessous, chasse efface en avant, ferme, temps leve and chasse passe croise en avant. It is executed quickly and prior to the beat of the music. It is a very useful step for traveling to the side. Fourth position L foot back and pointe tendue. Raise the L foot slightly off the ground, spring off the R foot and jump forward on the L foot— bending the knee— so that the L foot falls in a short fourth position front. Bring the R foot sur le cou-de-pied devant and immediately slide it— bending the knee— to the second or fourth position, transferring the weight to it. Close the L foot to the fifth position back, keeping the knees bent. Finish with a demi-contretemps.


Contretemps, demi- [ duh-MEE-kawn-truh-TAHN ]. Half-beating against time. A term of the Cecchetti method and the French School. Demi- contretemps is the second half of the full contretemps and is used mostly as a preparatory step. It is composed of a temps leve and a chasse passe croise en avant. Fifth position R foot front. Spring upward off the R foot and bring the L foot sur le cou-de-pied derriere. Come to the ground on the R foot in demi-plie and slide the L foot forward with a chasse passe croise en avant. Demi- contretemps may also be executed from the fourth position, L foot back, pointe tendue.


Corps [kawr]. Body.


Corps de ballet [ kawr duh ba-LAY ]. The dancers in a ballet who do not appear as soloists.


Corps de face [kawr duhfahss ]. Body facing front.


Corps penche de cote [kawr pahn-SHAY duh koh-TAY ]. Body bending to the side.




Cou-de-pied, sur le (Cecchetti method) [sewr luh koo-duh-PYAY ].

In the Cecchetti method, sur le cou-de-pied devant is the position of the working foot placed with the outside face of the heel in front of the supporting foot just above the ankle bone with all five toes resting on the floor sur la demi-pointe. Sur le cou-de-pied derriere is the same position with the inside face of the heel placed behind the supporting foot just above the ankle joint.


Cou-de-pied, sur le (Russian School) [sewr luh koo-duh-PYAY ]. In the Russian School there are two positions sur le cou-de-pied devant: the wrapped or basic position and the pointed or conditional position. There is one basic position sur le cou-de-pied derriere. The foot is completely stretched in all positions.

1. Sur le cou-de-pied devant in the wrapped or basic position is the position of one foot placed between the ankle and base of the supporting leg just under the calf muscle. The sole, with instep stretched and toes pointed, encircles the ankle so that the pointed toes are behind the heel of the supporting foot. This position is used for petits battements sur le cou-de-pied and battements frappes.

2. In sur le cou-de-pied devant in the pointed or conditional position, the pointed foot is placed so that the side of the small toe touches the supporting leg above the ankle joint. This position is used for battements fondus, battements soutenus, sissonne simple, developpes, etc. There is also a high conditional position in which the pointed toe is placed halfway up the shin bone (this is used for pirouettes) and a low conditional position with the small toe of the working foot touching the edge of the slipper of the supporting foot. The low conditional position is always done on point or demi-pointe and is used for battements battus.

3. In the basic position sur le cou-de-pied derriere, the inside face of the heel is pressed against the supporting leg just below the base of the calf muscle with the foot completely stretched and the toes pointing downward.








Couronne, en [ ahn koo-RAWN]. In the shape of a crown. A term of the French School for a position of the arms rounded above the head. As, for example, in the fifth position of the arms.


Couru [ koo-REW ]. Ballet running movement.




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 (see Battement tendu).


Csardas [ CHAHR-dahsh ]. The national dance of Hungary. It consists of two movements, lassu (slow) and friska (fast). It was first introduced in ballet as a character dance in the first act of Saint-Leon’sCoppe/za in 1870.


Cuisse [kweess]. Thigh


Danse [ dahnss ]. Dance.


Danse de caractere [ 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.


Danse d’ecole [ dahnss day-KAWL]. Dance of the school. The classical style. See Ballet d’ecole.


Danseur [dahn-SUHR]. Male dancer.


Danseur, premier [ pruh-MYAY dahn-SUHR]. First dancer. A leading male dancer of a company.

Danseur etoile, premier [ pruh-MYAY dahn-SUHR ay-TWAHL]. First star dancer. The highest rank in the cadre of the Paris Opera for a male dancer.


Danseur noble [ dahn-SUHR NAW-bluh]. Noble dancer. A premier danseur excelling in the classical style.


Danseuse [ dahn-SUHZ ]. Female dancer.


Danseuse, premiere [ pruh-MYEHR dahn-SUHZ ]. First dancer. A leading female dancer in a company. The French term for a ballerina next in rank below premiere danseuse etoile.


Danseuse etoile, premiere [ pruh-MYEHR dahn-SUHZ ay-TWAHL]. First star dancer. The highest rank in the cadre of the Paris Opera for a female dancer.


Deboite [day-bwah-TAY]. Disjointed. A term applied to an emboite sur les pointes executed en arriere. Deboites travel backward, the front foot swishing out and closing at the back. See Emboite en reculant.


Deboules [ day-boo-LAY ]. Rollings like a ball. A term of the French School for a series of demi-tours executed alternately on each foot, moving forward in a single direction. When turning to the right the first half-turn will be on the R foot; then the L foot steps forward and completes the turn. The feet are held very close together in the first position and the turns are done as quickly as possible. Deboules are done on the points or demi-pointes. See also Chaines; Tour, petit.


Decor [ day-KAWR ]. Decoration. The scenery and properties used in a ballet.



Dedans, en [ahn duh-DAHN]. Inward. In steps and exercises the term en dedans indicates that the leg, in a position a terre or en Fair, moves in a circular direction, counterclockwise from back to front. As, for example, in ond de jambe a terre en dedans. In pirouettes the term indicates that a pirouette is made inward toward the supporting leg.


Defile [day-fee-LAY\. This is a term used at the Paris Opera for the appearance of the entire ballet company on the stage. On rare occasions the partition dividing the famous “Foyer de la Danse” from the back of the stage is removed for the defile of dancers. The entire company, from the eleves to the etoiles, appears on the stage. The defile of dancers is as follows: (1) Eleves (apprentice dancers; also known as “les petits rats”). (2) Premiers quadrilles, seconds quadrilles (corps de ballet). (3) Coryphees (leaders of the corps de ballet). (4) Grands sujets, petits sujets (soloists). (5) Premieres danseuses (ballerinas). (6) Premieres danseuses etoiles (prima ballerinas). Each “cadre” (framework or division) has its corresponding number of male dancers also.




Dehors, en [ahn duh-AWR]. Outward. In steps and exercises the term en dehors indicates that the leg, in a position a terre or en Fair, moves in a circular direction, clockwise. As, for example, in rond de jambe a terre en dehors. In pirouettes the term indicates that a pirouette is made outward toward the working leg.




Derriere [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 (for example, glissade derriere), the addition of derriere implies that the working foot is closed at the back.


Descendant, en [ ahn day-sahn-DAHN] . Coming down. A term of the French School to imply that the working leg passes from back to front so that the dancer moves downstage, or that a step travels in a forward direction.


Dessous [ duh-SOO ]. Under. Indicates that the working foot passes behind the supporting foot. As, for example, in assemble dessous.


Dessus [ duh-SEW ]. Over. Indicates that the working foot passes in front of the supporting foot. As, for example, in assemble dessus.


Detire [ day-tee-RAY ]. Drawn out. A term of the French School for a drawing out or stretching of the leg at the bar. Fifth position R foot front.

Raise the R leg in a high retire devant and take the inward side of the heel of the R foot with the R hand. Demi-plie on the L leg and stretch the R leg and arm forward. Carry the stretched R leg to the second position as high as possible while straightening the L knee and still holding the heel. The exercise may also be done with the hand crossed under the raised leg so that the heel is held on the outward side. See Pied dans la main.


Detourne [day-toor-NAY]. Turned aside. A detourne is a pivot turn on both points or demi-pointes. It is a complete turn toward the back foot and reverses the position of the feet. See Pique detourne; Temps de pointe detourne.


Detourne, demi- [ duh-MEE-day-toor-NAY ]. Half-detourne. This is a half-turn in which the dancer turns toward the back foot, bringing the back foot in the front, and lowering the heels on completing the half turn.


Detourne a terre [day-toor-NAY a tehr ]. Turned aside on the ground. A term of the French School. From the fourth position croise, L foot back and pointe tendue, the dancer turns to the left by little shifts of the R heel, making a demi-tour and finishing with the L leg pointe tendue, croise devant.


Detourne en Fair [day-toor-NAY ahn lehr]. Turned aside in the air. A term of the French School. This is a movement of adagio. From a pose in arabesque croisee, the dancer turns en dehors by small shifts of the heel while rotating the raised leg in the hip socket and finishing in the pose croise devant. See Degage en tournant.







Divertissement [dee-vehr-tees-MAHN]. Diversion, enjoyment. A suite of numbers called “entrees,” inserted into a classic ballet. These short dances are calculated to display the talents of individuals or groups of dancers.


Dos a dos [ doh za doh ]. Back to back.


Dos au public [ doh oh pew-BLEEK]. Back to the audience.


Double [ DOO-bluh ]. Double. As, for example, in pirouette double (a double pirouette).


Double, doublee [ doo-BLAY ]. Doubled. As, for example, in sissonne doublee.

Double work. All movements in which one dancer is partnered or supported by another. See Adage; Enlevement; Pas de deux.



Ecole [ ay-KAWL ]. School. As in ecole frangaise, ecole russe.



Elance, elancee [ ay-lahn-SAY ]. Darting. When this term is used with a step it indicates that the step is to be done in a darting manner. Any jump performed elance is done just above the surface of the floor with one or both legs strongly stretched and toes well pointed. For example, an assemble dessus traveled to the side would be an assemble elance.


Elancer [ ay-lahn-SAY ]. To dart. One of the seven movements in dancing.


Elevation [ay-lay-va-SYAWN]. Elevation 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 jetes 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’elevation 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- plie.


Elevation, pas d’ [ pah day-lay-va-SYAWN]. Step of elevation. Any movement which involves a jump or spring.


Eleve [ay -LEV]. Pupil, student. The apprentice dancers at the Paris Opera are known as “les eleves” or “les petits rats.”


Emboite [ahn-bwah-TAY\. Fitted together, “boxed.” The name is derived from the close fitting of the feet like a lid upon a box. It is a type of jete done without a brush of the working foot. Fifth position R foot back. Demi-plie, spring into the air, bringing the R foot forward with knee slightly bent; land in demi-plie on the L foot with the R foot in front of the L ankle. The step is then done to the other side by springing on the R foot and landing with the L foot in front of the R ankle. The step travels en avant and alternates from one leg to the other. The bent leg must move beyond the supporting leg during each change. The movement may also be executed en arriere by bringing the free leg from front to back on each change. The term emboite as described above is used in the Russian School and the Cecchetti method. The French School terms this step “petit jete.” The French emboite is done only sur les pointes or demi-pointes. See Emboite sur les pointes.





En [ ahn ]. In; while. For all expressions beginning with “en,” see the following word. For instance, for the definition of “En arriere” see “Arriere, en.”


Enchainement [ ahn-shen-MAHN ]. Linking. A combination of two or more steps arranged to fit a phrase of music.


En-dehors [ ahn duh-AWR]. A term of the French School for turn-out ( q-v ).


Enlevement [ahn-lev-MAHAf]. Carrying off. The male dancer lifts his partner in the air in a step or pose.



Entree [ ahn-TRAY ]. Entrance. The term is given to the arrival of a dancer or group of dancers who perform a number in a divertissement. The term also applies to the beginning of a grand pas de deux in which the danseuse and danseur make their entrance. See Pas de deux, grand.


Entrelace, entrelacee [ ahn-truh-la-SAY ]. Interlaced. For example, jete entrelace.


Enveloppe [ ahn-vuh-law-PAY ]. Enveloped. A term of the French School. Enveloppe is a rotation of the body turning en dedans on the supporting leg (either releve or saute) while the other leg envelops or encircles it. Enveloppe is used to give momentum to inward turns. Fifth position R foot front. Raise the L leg in back a la demi-hauteur and execute a grand rond de jambe en dedans, closing the L foot on the R shinbone and turning one complete turn to the right. The L foot may finish retire devant or may be brought back into attitude or arabesque.



Equilibre [ ay-kee-LEE-bruh ]. Equilibrium; aplomb. (1) The ability of the dancer to balance and hold a pose. (2) The balancing of the body on demi- pointe or full point in any required position.


Etendre [ay-TAHN-druh]. To stretch. One of the seven movements in dancing.


Etendu [ ay-tahn-DEW ]. Outstretched, extended. The second half of a plie when the legs straighten.


toile [ay-TWAHL]. Star. A title given to certain premieres danseuses and premiers danseurs of the Paris Opera (premiere danseuse etoile or premier danseur etoile) to indicate that they are the leading dancers. See Defile.

Exercices a 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.

Exercices au milieu [ eg-zehr-SEESS oh mee-LYUH\. Exercises in the centre, that is, centre practice. A group of exercises similar to those at the bar but performed without the support of the bar in the centre of the practice room. Exercices au milieu help the dancer to acquire uprightness and balance. A more popular term for these exercises is centre practice.

Extended positions of the arms. When the arms and hands are held straight in any position, the position is said to be extended or ouverte. For example, the fifth position en haut, taken with the hands turned out so that the arms form a V, is called cinquieme position ouverte.


Extension [eks-tahn-SYAWN]. Term used to describe the ability of a dancer to raise and hold her extended leg en Pair. A dancer is said to have a good extension if, when doing a developpe a la seconde, she is able to hold and sustain the raised leg above shoulder level.



Face, en [ ahnfahss ]. Opposite (the audience); facing the audience.


Failli [fah-YEE]. Giving way. A fleeting movement done on one count. Fifth position croise, R foot front. Demi-plie, spring into the air with the feet held close together and, while in the air, turn the body efface so that the L shoulder comes forward and the head turns toward the L shoulder. Land on the R foot in demi-plie with the L leg opened in efface derriere at 45 degrees; immediately slide the L foot through the first position to the fourth position croise in demi-plie with the weight on the L foot, L knee bent and body inclined to the left.


Faux, fausse [foh,fohss ]. False.


Faux entrechat cinq ramasse [foh zahn-truh-SHAH senk ra-ma- SAY\. False entrechat cinq picked up. Same as sissonne fermee.