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Ballet Online Terms Book


Jacklyn Dougherty Arque [ar-KAY]. Arched (bowlegged). Very few people have perfectly straight legs and nearly every dancer conforms to one of the two types arque and jarrete (q.v.). When the arque, or bowlegged, dancer stands in the first position there is a space between the knee joints. This type of dancer is usually strongly built but stiff. Their extensions are never high but they have great power and ballon and sharp brilliant beats.  Arriere, en [ah na-RYEHR ]. Backward. Indicate that a step is executed moving away from 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 sissonne fermee en avant.        En dedans: Fifth position croise R foot back. Execute four brises dessus with the R foot, making a quarter-turn on each brise and turning to the left (en dedans).  En dehors: Fifth position croise R foot front. Execute four brises dessous with the R foot, making a quarter-turn on each brise and turning to the right (en dehors).     Cadre [ KA-druh ]. Framework or division. A term of the French School. Refers to the divisions in the Paris Opera ballet. See Defile.  Cambre [ kahn-BRAY ]. Arched. The body is bent from the waist, backward or sideways, the head following the movement of the body.  Cambre renverse [ kahn-BRAY rahn-vehr-SAY ]. Renverse arched or tilted. A term of the French School. Same as pas de bourree renverse.  Carre, en [ ahn ka-RAY ]. See Quarre, en.  Cavalier. The male partner of the ballerina.  Chaines [ sheh-NAY ]. Links across the floor. A Series of rapid turns on demi or full pointe.   Chaines papillon [sheh-NAY pa-pee-YAWN]. Chaines like a butterfly. This is a series of chaines with the arms held out to the side in the second position. As the R foot steps forward, the R arm is lowered and the L raised; then, as the second half of the turn is done on the L foot, the L arm is lowered and the R raised.  Change, changee [ shahn-ZHAY ]. Changed. If the term change is added to the name of a step, the feet have changed places during the step and the foot originally in front will have finished in the back or vice versa. See Changer, sans.    Changer, sans [ sahn shahn-ZHAY ]. Without change. Indicates that a step or series of steps is to be done with the feet remaining in the same relative position. As, for example, in echappes a la seconde sans changer. If the feet are in the fifth position R foot front, the R foot will close in the front on each echappe.  Changer de pied [ shahn-ZHAY duh pyay]. To change feet. Indicates that the feet at the end of a step will have reversed their position.  Character dancing. See Danse de caractere.  Chasse [ sha-SAY ]. Chased. A step in which one foot literally chases the other foot out of its position; done in a series.   Chasse (Cecchetti method) [ sha-SAY ’j. In the Cecchetti method a chasse is a glide into an open position and is finished in demi-plie. This movement can be executed in all the directions, making seven chasses: (l) Fourth efface en avant. (2) Fourth croise en avant. (3) Seconde. (4) Fourth efface en arriere. (5) Fourth croise en arriere. (6) Passe en avant. (7) Passe en arriere. Fifth position R foot front. Demi-plie on both feet and, keeping the weight equally distributed, slide the R foot, keeping the knee bent, to the second or fourth position. Straighten the knees with the L foot pointe tendue. The step may be finished by holding the open position or closing the extended foot to the fifth position. In the execution of a chasse passe, the heel of the working foot must be fully raised until the foot is arched. A chasse passe en avant is a forward movement starting with the back foot and finishing in the fourth position front, while a chasse passe en arriere starts with the front foot and travels back into the fourth position. Chasse (French and Russian Schools) [sha-SAY]. This maybe performed en avant, en arriere and de cote, in the directions croise, efface and ecarte.  Chasse en avant (French and Russian Schools) [ sha-SAY ah na- VAHN]. Fifth position R foot front. Demi-plie, spring into the air and alight in fondu with the R foot sur le cou-de-pied devant. Slide the R foot to the fourth position with the weight on the R foot. Draw the L foot to the R, springing into the air with the feet in the fifth position, toes extended. The L foot then lands in fondu, the R foot immediately slides out again and the movement is ontinued. For chasse en arriere, reverse the movement. Chasse de cote is done in the same manner, cutting under (behind) each time. Called “temps leve chasse” in the Cecchetti method.    Ciseaux [ see-ZOH ]. Scissors. This is a scissor-like movement made by opening the feet to a wide second position sur les pointes, or by jumping into the air and opening both legs to the second position en Fair. See Ecarte en Fair.  Class. The daily lesson taken by dancers throughout their career.Sbe Legon. 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 Coppelia, The Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker and Swan Lake. Classical walk. This is a slow, dignified walk done by the ballerina and danseur noble at their entrance and during the adage of a grand pas de deux. As the pointed toe stretches forward it reaches the ground first, then the heel is lowered so that the foot is slightly turned out in the fourth position. The moment the heel touches the ground, the weight is transferred forward, then the back knee bends and with a small developpe the back foot steps forward to repeat the step. See Pas marche.
Jacklyn Dougherty

Arque [ar-KAY]. Arched (bowlegged). Very few people have perfectly straight legs and nearly every dancer conforms to one of the two types arque and jarrete (q.v.). When the arque, or bowlegged, dancer stands in the first position there is a space between the knee joints. This type of dancer is usually strongly built but stiff. Their extensions are never high but they have great power and ballon and sharp brilliant beats.


Arriere, en [ah na-RYEHR ]. Backward. Indicate that a step is executed moving away from 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 sissonne fermee en avant.







En dedans: Fifth position croise R foot back. Execute four brises dessus with the R foot, making a quarter-turn on each brise and turning to the left (en dedans).


En dehors: Fifth position croise R foot front. Execute four brises dessous with the R foot, making a quarter-turn on each brise and turning to the right (en dehors).





Cadre [ KA-druh ]. Framework or division. A term of the French School. Refers to the divisions in the Paris Opera ballet. See Defile.


Cambre [ kahn-BRAY ]. Arched. The body is bent from the waist, backward or sideways, the head following the movement of the body.


Cambre renverse [ kahn-BRAY rahn-vehr-SAY ]. Renverse arched or tilted. A term of the French School. Same as pas de bourree renverse.


Carre, en [ ahn ka-RAY ]. See Quarre, en.


Cavalier. The male partner of the ballerina.


Chaines [ sheh-NAY ]. Links across the floor. A Series of rapid turns on demi or full pointe.



Chaines papillon [sheh-NAY pa-pee-YAWN]. Chaines like a butterfly. This is a series of chaines with the arms held out to the side in the second position. As the R foot steps forward, the R arm is lowered and the L raised; then, as the second half of the turn is done on the L foot, the L arm is lowered and the R raised.


Change, changee [ shahn-ZHAY ]. Changed. If the term change is added to the name of a step, the feet have changed places during the step and the foot originally in front will have finished in the back or vice versa. See Changer, sans.




Changer, sans [ sahn shahn-ZHAY ]. Without change. Indicates that a step or series of steps is to be done with the feet remaining in the same relative position. As, for example, in echappes a la seconde sans changer. If the feet are in the fifth position R foot front, the R foot will close in the front on each echappe.


Changer de pied [ shahn-ZHAY duh pyay]. To change feet. Indicates that the feet at the end of a step will have reversed their position.


Character dancing. See Danse de caractere.


Chasse [ sha-SAY ]. Chased. A step in which one foot literally chases the other foot out of its position; done in a series.


Chasse (Cecchetti method) [ sha-SAY ’j. In the Cecchetti method a chasse is a glide into an open position and is finished in demi-plie. This movement can be executed in all the directions, making seven chasses: (l) Fourth efface en avant. (2) Fourth croise en avant. (3) Seconde. (4) Fourth efface en arriere. (5) Fourth croise en arriere. (6) Passe en avant. (7) Passe en arriere. Fifth position R foot front. Demi-plie on both feet and, keeping the weight equally distributed, slide the R foot, keeping the knee bent, to the second or fourth position. Straighten the knees with the L foot pointe tendue. The step may be finished by holding the open position or closing the extended foot to the fifth position. In the execution of a chasse passe, the heel of the working foot must be fully raised until the foot is arched. A chasse passe en avant is a forward movement starting with the back foot and finishing in the fourth position front, while a chasse passe en arriere starts with the front foot and travels back into the fourth position.

Chasse (French and Russian Schools) [sha-SAY]. This maybe performed en avant, en arriere and de cote, in the directions croise, efface and ecarte.


Chasse en avant (French and Russian Schools) [ sha-SAY ah na- VAHN]. Fifth position R foot front. Demi-plie, spring into the air and alight in fondu with the R foot sur le cou-de-pied devant. Slide the R foot to the fourth position with the weight on the R foot. Draw the L foot to the R, springing into the air with the feet in the fifth position, toes extended. The L foot then lands in fondu, the R foot immediately slides out again and the movement is ontinued. For chasse en arriere, reverse the movement. Chasse de cote is done in the same manner, cutting under (behind) each time. Called “temps leve chasse” in the Cecchetti method.




Ciseaux [ see-ZOH ]. Scissors. This is a scissor-like movement made by opening the feet to a wide second position sur les pointes, or by jumping into the air and opening both legs to the second position en Fair. See Ecarte en Fair.


Class. The daily lesson taken by dancers throughout their career.Sbe Legon.

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 Coppelia, The Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker and Swan Lake.

Classical walk. This is a slow, dignified walk done by the ballerina and danseur noble at their entrance and during the adage of a grand pas de deux. As the pointed toe stretches forward it reaches the ground first, then the heel is lowered so that the foot is slightly turned out in the fourth position. The moment the heel touches the ground, the weight is transferred forward, then the back knee bends and with a small developpe the back foot steps forward to repeat the step. See Pas marche.


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