• Jacklyn Dougherty

Seven Movements of Dance

What are the Seven Movements of Dance?

In ballet there are 7 movements often called the Seven Movements of Dance.

1) Plier [plee-AY] to bend

2) Relever [ruhi-VAY] to rise

3) Sauter [soh-TAY] to jump

4) Elancer [ay-lahn-SAY] to dart

5) Glisser [glee-SAY] to glide

6) Tourner [toor-NAY] to turn

7) Etendre [ay-TAHN-druh] to stretch

To watch and learn ballet check out our ballet glossary page. May you reach your center stage. Much Love, Jacklyn Dougherty



Jacklyn Dougherty What are the Seven Movements of Dance? In ballet there are 7 movements often called the Seven Movements of Dance. Plier [plee-AY] means “to bend” and describes the bending of the knees. Pliés are typically the first exercise performed at the barre. The plié is the single mostpliè in first position pliè in first position important step in ballet because it allows the knees and ankles to absorb the force of the movements in a fluid, spring-like way that makes dancing look elegant and effortless. Étendre [ay-TAHN-druh] means “to stretch” and describes the stretching of the toe, ankle, and knee, resulting in the ballet aesthetic of a straight leg with a pointed toe. Tendu [tahn-DEW] or “stretched” exercises typically follow pliés and are critical for developing foot and leg strength. Glisser [glee-SAY] means “to glide” and describes the sliding movement of the feet against the floor. Just like ice-skating, a smooth brushing of the foot propels the leg smoothly into extension and off of the ground. Relever [ruhl-VAY] means “to rise” and describes the lifting of the heels off the ground to balance on the ball of the foot. Women may also rise to the tips of their toes if they are wearing pointe shoes. Relevés build strength in the entire body but especially the foot, ankle, and calf muscles. A beautifully executed relevé can produce the effect of floating. Sauter [soh-TAY] means “to jump” and is the natural progression from the relevé. The dancer pushes off from plié into the air, leaving the floor with pointed toes and extended legs. But the truly difficult part of a sauté is landing softly and quietly, which takes tremendous strength and control (and years!) to master. Tourner [toor-NAY] means “to turn around” and describes any turning of the body. Turns can be done in place, across the floor, or in the air. A pirouette (whirl or spin) is done on one leg.pirouette sur les pointes pirouette sur les pointes  Élancer [ay-lahn-SAY] means “to dart.” Movements done élancé are done in a darting manner along or just above the surface of the floor with strongly stretched legs and pointed toes. This term most often relates to jumping along rather than up.
Old Pointe Shoes Artwork. Photo Credit Jacklyn Dougherty


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