Ballet Schools » Other ballet resources » Ballet terms

Ballet terms


Ballet terms

Whether you're a beginner or you're studying ballet or maybe you're a teacher, the following list of ballet terms will help you to learn or teach or comprehend in a better way the world of ballet. As you read the glossary of terms, you'll notice that there are several words that come from other languages, especially French, so we added a section with the pronunciation of each one of these words. Terms are sorted by letters of the alphabet, so you'll find at least one term for each letter.

A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
W
X
Y
Z



A

À la seconde (ah-la- sekonde): This is a position, and also a type of turn (pirouette)that consists in a spin with the working leg and usually is performed by males.

Adagio (ah-Dazj'-eh-oh): In French, the words means a series of excercises with slow and graceful movements, anda slow movement between dancer and ballerina, in which the male lifts the girl with grace and balance movement.

Air, en l' (ahnlehr): This means a movement in the air.

Allegro (a-lay-Groh): it's a fast movement, the word is used to represent bright and agili movements. Most dances are built on allegro.

Allongé (aa-lohn-jay'): To make longer a step or movement.

Arabesque (a-ra-BESK): A basic pose in Ballet, consists in a pose on one leg whilst extending the other leg to the back; and arms must create the longest possible line from the fingertips to the toes.

Arrière, en (ah na-RYEHR): This means backwards, a step moving backwards.

assemblé (a-sahn-BLAY): Movements with jump in which feet must meet together in middle-air (means joined together). it's used non-assemble for the contrary case.

Attitude (a-tee-TEWD): To pose, balanced on one leg while the other leg is slightly bent at the knee, extended to either the front, side or back.

Avant, en (ah na-VAHN): It means forwards, is used to express a step movement forward, toward the audience.

B

Balancé (ba-lahn-SAY): it is a rocking step, in which one shift the weight from one foot to the other. it's usually confused with pas de valse.

Ballonné (bah-lahn-NAY): A bounding step; that consist in a jump on one foot while the other leg is extended outwards, ending in the original position, there are the ballonne simple and the ballonne compose.

Ballotté (bah-luh-TAY): A rocking swinging movement that consists in a jump from either one foot or both feet.

Battu (bah-TEW): The term battu is used for those step embellished with a beat.

Bourrée (boo-RAY): It comes from an old French dance and represent quick movements.

C

Cabriole (kah-BREE-ohl): Means to leap, it's an allegro step that consists in jumping from and landing on the same leg.

Chaîné (shah-NAY): It means to link movements, and abbreviation for tours chaînésdéboulés hat consist in making a half turn in position one and move to the side quickly.

Changement (shahnzj-MAHN): It means alter or change, for example - jumping from one position, then, change the legs and land in that same position.

Cinq (sank): French number that means 'Five'.

Cinquième (SANK-ee-em): French number that means 'Fifth'.

Ciseaux, pas de (pahdeh see-ZJOH): it's known as Scissor jump, as the name says, when you are in the air the legs pass each other and you land on one leg.

Cloche, en (ahnklohsh): It means as a bell and consist in movements like a bell being rung, backwards and forwards.

Coupé (koo-PAY): Comes from the word cut, and represent to fall exchanging the from one leg to another, and exchanging weight.

Couru (koo-REW): Small quick steps in most cases calves are kept together can also be described as massaging the floor with your feet.

D

Ce (deh): This means - to - or - of.

Cedans, en (ahndeh-DAHN): French word that means Inwards. Indicates direction and is used to describe a turn.

Cehors, en (ahn dah-ohr'): French word that meansoutwards, a directional term to describe a turn.

Cessous (deh-SOO): Under - used also to describe a specific movement.

Ceux (duh): French number that means two.

Ceuxième (duh-zee-EM): French number that means second.

Cevant (deh-VAHN): French word that meansFront.

Cix (deess): French number that means ten.

E

échappé (AY-shah-PAY): it's a kind of jump that consist in moving from different positions by sliding the feet to the ball of the foot.

Effacé (ay-fah-SAY): A basic position, in which one leg must be either behind or in front of the other.

Emboîté (ahn-bwah-Tay): it's a jump from one foot to the other.

En (ahn): This means 'To' or 'In'.

Entrelacé (ahn-truh-lah-SAY): To weave to criss-cross.

épualement (ay-pawhl-MAHN): The word meansshouldering- one of three positions.

F

Fermé (fehr-MAY): The French word means close and consist in a jump, in which ending you must close the working leg.

Frappé (frah-PAY): Means to strike and consists in a fast action with the leg.

G

Grandjeté (grahnzjuh-TAY): Throw .it's a jump from one foot to the other (the name has the term grand because it's a large jump).

Grand pirouette (grahn peer-WHET): A large turn with the leg out to the side.

Grandsronds de jambes (grahnrohndehZJAHMB): It is a step that consists in moving one leg from the front to the back, making a large half circle.

H

Hhuit (weet): French number that means eight.

J

Jetéentrelacé (zjeh-TAYahn-trah-lah-SAY): it's a large movement that goes from one leg to the other

Jeté passé (zjeh-TAY pah-SAY): it's a jump in which one leg must end to the back of the other.

L

L'air, en (ahnlahr): see Air, en l'(in letter a)

M

Manège (mah-NEZ): The steps must be realized in a circle around the dance area.

N

Neuf (nuhph): French number that means Nine.

O

Ouverte (oh-VEHR): French word that means Open.

P

Pas (pah): French word meansto 'step'.

Petite (puh-teet): French word means small.

Pirouette (peer-whet): it's a turn.

Port de bras (pohr duh brah): Movement of the upper body and arms.

Porte (pohr-tay): To describe a number of jumps, to travel smoothly and close to the floor.

Pose (poh-say): it's a certain position.

Preparation, grand (grahn pray-pahr-ah-zjohn): it's a large movement of the leg with body bend inwards or outwards.

Promenade (prohm-nahd): A Walk.

Q

Quatre (ka-trah): French number that means Four.

Quatrieme (ka-tree-em): French number that means Fourth.

R

Releve (rehl-leh-VAY): Raised, thismeans to rise from the foot to the point or demi-pointe.

Reverence (ray-vay-rahnss): It means to bow,the last exercise of a class.

Revoltade (ruh-vohl-tahd): The step consists in a rotation, a jump on one foot.

S

Sans (sahns): French word that means without.

Sept (set): French number that means seven.

Serre (sehr-ay): This is a fast beating of the foot agaist the ankle of the other foot.

Six (seess): French number that means six.

Soubresaut (sew-brah-soh): This step consists in a jumpfrom two feet onto two feet with the legs tight together.

Sous-sus (soo-sew): A very tight 5th position in ballet on demi-pointe.

T

Temps de cuisse (tahn duh kweess): A sequence of steps that consists in placing one foot in front on another, then jumping with two feet and landing on one foot.

Temps lie (tahn lee-yay): A connecting step, to transfer the weight of the body from one leg to the other.

Tombe (tahm-bay): Means fall, an put all your body weight onto the other leg.

Tour (toor): The action of turning.

Tour en l'air (toorahnlehr): Consists in turning in the air.

Tour lent (toorlehnt): A slow turn on one leg.

Tournant, en (ahntoor-nahn): Is the action to make a turn in a circle, formed by many jumps.

Trios (trwah): French number that means three.

Troisieme (trwah-zee-em): French number that means third.

U

Un (uh): French number that means one.

Unieme (uh-zee-em): French number that means first.

V

Vole (voh-lay): In French, means to fly