The Dancer’s Dictionary

By on November 12, 2012

ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQ-RSTU-VW-X-Y-Z

A

adagio – slow, sustained. A musical term that refers to a series of slower exercises performed in the center of the studio during a traditional ballet class

allegro – quick. A musical term used to describe sections of the ballet class involving small, quick jumps (as in petite allegro) and grand, explosive jumps (grand allegro)

arabesque –

assemblé – assembled.

attitude –

B

balancé –

ballonné – bounced.

ballotté – tossed.

battement – beating. Several movements use this term (as in petite battement and battement tendu) when they involve beating the legs together or an opening and closing.

bourée – a musical term, in ballet referring to a traveling step using fast movements of the feet

brisé – broken, shattered.

C

cabriole

chaîné – linked, chained.

changement de pied – changing of the feet; also frequently called simply changement.

chassé – chased.

cinq – five.

cinquieme – fifth.

coupé – cut.

Cou de pied – neck of the foot

corps de ballet – ensemble dancers, equivalent to the chorus in a musical.

croisé – crossed.

D

demi – half, as in demi-plié or demi-seconde (position of the arms).

degagé – disengaged.

derrière – to the back.

devant – to the front.

dessous – over.

dessus – under.

deux – two.

E

echappé – escaped

ecarté – to the side

effacé – opened

elancer – to dart.

emboité

en arriere – toward the back

en avant – toward the front

en bas – down low

enchainement – chain of steps, referring to combinations performed in the ballet class

en dedans – inside; as in pirouette en dedans.

en dehors – outside; as in pirouette en dehors.

en face – toward the audience

en tournant – turning.

entrechat

entendre – to stretch.  See also tendu.

F

failli

fermé – closed

fouetté – 

frappé

G

gargouillade

glissade – gliding

glisser – to glide.  See also glissade.

H

I

J

jambe – leg.

jeté – thrown.

jeter – to throw.  See also jeté

K

L

M

N

O

 ouvert – open

P

pas de bourée – Bourée step.  A Bourée is a French peasant dance.

pas de chat – step of the cat.

pas de cheval – step of the horse.

pas de ciseaux -scissor step.

pas de deux – dance for two. A grand pas de deux typically includes four movements: an adagio, or slow partner variation for the ballerina and her partner, solos for the man and the woman, and a coda, or finale duet.

pas de papillon – butterfly step.

passé – passed.

piqué – pricked.

pirouette – turn

plier – to bend.  The first of seven movements of dance. See also plié.

plié – bent.

ports de bras – carriage of the arms.

poser – to place down

posé – placed

premier – first.

Q-R

quatre – four.

quatrieme – fourth.

relever – to rise.  See also relevé.

relevé – raised.

renversé

retiré – withdrawn.

S

saut de basque – Basque jump.

sauté – jumped

sauter – to jump. See also sauté.

seconde – second, or, to the side as in à la seconde.

sissone – 

soubresaut – sudden bound.

sous-sus – over under.

soutenu – sustained.  May be performed en tournant

T

temp de cuisses – thigh movement.

temps de flèche – arrow step.

temps levé – time raised, or lifting step.

temps liés

temps de poisson (also pas de poisson) – fish step

tomber – to fall.

tendu – stretched.

tourner – to turn.

tours de rein

tours en l’air – turn in the air

trios – three.

troisieme – third.

U-V

W-Z


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