Á la seconde: To the side or in the second position.
Adagio: Meaning ‘at ease.’ The adagio is slow movements with fluidity and grace. In a ballet class, the adagio combination typically is performed in the center, following the barre work.
Alignment: The placement of the body.
Allegro: Meaning ‘brisk or lively.’ The allegro is fast and bright movements that are often elevated.
Allongé: Meaning to ‘elongate.’ This term is used to remind students to stretch out and lengthen the positions so they appear longer.
Arabesque: A ballet position in which the body is supported on one leg with the other leg extended and lengthened behind the body. The elevated leg is straight and the supporting leg may be straight or plié.
Attitude: A position in which the body is supported on one leg with the other leg lifted, turned out, and with the knee bent. The elevated leg can be in front, on the side, or in the back.
Avant: Meaning ‘forward.’ This is a term used to direct the movement forward and to the front. For example, a step traveling en avant moving towards the webcam.
Balancé: This step is executed in three counts. The three steps usually make a “down, up, down” motion.
Balançoire: Meaning ‘seesaw.’ A movement in which a dancer swings his/her leg front and back through first position.
Ballon: Meaning ‘to bounce.’ This is a quality of movement, where the dancer can show the lightness and ease of jumping steps.
Balléness: A workout class utilizing ballet and fitness exercises.
Barre: A horizontal bar, approximately waist high, used for preparation exercises in ballet classes.
Battement: Meaning ‘beat.’ A beating movement of the working leg.
Battu: Meaning ‘to beat’. Any movements that add an extra beat.
Brisé: A jump in which one leg is thrust from the fifth position to the front in the air.
Bourrée: Quick, even movements that make the dancer appear to be gliding.
Cabriole: A jump step in which the extended legs are beaten in the air.
Chaînè: A series of 360 degree rotations that travel. ‘Spotting’ is used to keep the torso in line with the hips.
Changement: Meaning ‘changing’. A jump in which the feet continuously change positions on the landing.
Chassé: Meaning ‘to chase’. A sliding, traveling step in which the back leg chases the front leg.
Contraction: The complete exhale of breath typically visible at the torso.
Coupé: Meaning ‘to cut’. A movement in which the working leg cuts into the other leg, typically in a plié or fondu movement.
Croisé: Meaning ‘crossed’. A position of the body in which the dancer is crossed.
Demi: Meaning ‘half’. Typically referring to half of a plié.
Derriere: At or to the back side.
Dessous: Meaning ‘under’. When a leg is brought under another leg.
Devant: Meaning ‘front’. A step or position facing the front.
Développé: A movement in which the leg is passing through passé and attitude position to be fully extended. This movement can be done to the front, side, or to the back.
Écarté: Meaning ‘discard’. This is a position in which the body appears to be flat with the gaze directed along the diagonal.
Échappé: Meaning ‘escaped’. A movement done from a closed position to an open position.
Effacé: Meaning ‘erased’. One of the body positions in which the body is almost hidden.
Elevé: Meaning ‘rise’. A relevé without the plié. Rising with straight legs.
En: Meaning ‘in’. This term is used to preface most terms to describe how the dancer is situated.
En croix: Meaning ‘the cross’. This term is used to perform movements continuously to the front, side, back and side again.
En dedans: A circular movement towards the inside.
En dehors: A circular movement outwards. This is towards the outside.
Extension: To straighten a joint, elongate and lengthen.
Faille: Meaning ‘to give way.’
Fondu: Meaning ‘to melt’. A lowering of the body with the knee bending.
Fouetté: Meaning ‘to whip’. A movement in which the working leg whips the body around in a fluid motion.
Frappé: Meaning ‘to strike’. Hitting the floor with your foot to extend the leg.
Glissade: Meaning ‘to glide’. A traveling step in which the dancer appears to be gliding through tiny jumps.
Grande: Meaning ‘big’. Meaning a full movement, typically referring to a grand plié or a grand jeté.
Jeté: A jump from one foot to another.
Musicality: The ability for one to move responsibly with the music.
Overcurve: The shifting of weight from one leg to another while lifting the body weight up at the top of the curve through space.
Parallel Position: When the feet are parallel and not turned out. The knees and toes face forward in line with your hips.
Pas de basque: A traveling step on the floor or with a jump moving forward or backward.
Pas de bourrée: Three quick steps often ‘back, side, front.’
Pas de chat: Meaning ‘the step of the cat’. A jump in which both legs bend in the air simultaneously before landing.
Pas de cheval: Meaning ‘the step of the horse’. A motion of the ankle and foot extending out and returning back to the starting position.
Passé: Meaning ‘to pass’. A position of the leg in which the knee is bent to the side and you bring the working foot near, on, below, or above the other knee.
Piqué: Meaning ‘to prick’. A movement in which the foot is extended out in a tendu and firmly races it upward and rebounds back to the starting position.
Pirouette: Meaning to ‘turn’. A controlled turn on one leg.
Port de bras: Meaning ‘carriage of the arms’.
Prance: To spring or bound forward in a manner reminiscent of a horse.
Presence: The ability to be aware and be fully invested in the present moment.
Quatre: Meaning ‘four’. Often used referring to repetitions of movements.
Renversé: An attitude presented on a turn.
Release: The relationship of the body with gravity. The ability to let go of unnecessary muscular tension.
Relevé: Meaning ‘lifted’. Rising from a position from a plié.
Retiré: The working leg in a passé-like position, either with the foot attached at the front or back of the knee.
Sauté: Meaning ‘jump’.
Saut de chat: Similar to a grand jeté but the front leg extends through a développé.
Sickle: Winging of the foot. BalléNess will make sure you don’t do this!
Sissonne: A jump from two feet to one foot.
Soubresaut: A jump traveling forward with both feet.
Sous sous: Meaning ‘under under’. Typically in a tight fifth position relevé.
Soutenu en tournant: A series of turns in quick succession.
Spiral: Rotation of the spinal column along its vertical axis.
Sur le cou-de-pied: Meaning ‘on the neck of the foot’. The moving foot is placed at in between the base of the calf and the top of the ankle of the supporting leg.
Tendu: Meaning ‘stretched’. A movement of the leg in which the foot is lengthened.
Tombé: Meaning ‘to fall’. The act of falling in a movement.
Turnout: A rotation of the leg from the hips.
Undercurve: Shifting of body weight from one leg to another while dropping the weight lower in the center of the curve.
Waltz: A series of movements to a type of music in ¾ time.
Weight Shift: The transfer of body weight from one side to the other.