Get to know the language of ballet with our handy illustrated guide. We'll add new moves and ballet positions each week; if you've any you'd like to see be sure to add a comment below...
Temps Levé Arabesque
Temps levé, a hop from one foot with the other raised in any position, in this case arabesque (the leg extended behind the body with the knee straight.)
Attitude is a position in which the dancer stands on one leg (the supporting leg) while the other (working leg) is lifted and well turned out with the knee bent. The lifted or working leg can be behind (derrière), in front (devant), or on the side (à la seconde) of the body. The attitude position can be performed with the supporting leg and foot either en pointe, demi pointe or on a flat foot.
A grand jeté is a long horizontal jump, starting from one leg and landing on the other; it usually involves a full leg splits in mid-air. The dancer hits the fullest split at the height of the jump, with weight pushed slightly forward, giving a gliding appearance.
A soubresaut is a sudden, straight-legged jump, with toes pointed and landing with the feet in the same position as starting.
Relevé in fifth
In this image Pippa has risen to full pointe from fifth position. Fifth position is where one foot is placed in front of, and in contact with, the other. The heel of one foot will be aligned with the toe of the other foot. Relevé means rising from any position to balance on one or both feet with heels off the floor or higher to full pointe.
Retiré devant is a common pose during standard pirouette and an intermediate position for other moves. The working leg is raised just in front of the knee cap (but can be raised higher) and is sharply bent and ‘turned out’ to the side.
Cabriole, meaning caper. An allegro step in which the extended legs are beaten in the air.
Arabesque indicates a position of the body where the dancer stands on one leg, while the other leg is extended behind the body, with both knees straight. When the angle is much greater than 90° and the body leans forward to counterbalance the back leg, the pose is called arabesque penchée.
Flying (or grand) pas de chat
'The step of the cat.' The dancer jumps sideways, and while in mid-air, bends both legs up (two retirés) bringing the feet up as high as possible, with knees apart. In a flying (or grand) pas de chat the first leg is extended.
Some text on this page comes from wikipedia.org.
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