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Ballet Theory

Grade 1

Plie    A bending of both knees

Demi    Half

Degage    To release the foot from a closed to an open position

Tendu    Stretched

Devant    In Front

Derriere    Behind

Battement    Beating movements of the leg

Grand    Large

A la seconde    To the second position

Petit    Small

Retire    To draw up

Bras Bas    Arms Down

En avant    Travelling forwards

En arriere       Travelling backwards

Simple    Simple

Couple    Cutting Movement (To cut the weight of the body from one foot to the other)

Temps leve    To Hop

Leve    Lifted

Passe    To pass

Sur-le-cou-de-pied    On the ankle

Jete   Throwing Movement (To throw the weight of the body from one foot to the other)

Saute    To spring

Soubresaut    A spring from 3rd or 5th position without changing the feet

Changement    To change

Pose    To step (onto a straight leg)

Fondu    A bending of one knee

Enchainments    The amalgamation of steps

Curtsey or Bow/Revereance    To say "Thank You"

Supporting leg    Leg that takes the weight of the body

Working Leg    The dancer's leg that is actually performing the movement.




Grade 2 (in addition to G1 theory)

En croix    In the shape of a cross

Ronds de Jambe    Circle of the leg

A terre    On the ground

En dehors    Outwards

En dedans    Inwards

Releve    To snatch onto the demi-pointe (or en pointe) - the toe takes the place of the heel

Croise    Crossed

Ouverte    Open

En Face    Facing the front

Attitude    A position on one leg: the other in 4th opposite 5th a terre or en L'air.  Raised leg is bent.

Ordinaire    Ordinary

Chasse    A sliding movement

Glissade    A gliding movement, always end in a demi-plie

Pas de Chat    Step of the cat

Pas    Step

Pas de Deux    Step for two people

Pied    Foot

Sur place    On the spot

Demi-pointe    Half point

Demi detourne    A Half turn towards the back foot.

En premiere    In first

Courru    Running

Trois    Three

Cinq    Five




Grade 3   (in addition to G1&2 theory)

Glisse    To glide

Assemble    A joining together of the legs

Soutenus    Sustained

Assemble Soutenu    A sustained joining together of the legs

Fondu    A bending of one knee

Developpe    To unfold the leg.

Ports-de-bras    Carriage of the arms

Adage    Slow movement

Arabesque    A position on one leg: the other held in 4th opposite 1st a terre or en l'air.  (leg straight when in air)

De Cote    To the side

Pose    A step onto a straight leg.




Grade 4  (in addition to G1-3 theory)

En L'air    In the air

Echappe    To escape

Chasse Passe    A sliding movement with the back foot passing to the front (passe en avant) or the front foot passing to the back (passe en arriere).  End in a demi-plie in 4th.

Pirouette    To spin on one foot.

Pas de Bourree    A compound step consisting of three running steps (the first two on demi-pointe, the third on the flat).

Pas de Basque    A movement derived from the swaying of skirts

Balance    A lilting movement.  A change of weight from foot to foot, from side-to-side or forwards and backwards.

Sissonne    A scissor-like movement.

Sissonne (ordinaire) A spring from two feet to one foot with a softened landing.

Sissonne Ouverte    A sissonne ending with the working leg in an open position.




Grade 5  (in addition to G1-4 theory)

En ronds    Circular movement

En tournant    Turning

En Diagonale    Diagonally

Ballonne    A bouncing step

Ballonne simple    A simple ballonne with the accent on the inwards movements.

Ballonne compose    A compound ballonne

Fouette    A whipped movement

Compose    Compound

Sissonne ferme    A sissonne ending with the working leg in a closed position (Scissor movement)

Petit batterie    Small elevated beaten steps

Battu    Beaten

Changement Battu    A beaten changement

Ferme    To close

Echappe Battu Ferme/Royale ferme    Echappe ferme beaten

Demi-contretemps   Temps leve, chasse passe en avant

Greque    A position relating to attitude

Epaulement    Turning of the shoulders




Grade 6 (in addition to G1-5 theory)

Sur le cou-de-pied    On the ankle

Cou de pied    Neck of the foot

Frappe    To strike

A deux bras    With two arms

Dessous    Under

Dessus    Over

Contretemps    A compound step consisting of:- coupe under, chasse en avant, temps leve, chasse passe en avant.

Sissonne double    A sissonne ouverte followed by any coupe and any assemble

Entrechat Quatre    Spring into the air and make two changments before alighting.  (Entwining)

Petits battements sur le cou-de-pied    Small beats on the ankle

Echappe Battu Ouvert/Royale Ouverte    Echappe ouverte beaten.