B A L L E T  G L O S S A R Y

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Adagio

Slow, sustained movements usually performed in the center. 

Allegro

Movements at a rapid temp, often includes jumping steps. Petit allegro includes smaller jumping steps. Grand allegro includes large expansive jumps.

Allongé

To extend, outstretched. 

Arabesque

A position where the gesture leg is extended behind the body while the weight of the body is supported by the other standing leg. The gesture leg is straight and the foot is winged.

Assemblé

To assemble the feet together in the air in fifth position. 

Attitude 

A position where the leg is extended behind the body while the weight of the body is supported by the other standing leg. The gesture leg is bent at the knee and the foot is pointed. The leg can be lifted to the front (attitude devant) or to the back (attitude derriere).

Balancé

A rocking step where the weight is shifted from one foot to the other. 

Balloné

A bouncy step where the dancer brings one leg to the front, side or back and lands with the extended leg either in coupé or passé.

Balloté

Similar to balloné, the dancer one leg to the front, side or back and lands with the extended leg either in coupé or passé, jumping as the legs switch.  The step is normally followed with a second jump where the feet are pulled underneath and the opposite leg is extended to repeat. 

Battement

To beat. A grand battement begins when the working foot is briskly extended from first or fifth position to a high extension before returning back to the starting position. A petit battement uses the same beating action but is normally kept close to the leg and is repeated several times, quickly. 

Bourrée

A step performed on flat or pointe from fifth position. Initiated with the back foot, there is a rapid weight shift from one foot to the other, performed in place or traveling quickly.

Brisé

A jumping beat which allows the dancer to travel in a specified direction by brushing the back leg to beat the the other in a pike position. 

Cabriole

A jump where one leg is kicked up into the air and the supporting leg pushes off and beats underneath the gesture leg, propelling it higher. The jump lands on the kicking leg.

Cambré

A bend of the body from the waist to the front, back, or side, with an accompanying port de bras.

Chaîné

Like a chain. A series of small turning steps with the feet in first position relevé. Weight is shifted rapidly from one to the other limb with each half turn. Performed continuously in rapid succession in a straight line or in a circle. 

Changement

Changing the feet. A vertical jump with a change of feet in the air from fifth position front to fifth back.

Chassé

To chase. The leading foot slides forward or side-ward, then with a spring off the floor, the second leg draws up to meet it in fifth position before the leading foot opens to land or continue into another step - used as a traveling or transition step.

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