Dance Terminology

Avant [ahn a-VAHN]
Literally "forwards".
A step that is performed towards the audience.


• Plié [plee-AY]
Literally "bending of the knees". A smooth and continuous bending of the knees.
This can be
grande plié, a bend to the deepest position where the heels lift off the floor. For demi plié the dancer bends knees until just below the hips, while maintaining classical turn-out at the hip joints, allowing the thighs and knees to be directly above the line of the toes and the heels to stay on the floor.

 • Tendu [tahn-DEW] wacth video
Literally, "to point" or "to stretch".
A common abbreviation for battement tendu. Either front,side,or backward. 


• Rond de Jambe [rawn duh zhahnb

]Literally "circle of the leg". Actually, half-circles made by the pointed foot, returning through first position to repeat; creating the letter 'D' on the floor. From front to back rond de jambe en dehors, or from back to front rond de jambe en dedans.Rond de jambe à terre: straightened leg with pointed toe remaining on the ground to sweep around.Rond de jambe en l'air: in the air. The leg is lifted to the side, movement is only below the knee. If the thigh is horizontal, the toe draws an oval approximately between the knee of the support leg and the second position in the air. If the thigh is in the lower demi-position then the oval is to the calf of the support knee.Rond de jambe attitude: the leg is swung around from the front around to the side into attitude position behind as the supporting foot goes en pointe. (see also Attitude)Demi-grand rond de jambe: the leg is straightened and sustained horizontal to make the circle to the side. If not reversed, foot returns past the knee.Grand rond de jambe: the leg is straightened and sustained at grand battement height, with the foot making the circle high. Requires advanced "extension" flexibility and strength. If not reversed, foot returns past the knee.


• Battement [bat-MAHN]

Literally "beating".It is a beating movement of the working leg. Battements are usually executed in front (en avant or à la quatrieme devant), to the side (à la seconde) or back

(en arrière or à la quatrieme derrière)

• Battement développé is usually a slow battement in which the leg is first lifted to retiré position, then fully extended passing through attitude position.

• battement fondu is a battement (usually slower) from a fondu (both knees bent, working foot on the cou-de-pied of the supporting leg) position and extends until both legs are straight. It can be executed double.

• battement frappé is a battement where the foot moves from a flexed position next to the other ankle, and extends out to a straight position, by doing so hitting the floor (the so-called frappé). In the Russian school the foot is wrapped around the ankle, rather than flexed and does not strike the floor. In this case, the frappè is given by the working foot striking the ankle of the supporting leg. Battements frappès can be executed double.

• battement glissé is a rapid battement normally taken to 2-3 centimeters off the floor (literally means a "gliding" battement). 

• battement tendu is a battement where the extended foot never leaves the floor. The working foot slides forward or sideways from the fifth or first position to reach the forth or second position, lifting the heel off the floor and stretching the instep. It forms the préparation for many other positions, such as the ronds de jambe and pirouette positions.

• battement tendu jeté (Russian school) is a battement normally taken to anywhere from 2 cm off the floor up to 45 degrees, depending on the style. It is the same as battement dégagé (Cecchetti) or battement glissé (French school).

• Grand Battement is a powerful battement action where the dancer takes the leg as high as possible, while the supporting leg remains straight.grand battement en cloche is a grand battement which continuously "swishes" forwards and backwards passing through the first position of the feet (literally: large battement with pendulum movement).

• Petit battement is a battement action where the bending action is at the knee, while the upper leg and thigh remain still. The working foot quickly alternates from the cou-de-pied position in the front to the cou-de-pied position in the back, slightly opening to the side.

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