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Ballet Terminology

Ballet Terminology

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Ballet Terminology

Ballet Terminology


Hi Ballet Lovers!

If you are a member of Dance Room Technique, you know that many of our workouts include ballet terms.

Our exclusive online workout series are inspired by the fundamental movements and positions of classical ballet and we think it would be helpful to provide you the definitions of all these terms.


Attitude: that position where the dancer is standing on one leg with the other raised, usually to the front (devant) or back (derrière).  The leg in the air is bent at the knee and the supporting leg can be straight, or in demi-plié.


Arabesque: that position where the body is supported on one leg, with the other leg extended directly behind the body with a straight knee.

The supporting leg can be straight or bent in a demi-plié, and the back leg must always be straight.


Fondu: a term used to describe the bending and stretching of the standing knee. It describes both the movement and the quality of a dancer where they are doing a plié on a single leg.


Passé: That position where one leg is bent so it looks like a triangle with the foot placed near the other leg’s knee.


Plié: A bend of the knees. A full bending of the knees is a grand plié and a demi-plié is a half bending of the knees. They are typically done in 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th positions in classical ballet, both at the barre and center in classes.


Port de bras: Carriage of the arms. The graceful movement of the arms from one position to another.


Relevé: the dancer rises up and seemingly is standing “on their toes” in a demi-pointe or a fully en pointe.

It can be done in all the positions of the feet and on one or both legs and also in positions like arabesque or attitude.


Rond de Jambe: “Round” of the leg. A circular movement of the leg on the ground or in the air.


Supporting Leg: The supporting or standing leg is the one that holds the most weight in any movement or position.


Tendu: when the working leg is extended to either the front, side or back along the floor until only the tip of the toe remains touching the floor.


Working Leg: The leg that is executing a given movement while the weight of the body is on the supporting leg.

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