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Short Ballet Terminology and Meanings

• Plié. This movement involves dancers bending their knees and straightening them again, with the heels firm on the ground and feet turned right out.


• Ballon Meaning ‘to bounce’, it refers to ease and lightness in jumps, describing their quality instead of height.


• Ėpaulement. Simply put, an épaulement is a pose in which ballet dancers stand at an angle to their audience. Translated as ‘shouldering’, it refers to the position of the shoulders to the body’s lower half.


• Port de bras. ‘Movement of the arms’, involving how dancers move their arms between positions.


• En dehors.Translated to ‘outward’, en dehors are added to other ballet steps. They describe the direction that steps should move in. a pirouette en dehors simply means that ballet dancers need to turn in an outwards position, away from their supporting leg.


• Pirouettes. In ballet, pirouettes are spins dancers make when they turn around one of their legs and the other is off the ground and in a position.


• Pointe.Dancing on the tips of the toes, used in both classical and contemporary ballet.


• Developpé. ‘To develop’ or ‘developing movement’, a developpé involves a working leg being drawn up to the knee of the leg supporting the dancer,and then extended to an open position.


• A le seconde.Often means that the ballet position, usually classical ballet, needs to be done with the feet placed in the second position or a step should be done ‘to the side’.


• En bas.Translated to ‘low’, when the arms need to be in a low position.

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