Ballet Terms

Arabesque [a-ra-BESK] In ballet it is a position of the body, in profile, supported on one leg, which can be straight or demi-plie, with the other leg extended behind and at right angles to it, and the arms held in various harmonious positions creating the longest possible line from the fingertips to the toes.

Ballerina [bahl-lay-REE-rlah (Italian)] A principal female dancer in a ballet company. In the days of the Russian Imperial Theatres the title was given to the outstanding soloists who danced the chief classical roles. At the Maryinski Theatre in St. Petersburg the ballet company consisted of ballerinas, premiers danseurs, first and second soloists, coryphees and corps de ballet.
Cavalier The male partner of the ballerina
Choreographer This is the term applied
to one who composes or invents ballets or dances.

Chaînés [sheh-NAY] Chains, links. This  is an abbreviation of the term "tours chaînés déboulés": a series of rapid   turns on the points or demi-pointes    done in a straight line or in a circle.

Chassé [sha-SAY] Chased. A step in which one foot literally chases the other foot out of its position; done in a series.

Demi-plié [duh-MEE-plee-AY] Half-bend of the knees. All steps of elevation begin and end with a demi-plié.

Fouetté rond de jambe en tournant [fweh-TAY rawn duh zhahnb ahn toor-NAHN] Whipped circle of the leg turning. This is the popular turn in which the dancer executes a series of turns on the supporting leg while being propelled by a whipping movement of the working leg. 



Grand, grande [grahn, grahnd] Big, large.


Jeté, pas [pah zhuh-TAY] Throwing step. A jump from one foot to the other in which the working leg is brushed into the air and appears to have been thrown.

Pieds, cinq positions des [sen paw-zee-SYAWN day pyay] Five positions of the feet. There are five basic positions of the feet in classical ballet, and every step or movement is begun and ended in one or another of these positions.

 Pirouette [p-ear-oo-et] a turn balanced on one leg. 
Plié [plee-AY] Bent, bending. A bending of the knee or knees. This is an exercise to render the joints and muscles soft and pliable and the tendons flexible and elastic, and to develop a sense of balance.
                                                                  Pointes, sur les [sewr lay pwent] On the points. The raising of the body on the tips of the toes.
Prima Ballerina is considered to be exceptionally talented, above the standard of other leading ballerinas.

Sauté, sautée [soh-TAY] Jumped, jumping. When this term is added to the name of a step, the movement is performed while jumping.

Tutu [tew-TEW] This is the short classical ballet skirt made of many layers of tarlatan or net. The romantic tutu is the long skirt reaching below the calf. 

Virtuoso A performer with great technical ability.

 Image Resources: Google Images