15 Ballet Terms and the 3 Ways You’ll Remember What They Mean

They relate to animals:

1. Ailes de pigeon, a type of cabriole, means “pigeon’s wings.”

2. Chaînés papillon is chaînés with butterfly arms.

3. Pas de cheval, meaning “horse step,” resembles a horse pawing the ground.

4. Poisson is a position like a fish, with legs together and back arched.

5. Saut de chat, or “cat’s jump,” is a grand leap.

They relate to objects:

6. Bras en couronne indicates arms in the shape of a crown above the head.

7. Chaînés means “chains” or “links” and refers to half-turns done in a straight line.

8. Cloche, or “bell,” is a series of grands battements swinging front to back repeatedly.

9. En croix is to do an exercise in the shape of a cross (front, second, back, second).

10. Pas de ciseaux, meaning “scissors step,” is a switch leap.

They could be applied to food prep:

11. Ballotté, or “tossed,” is a jump with a quick, low développé of the working leg.

12. Battement is a “beating” action of the working leg.

13. Coupé, or “cut,” is a small intermediary step, usually with the working foot pointed at the supporting ankle.

14. Fouetté is the famous turn in Swan Lake that means “whipped.”

15. Frappé, meaning “struck,” is an accented extension of the working leg from the knee.

Photo: Thinkstock

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