Movements of Ballet



Elancer – Etendre – Glisser – Plier – Relever – Sauter – Tourner




Ballet’s seven movements are credited to 18th-century influences. Raoul Auger Feuillet (c1653–c1709) part of the court of Louis XIV, and was a choreographer, dance notator and publisher, along with French dancer and ballet master Jean-Georges Noverre (1727–1810) who transformed ballet from a relatively passionless dance form into an action that told a story. They together attempted to create dance notations comparable to musical scores and wrote “Choreography on the Art of Writing Dance.”


Elancer – – to dart, means to move in a different direction while in the air, refining the body of the dancer in space as he alters positions. When this term is used with a step it indicates that the step is to be done in a darting manner. Any jump performed elance is done just above the surface of the floor with one or both legs strongly stretched and toes well pointed for example and assemble traveled to the side would be an assemble elance

Etendre –  to stretch, is the opposite of the demi-plie. Stretching involves the whole body and gives a dancer lightness and lift.

Glisser – to glide or slide such as glissade or battment degage. Gliding, is used in many center steps, especially during an adagio combination.

Plier – means to bend, and most ballet steps begin in a demi-plie, which means bending the knees with both heels firmly on the ground. This bridge step in ballet relaxes the dancer and prepares her for jumps and extensions. This position also keeps combinations light and bouncy.

Relever – to rise up, A raising of the body on demi pointe or on pointe, and is an essential movement for much of classical ballet. There are two ways to releve. In the French method, releve is done with a smooth continuous rise while in the Cecchetti method uses a little spring.

Sauter – to jump, is the heart of ballet’s allegro movements, which are cheerful and brisk. Jumps create a great diversity of allegro combinations. In all jumps, the tips of the toes should be the first to reach the ground after the jump, then the sole of the foot followed by the heel. In rising from the floor, the foot moves in the reverse order. Beautifully executed jumps can be described as defying gravity and pretend to stop in mid-air before the dancer descends like a feather.

Tourner – to turn, such as chaine or pirouette, and can be performed in a fixed position, or across the floor or in the air.

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