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Archive for the ‘Bag of Steps’ Category

If jumps and turns are generally favoured by bravura dancers who have a “need for speed” showing off their technical abilities, then adagio dancing, with its slow, lengthened and connected movements is where highly lyrical dancers make their mark. It is typically in the adagio, rather than in complicated combinations of double-quadruple fouettés, where the audience can sit back and contemplate the poetry and emotion ballerinas convey through their bodies.

Here we highlight some of the steps which might appear in adagio sequences in ballet. Note that steps which are typical of allegro work might also appear here (pirouettes, ronds de jambe) and vice versa, so none of them are exclusive to one form or another.

Mercury by Giambologna (1580) housed in the Bargello Museum, Florence. Photo: Alinari/Art Resource © Source: Britannica ©

Adagio

(in French: adage) in Italian means ‘At ease’, ‘leisurely’; a movement in slow tempo. In ballet Adagio refers to a series of slow and refined movements performed as a single phrase, in a fluid manner, each preparatory step seamlessly linking to the next. The adagio is typically the opening section in a grand pas de deux (followed by the variations and the coda), the part where the ballerina performs slow movements with the assistance of her partner.

Attitude

A ballet pose which originated from a statue by Giovanni de Bologna (Giambologna, see figure). One leg is lifted behind in a well turned-out manner, with the knee forming a 90 degree angle.

Arabesque

The term derives from a type of Moorish decoration. One leg supports the body while the other is extended behind, with the shoulders and hips kept square to the line of the body.

Devéloppé

Developing movement (originally, temps développé). Starting from fifth position, the working leg is raised following the supporting leg up to the knee (in retiré). It is then slowly extended to an open position en l’air and held there. The body is kept square to the direction the dancer is facing, with the hips aligned. Développés can be performed in any direction (devant, à la seconde, derrière, etc.).

Lauren Cuthbertson does an arabesque as the Winter Fairy in The Royal Ballet's Cinderella. Photo: Bill Cooper / ROH ©

Tour de Promenade or Tour Lent

Refers to a slow turn done on one foot. The dancer moves her/his heel while keeping a specific pose such as arabesque or attitude. The turn can be executed en dehors (outwards) or en dedans (inwards).

Penché or Penchée

To lean or incline. For example, as in an arabesque penché.

At the 0:36 mark Alina Cojocaru (as Giselle) does a développé à la seconde, following with a tour de promenade en attitude; and at 1:20 a beautiful arabesque which lowers into a penché.

Fondu

To melt, to sink. The term is used to describe the lowering or “melting” of the body towards the floor through the bending of the supporting leg.

Détourné

A pivot turn on pointe. For instance, starting in fifth, the dancer relevés and turns towards the back foot. As the dancer lowers his/her heels the back foot becomes the front one.

Marianela Nuñez (as Gamzatti) does an arabesque en fondu ending on a penché at 0:24 and a detourné at 0:51.

You can also see plenty of detournés in the Sugar Plum Fairy variation.

Dégagé

Disengaged. The working leg is lifted or tossed lightly into the air in an open position, the foot pointed. It is generally used as a connecting step, for instance, to transfer the body’s weight.

Dégagé à l’arabesque en tournant

Starting in croisé devant en l‘air (with the front leg extended and raised), the dancer slowly turns outwards on the flat of the foot, passing the working leg through the second position while turning the body from the waist so that the  working leg is extended in arabesque croisé derrière. See Tatiana Terekhova video below for example.

The reverse, starting from arabesque croisé and ending croisé devant is referred to as Détourné en l’air.

Rond de Jambe

It literally means round of the leg or, in other words, a circular movement of the leg. They can be done outwards (en dehors) or inwards (en dedans). Though usually a barre step, it can also be done par terre (on the floor) as a connecting step. The Prelude in Les Sylphides includes ronds de jambe par terre.

Rond de Jambe en l’air

Here the circle is drawn by the toe. Both legs are turned out. The working leg moves from the knee down so that the thigh is as steady, high and as horizontal as possible.  The toe creates the circle from the supporting leg’s knee into second position en l’air. The movement is accentuated when the working leg reaches the extended position à la seconde.

At the 1:00 mark, Kirov ballerina Tatiana Terekhova does a series of ronds de jambe en l’air while hopping on pointe. This Don Q. variation starts with an arabesque fondu, followed by attitude. Watch out also for a Dégagé à l’arabesque en tournant (starting from attitude croisé devant) at 0.21.

Grand Rond de Jambe

This movement is usually preceded by a développé devant from which the leg extends from the hip and draws a semi-circle from the front passing through second position en l’air to end up in fourth derrière en l’air. It can also be done in reverse, starting with a développé derrière and drawing the semi-circle towards the front.

Myriam Ould Braham (as Aurora) does some Grand Ronds de Jambe en l’air at the beginning of The Sleeping Beauty’s Act II variation.

Pas de Bourrée Couru

A series of “running” (couru) steps on pointe or demi-pointe with the feet close together. If done in fifth position the steps are said to be en cinquième or a pas suivi. If done in first position, legs are kept turned in and they are said to be en première or simply, pas couru.

At 0:27 Marianela Nuñez (as Myrtha) enters the stage in a series of gliding bourrées. She also does an arabesque which turns into a tour de promenade (1:29), followed by a penché (1:46 ). Lookout for attitudes at 3:05.

Sources and Further Information:

  1. Technical Manual and Dictionary of Classical Ballet by Gail Grant. BN Publishing. ISBN 1607960311.
  2. The Borzoi Book of Ballets by Grace Robert. Kessinger Publishing Co. ISBN 1419122010.

Note: Whilst we have used widely known names, note that terminology might vary slightly from school to school.

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We are back with another edition of Bag of Steps. This time we look at every turning trick designed to make us go “whoa” and typically reserved for the grand finale, such as in the coda from a Pas de Deux .

Turns include female and male pirouettes and their offshoots. For the ballerina they are the signature bravura step, the ability to turn in 32 fouettées being her ultimate technical benchmark. For the danseur they are powerful wizardry tools, especially those multiple turns generated from a single impulse.

Pirouette

Spin. A complete turn of the body on one foot. The supporting foot can be either on pointe or demi-pointe, with the working leg positioned sur le cou-de-pied, in arabesque, à la seconde, in attitude, etc. Legs give the impulse from a deep plié in preparatory position, arms control the turning speed and the head is the last part of the body to turn away from an imaginary “spotting” point and the first to hit the point again once the body completes the turn.

Pirouette en dedans: a pirouette which turns inwards. The body turns towards the supporting leg, so if the dancer turns on the right foot, the dancer turns to the right.

Pirouette en dehors: a pirouette which turns outwards. The body turns towards the raised leg, so if the dancer turns on the right foot, the dancer turns to the left.

A dancer from Pennsylvania Ballet demonstrates a sequence of pirouettes en dehors.

Grand Pirouette, Pirouette à la seconde (also, Tours à la seconde): Pirouette with one leg raised at 90 degrees. These are typically performed by men. Starting from fifth position with a grand battement into second position, legs lower into demi-plié to propel the turns. The arms start in second position and close in first, the right leg is raised into second with a swift movement for each turn en dehors.

Mikhail Baryshnikov does a Grand Pirouette in this video of ABT’s Don Quixote.

Fouetté

Whipped. In this step the raised foot undergoes a short “whipped” motion as it passes in front of, or behind, the supporting leg to the opposite direction. There are many types of fouettés. Here we will focus on those en tournant (ie. while turning).

Grand Fouetté en Tournant (Italian Fouettés): Starting in arabesque, the dancer goes from a deep plié into a series of relevés en pointe or demi-pointe while swinging the back leg to the front. The arms move from first to fifth position. In a half turn, the body moves away from the lifted leg and ends in arabesque (or attitude, with the back to the audience). In a full turn, the leg is held devant until the body shifts through arabesque to start the movement again with the leg swept from the back.

Yekaterina Kondaurova does a series of (full) Italian Fouettés in the Queen of the Dryads Variation of Mariinsky‘s Don Quixote. Move forward to the 1:21 mark.

Fouetté Rond de Jambe en Tournant (Russian Fouetté turns): Starting on fourth, the dancer does a pirouette en dehors and then a demi-plié (fondu) while the working leg is thrown à la seconde. While the supporting leg relevés to pointe the dancer turns bending the working leg’s knee and passing the foot from behind to the front of the supporting leg. At the start of the series the arms open in second position to follow the leg and are brought into first while turning.

Svetlana Zakharova throws a sequence of fouettés en tournant during the coda of Don Quixote’s Grand Pas de Deux.

Fouetté Rond de Jambe en Tournant (Cecchetti Fouetté turns): Instead of extending the working leg à la seconde, the dancer throws the leg towards croisé devant en l’air, sweeps it à la seconde and turns while bringing the working foot from the side to the front of the supporting leg.

Tamara Rojo executes Cecchetti style Fouetté turns in the same Don Quixote coda (adding a couple of multiple pirouettes). Move forward to 9:52 to watch.

Piqué Tours

Piqué means Pricked or Struck.

Piqué Tours en dedans (or Pirouette Piqué): the dancer steps en pointe onto a straight leg and turns while the opposite leg is brought into passé (so the turn is done towards the supporting leg).

Polina Semionova does a series of piqué turns (en dedans) en manège, at the 1:34 mark, in Giselle’s first act variation.

Piqué Tours en dehors (or “lame ducks”): the dancer steps en pointe onto a straight leg, half turns to place the opposite leg on the floor and picks up the original leg into passé. The turn is then done away from the supporting leg.

Svetlana Zakharova does a series of “lame ducks” at the 1:47 mark in Swan Lake’s Odette’s Variation.

Tours Châinés (or Tours Châinés Déboulés)

A chain of “rolling balls”. In a diagonal, straight line or in circles, the dancer does a series of rapid turns on pointe or demi-pointe. When moving to the right, the turn is on the right leg and at the end of the turn the left foot is placed on the spot where the right foot began.

At 1.21, Alina Cojocaru zips through a series of châinés (and some piqué turns sur le cou-de-pied) in this fragment of Ashton‘s Cinderella.

Note. We recommend you also have a look at videos featuring such notable “human-spintops” as  Maria Alexandrova, Gillian Murphy, Natalia Osipova, Tamara Rojo and Viengsay Valdés, not forgetting male dancers Carlos Acosta, Misha Baryshnikov, Ángel Corella and Leonid Sarafanov.

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This is the first post devoted to small jumps, the main components of what is known as petit allégro. Used in training they assist in the development of musicality, coordination, and quick footwork (stressing the use of the lower leg) while onstage, they are widely used in variations and/or character dances in full-length ballets, most prominently in Bournonville.

Soubresaut

A straight up jump from fifth, with both legs and arches extended. Starting from a demi-plié to gain impulse, the dancer springs into the air, being careful not to brush one calf against the other. In some schools, this may also be a travelling jump, ie. the dancer moves from its original departure point.

Temps de Poisson (or Sissone Soubresaut)

Means “fish movement”. This is a particular form of soubresaut in which the dancer bends its back at the height of the jump, feet placed together and pointes crossing to form a fishtail. The dancer lands in one leg in demi-plié (fondu) with the opposite leg stretched back in the air. This step, also referred to as sissonne soubresaut, are the distinctive soubresauts in act 2 of Giselle:

Bolshoi’s Nelli Kobakhidze performs a series of sissonne soubresauts in act 2 of Giselle. Move forward to 6:27.

Temps de L’Ange

If while performing a sissone soubresaut the dancer’s legs are bent in attitude, the jump becomes known as temps de l’ange.

Échappé sauté

It literally means a “jumping, escaping movement”. The dancer starts in fifth position and jumps to finish in a demi-plié in second position or fourth position, with both feet traveling in equal distance from the original centre.

Changement

A jump where the feet change positions. The dancer starts in fifth position and jumps straight up and down, getting impulse from a plié and changing feet in the air to land back in fifth, opposite foot in front.

Royale

It is a type of changement where one calf beats against the other before the feet change position to land in fifth. Because of this it can also be referred to as changement battú (ie. battú=beaten).

Here is a masterclass in allegro, featuring all the steps above described, although all of them – not just the Royales – are beaten, meaning that the calves touch before landing.

Johan Kobborg as James in Bournonville‘s La Sylphide. Notice the échappés around 1.20 (with a beat) and royales everywhere.

Entrechat

Stands for braiding (or interlacing). It is a straight up jump from fifth, in which the dancer crosses its legs rapidly while in the air by switching opposite fifth positions.

Each crossing counts as two movements and depending on the landing, one can have even-numbered entrechats (landing with both feet in fifth) or odd-numbered entrechats (landing on one foot), thus:

  • Landing on both feet: entrechats deux, quatre, six, huit, dix.
  • Landing on one foot: entrechats trois, cinq, sept, neuf.

Royal Ballet’s Johan Kobborg does the famous series of entrechats-six in the coda of Giselle Act II. Move forward to the 5:07 mark.

Pas de Chat

Means “Step of the cat”. The dancer starts in fifth position and the front leg is lifted through retiré as the other leg pushes off the floor and is also raised into a retiré. The first leg lands first, with the second leg following to close in fifth.

The Cygnets (small swans) in Mariinsky’s production of Swan Lake doing a series of pas de chats in a diagonal around the 1.36 mark. There’s also a series of entrechats-quatre before.

The Russian Pas de Chat is a variant of this step in which both legs are positioned in attitude derrière rather than retiré

Mariinsky’s Maya Dumchenko does some Russian Pas de Chats at 0:17, while dancing the Paquita 4th Variation.

Glissade

A small jump which is mainly used to power a big one, or to connect another step. Starting from fifth position, the dancer does a demi-plié and springs slightly upwards. Front leg glides along the floor towards second position, the whole body traveling towards this extended leg, while the back leg glides onto fifth position, so the dancer is again in demi-plié, ready for the subsequent step.

Glissades can be done in all directions (en avant = forward, en arrière = backwards, à la seconde, etc.), with the feet changing accordingly when closing into the final plié.

Assemblé

Assembler means “to put together” or “to assemble”. One starts from fifth position and plié. The back leg slides off to a 45 degree angle battement (beating) on the side, while the front leg (now turned supporting leg) pushes and extends off the floor. The working leg closes in front fifth position, with both legs coming to the ground at the same time. Done in this way, the assemblé is said to have been executed dessus (from the back to the front) but can also be done dessous (from the front to the back).

This step does not travel, ie. the dancer remains in its original position.

Paris Opera Ballet dancers Emmanuel Thibault, Nolwenn Daniel and Mélanie Hurel do assemblés around the 0:33 & 0:40 mark in this beautiful pas de trois from Paquita. Look out for glissades at 1.29 & 1:35, changements at 2:53 & 2:57, entrechats at 4:30 & pas de chats at 4:38 & 4.40.

Brisé

Brisé stands for “broken”. This step is like a “beaten and travelled” version of the assemblé. It can be done en avant and en arrière: en avant, the dancer starts from fifth, back leg brushing in effacé devant and supporting leg pushing from the floor to beat the other leg from behind and front, finishing in fifth position (demi-plié), body arched towards the front throughout. En arriére, all positions are reversed (now the working leg is thrown to effacé derriere), body arched towards the back throughout.

Royal Ballet’s Alina Cojocaru (with Johan Kobborg) in a series of brisés in a diagonal, at around 4:52 in this Flower Festival in Genzano Pas de Deux.

Sources and Further Information:

Technical Manual and Dictionary of Classical Ballet by Gail Grant. BN Publishing. ISBN 1607960311.

Note: Whilst we have used widely known names for these jumps, note that terminology might vary slightly from school to school.

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In this post we continue to look at some of the big jumps that have historically filled the vision of many choreographers and which continue to fill the eyes of an audience. Our focus is on a set of common jumps, which tend to occur in almost every classical variation rather than on the flashy jumps which we already covered in Part 1.

Tours en l’air

Propelled from a deep plié in fifth position, the dancer jumps, making a complete turn in the air, switching feet and landing back in tight (closed) fifth position.

ABT’s Daniil Simkin in a variation from The Sleeping Beauty, where he executes some tours en l’air around the 1.07 mark.

Tour de force

A bravura type combination of tours en l’air, pirouettes and spins. A true feat of technical prowess.

ABT’s Angel Corella does a tour de force in Ali’s variation of Le Corsaire (move to the 0:52 mark)

Poisson

Literally meaning fish, it is a jump where the legs are crossed in fifth and held tightly while the back arches throughout its execution, as in the following image:

NYCBs Gonzalo García in Poisson form. Photo: Paul Kolnik, NYCB ©. Source: Danser en France

NYCB's Gonzalo García in Poisson form. Photo: Paul Kolnik, NYCB ©. Source: Danser en France

And here we see the jump in action:

Legendary Mikhail Baryshnikov does poisson jumps in his diagonal of cabriolés during Albrecht‘s variation in act 2 of Giselle.

Saut de chat

Also called a développé grand jeté. The working leg passes through retiré and is thrown forward into a développé, so both legs end up extended forming a 180 degree angle.

Paris Opera Ballet’s Aurélie Dupont does some saut de chats at the beginning of Gamzatti‘s variation in La Bayadère.

Grand pas de chat (This step is also called Russian pas de chat or Pas de chat jeté)

As in a grand jeté the dancer starts by throwing the first leg into a grand battement but then pulls the second leg into passé and lands on the first leg, with the second joining in fifth or in an arabesque. Alternatively the dancer may throw the first leg as in a saut de chat (see above). As this step was frequently used by Balanchine, it is also informally known as “Balanchine’s jump” (see the entrance of Stars and Stripes or Theme and Variations).

NYCBs Miranda Weese doing a grand pas de chat, supported by Damian Woetzel. Photo: Paul Kolnik / NYCB ©. Source: Voice Of Dance

NYCB's Miranda Weese doing a grand pas de chat, supported by Damian Woetzel. Photo: Paul Kolnik / NYCB ©. Source: Voice Of Dance

And here we see the jump in action:

Legendary Kirov ballerina Alla Sizova doing some grand pas de chats in Medora‘s variation of Le Corsaire

Sissonne

This jump, from both feet onto one foot, looks like the action of crossing blades in a pair of scissors. The jump starts from fifth position and lands on the leg which the dancer jumped from, leaving the other leg extended in dégagé (pointed toe extended off the floor at 45 degrees, a la seconde or en arrière).

Grand Sissonne Ouverte

This literally means “big open sissonne. One jumps high from a deep plié in fifth position, landing on one foot in a pose such as attitude, arabesque a la seconde, etc. It can be performed en avant, de côté or en arrière. A video of this step is available here [link].

Sissonne Développé Assemblé or Sissonne Doublée

This is a compound step which starts with a sissonne ouverte de côté (see above), followed by a coupé and an assemblé. It can be done as part of a series, in which one travels in one or more directions.

Mariinsky’s Vladimir Shklyarov does a whole series of sissonnes. Starting at 3:00, he does a Grand Sissonne de côté, assemblé, sissonne doublée and repeats (There are also some beautiful tours en l’air on 3:23 and a tour de force around 3:25).

Sources and Further Information:

Technical Manual and Dictionary of Classical Ballet by Gail Grant. BN Publishing. ISBN 1607960311.

Note: Whilst we have used widely known names for these jumps, note that terminology might vary slightly from school to school.

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This post is devoted to big jumps, usually the territory of  male dancers, though some of them are also done by ballerinas. These tend to draw gasps and applause from audiences (after all, some of them are extremely hard!) and comments in dance reviews. Given there are plenty of jumps in the ballet syllabus, we will focus first on a small subset. As usual, our intention is not to teach but to pass on general knowledge and illustrate the movements with words, images and video links.

Grand Jeté

This is probably a jump that features on most ballet performances. Jeté means, literally, thrown. In this step the dancer throws each leg at 90 degrees (and opposite directions) while jumping. It is usually preceded by a step like a glissade to gain momentum, followed by an arabesque position or attitude.

Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg doing parallel grand jetés. Photo: Bill Cooper - The Royal Ballet ©. Source: Dansomanie

Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg doing parallel grand jetés. Photo: Bill Cooper - The Royal Ballet ©. Source: Dansomanie

When grand jetés are done around the stage in a continuous sequence, as is typical in a classical male variation (note the princes’s variations in Swan Lake & The Sleeping Beauty), they are usually refered to as Jetés en manège.

Jeté Entrelacé (or Tour Jeté)

A grand jeté done in a circle. While the dancer throws the front leg, the body turns and the second leg is thrown to the back.

Here Dutch student Marijn executes a beautiful entrelacé.

Cabriolé

A step in which both legs are beaten in the air. The dancer starts with a grand battement and the leg that is underneath follows and beats the front leg, sending it higher. The dancer lands on the leg underneath. If there are two beats, it is usually referred as double.  This step can be done from any position of the body (devant, derriere or à la seconde).

The Royal Ballet’s Johan Kobborg executes a couple of cabriolés, in the Don Quixote variation.

Saut de Basque

This is a travelling jump. The dancer starts with a grand battement à la seconde, and the body turns, while the pushing foot folds into the other leg, positioning itself in a coupé position (that is, in front of the ankle) and landing in fondu.

Here Houston Ballet’s Randy Herrera does a saut de basque at the end of a sequence of turns.

Barrel Turns

This is a very flashy bravura step. The dancer turns in the air, throwing one leg to the back in attitude to lead the movement, while bringing the other leg along.

The Royal Ballet’s Carlos Acosta does a series of barrels (around the 1.53 mark), in this extract of Le Corsaire, with some saut de basques at the beginning.

The “540”

A variation of the barrel turn where the body turns 540 degrees. The throwing leg stays in the same position, while the other leg moves over it. This daredevil, not-your-everyday-jump is usually reserved for galas.

Here Mariinsky’s Denis Matvienko does a couple of 540’s in the coda of Le Corsaire.

Sources and Further Information:

Technical Manual and Dictionary of Classical Ballet by Gail Grant. BN Publishing. ISBN 1607960311.

Note: Whilst we have used widely known names for these jumps, note that terminology might vary slightly from school to school.

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Continuing from the previous edition of Bag of Steps, where we looked at the eight positions of the body from which all the various steps are executed, we are now going to see how these eight positions are integrated with the dance:

All dance steps stem naturally from the alignment and position of the body, so it is not that the dancer will stop in effacé devant, for some seconds, as they might do in class and then proceed with a particular step. That would turn a solo/variation into an assortment of poses or, to borrow from Clement Crisp’s description of a very slow paced adagio, a “game of statues.” But even with the dancer’s body in constant flow during a variation, one can still try and identify the key positions adopted. This is actually a fun exercise (at least for us!), as we demonstrate below.

We have taken two video fragments, both featuring Royal Ballet dancers: one from the Lilac Fairy variation (The Sleeping Beauty, Prologue) as danced by the joyous Marianela Nuñez, and another from Giselle (Act II), danced by the ethereal Alina Cojocaru†. We have pasted them together and tagged the positions in parts where we think they can be clearly spotted, so lookout for six of those eight positions previously described.

Note that while the diagrams in our post had dancers executing the positions from the leg tendu a terre (“stretched” on the ground), Marianela and Alina are getting into their positions with the leg en l’air (lifted working leg).

Vodpod videos no longer available.

† Copyright from the videos belongs to its respective owners.

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In ballet there are eight positions of the body from which all the various steps are executed. All the different schools of ballet use them, with slight variations from one to another (and some methods incorporate more positions or variations, but we are not going to be picky, since our aim is just to get familiar with the terminology). In fact, we mentioned one of the positions (effacé devant) when we discussed Balloté, so we thought it was a good idea to present them here, since they are used all over the place. These are:

  1. Croisé Devant
  2. Quatrième Devant
  3. Effacé Devant
  4. à la Seconde
  5. Croisé Derriere
  6. Ecarté
  7. Epaulé
  8. Quatrième Derrière

Let us start with some French vocabulary 

Devant: To the front
Derrière: To the back (close to the rear)
Croisé: Crossed alignment
Seconde: To the second position (lateral)
Ècarté: Separated or thrown wide apart
Effacé: Shaded
Epaulé: Shouldered (so when people talk about épaulement, they really are referring to the position of the upper body starting from the shoulders and the upper back)

Now one creates positions mixing the different components. Let us explain them carefully

1. Croisé Devant

Standing at an oblique angle to the audience (facing a corner), the leg nearer to the audience is the working leg and is extended in fourth position, pointing on tendú (=stretched) to the front. The arms are placed in (open) fourth position, such that the lower arm is on the same side as the extended leg.

2. Quatrième Devant

Facing the audience, the working leg is extended to fourth position, pointing on tendú to the front, with the arms in second position (open) and the head facing the audience.

3. Effacé Devant

Standing at an oblique angle to the audience (facing a corner), such as that part of the body is hidden. The leg further from the audience becomes the working leg and is extended in fourth position, pointing on tendú to the front. The arms are placed in (open) fourth position such that the lower arm is on the same side as the extended leg.

4. à la Seconde

Facing the audience, the working leg is extended to second position, pointing on tendú to the side, with the arms in second position (open) and the head facing the audience. It is also referred as à la seconde en face.

5. Croisé Derriere

Standing at an oblique angle to the audience (facing a corner). The leg further from the audience becomes the working leg and is extended in fourth position, pointing on tendú to the back. The arms are placed in (open) fourth position such that the lower arm is on the same side as the extended leg.

6. Ecarté

Facing any corner, the leg nearer to the audience becomes the working leg and is extended in second position, pointing on tendú to the side. The arms are in (open) fourth position so the highest arm is on the same side as the extended leg. The head is raised slighlty and turned toward the raised arm, so the eyes look into the hand.

7. Epaulé

Standing at an oblique angle to the audience, the dancer stands in arabesque facing one of the corners (the working leg is the one closest to the audience and is extended to the back in fourth position). The arm closest to the audience is extended forward, and the head is inclined and turned towards the audience.

8. Quatrième Derrière

Facing the audience, the working leg is extended to fourth position, pointing on tendú to the back, with the arms in second position (open) and the head facing the audience.

All these positions can also be done with the working leg en l’air (extended without touching the floor). And since these explanations might seem a bit confusing for the inexperienced, here are some drawings exemplifying the above descriptions:

The Eight Positions

The Eight Positions of the Body

Further Information: Technical Manual and Dictionary of Classical Ballet by Gail Grant. BN Publishing. ISBN 1607960311.

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