BALLET THEORY


Theoretical questions will be marked in the section entitled 'Responses and Knowledge of Syllabus'. Most of the terms used in ballet are French (a few are Italian). Candidates are expected to learn these terms and to be able to answer what each means. It is important for the candidates to understand that these explanations are not necessarily literal translations of the French terms but relate to what they mean when used in a Ballet class. 

Students will be asked theory from their grade and below. 

GRADE 1

Dégagé            Disengage or to release the foot from a closed position to an open position.

Demi                 Half

Plié                   Bend

Battement        Beat

Tendu               Stretch

En Crois           Shape of a Cross

Grand               Large

Retiré               Draw up

Adage              Slow Movement

Coupé             Cut / to cut the weight of the body from one foot to the other

Chassé            Slide


Fondu              Melt /a bend on the supporting leg

Glissade         Glide

Petit                Small

Jeté                 Throw

Sauté              Spring

Echappé         Escape


Posé                Step / place


Temps Levé    Hop

Devant            Front

Derriére           Back

En Avant         Travelling forwards

Port de Bras    Carriage of the arms

GRADE 2

Assemblé         Assemble / join together

Soutenu           Sustain / hold


En Dehors        Outwards

En Dedans       Inwards


En Arriére         Travelling Backwards


Relevé              Rise / a snatching of the feet


Ports De Bras  Carriage of the arms


Croisé              Crossed

Ouvert              Open

En Face            Facing (the audience)

Passé               Pass


Enchainement  Chain of steps / linking together of two or more steps

Changement    Change / A jump from third to third changing the feet.

Soubresaut      Simple jump without change of feet 

GRADE 3

Rond De Jambe    Circle of the leg, the other in 4th opposite 1st à terre or en l'air


à Terre                  On the ground 


Arabesque            Represents the shape of a bow / a position on one leg, the other in 4th opposite 1st à terre or en l'air


De Côté                 Facing the side

Demi-Detourné     Half a turn towards the back foot

Pas De Chat         Step of a cat


Pas De Bourrée    Small running steps / consisting of three movements (5th; 2nd; 5th) 

Pas De Basque      A step from the Basque country representing the swirl of a skirt

Sissonne                A scissor movement from two feet onto one foot

GRADE 4

Developpé    Unfold

Frappé          Strike / hit

Pirouette       Spin on one leg

En L'air           In the air

Attitude         A position on one leg, the other in 4th opposite 5th à terre or en l'air 

GRADE 5

Sur-le cou-pied       On the neck of the foot 

Épaulment               Use of the shoulders with one shoulder forward the other back; the head over the front over the front shoulder; the turn coming from the upper back 

Ballonné                    Bounce

Simple                       A simple balloné with the accent on the inward movement

Composé                   A compound step with the accent on the outward movement followed by a step and close 

Demi Contretemps    Temps levé in arabesque followed by a chasse passé en avant

Battu.                            Beaten

GRADE 6

En cloche                           Bell-like preparation for Grand Allegro


Fouetté                               Whip

Ex. for Fouetté                   Preparation for Fouetté of Adage in the centre and Grand Allegro fouetté movements

Battements sur le cou-de-pied   Preparation for beaten work 


Contretemps                       Against time/coupé under, chassé en avant, temps levé in arabesque, chassé passé en avant 


Fermée                                 Closed

KNOWLEDGE OF THE PURPOSE OF THE EXERCISES

1. What is the purpose of performing pliés at the beginning of a Ballet class?


Plies help to:

  • warm up all the muscles in the legs

  • strengthen the legs

  • establish turn-out

  • sustain the upright position of the body.

2. What is the purpose of Grands Battements en cloche? 

The main purpose of grands battements is to loosen and strengthen the legs. Battement en cloche develops the fullest range of movement. 

3. What is the purpose of the Preparatory Exercise for Fouetté Rond de Jambe en Tournant? 

This exercise helps to establish coordination and balance ready for turning. 

4. What is the purpose of Battements sur le cou-de-pied? 

This exercise develops speed and control in the use of the lower leg, preparatory to beaten steps. It also helps the understanding of how some parts of the leg can move independently to the others.

5. What is the purpose of Exercise for Fouetté of Adage? 

All adage movements help to develop the slow, smooth control of the legs and the strengthening of the back. The fouetté requires the ability to use the hinge-like movement of the torso and the hip joint as the working leg circles from side to back, and to centre the weight over the supporting leg. 

6. What is the purpose of the Demi Pointe enchainments on the barre? 

These strengthen feet and legs and prepare for pirouettes and pointe-work.