Ballet Terms Pronunciation Definitions

Ballet Terms Pronunciation Definitions

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Take a look below at the Alphabetical list of most of the Ballet Terms Pronunciation Definitions.

It will improve your knowledge, terms are important to know and being able to pronounce them is an art in it's self.


adagio(ah-dazj'-eh-oh) This is a slow, sustained movement.

allegro(ah-leh-groh') This means 'Fast'. Jumps that are performed to a sharp and fast tempo.

allongé(aa-lohn-jay') To stretch out, to make longer.

arabesque(ah-rah-besk) This means to pose on one leg whilst extending the other leg to the back.

arrière, en(ahn ah-rehy'-her) This means - to the back.

assemblé(ah-sahm-blay') To put together, to make a jump from one foot then landing on both feet.

attitude(ah-teh-tewd') To pose, balanced on one leg while the other leg is slightly bent at the knee, extended to either the front, side or back.

avant, en(ahn ah-vahn') This means to the front.


balancé(bah-lahn-say') This means to rock - or to swing.

balançoire(bah-lahn-swahr') This is a 'see-saw' movement - meaning the body bends in the opposite direction to the leg as the leg goes forward and back.

ballonné(bah-lahn-nay') A jump on one foot while the other leg is extended outwards, then comes back to it's original position.

ballotté(bah-luh-tay') To throw about. This is a jump from either one foot or both feet.

basque, pas de(pah-duh-bahsk') This can either be performed as a jump or on the floor as a sliding movement.

battement(baht-mahn') This means 'moving' the leg.

batterie(baht-tree') This means to 'beat' the legs.

battu(bah-tew') This describes certain jumps and steps, for example, jumping and landing from two feet, or a specific movement that is usually performed at the 'barre' - to stand on one leg, the other leg will then beat against it.

bourrée(boo-ray') This is a move that is performed on your half-toe, whereby the first leg pulls the other leg in tightly - in very small and quick steps.

bourrée, pas de(pah-duh-boo-ray') This movement is a series of three steps.

brisé(bree-zay') This means to move apart and is a beating jump. Travelling forwards or backwards.


cabriole(kah-bree'-ohl) To leap, jumping from and landing on the same leg.

chaîné(shah-nay') To link movements together. To make a half turn in position one and move to the side quickly.

changé(shahn-zjay') This means 'change'.

changement(shahnzj-mahn') This means to alter, for example - jumping from one position, then - change the legs and land in that same position.

chassé(shah-say') To glide, smoothly either to the back, side or front.

chat, pas de(pah duh shah) Like a cat stepping - having both feet off the ground when jumping from one foot to the other.

cheval, pas de(pah de shuh-vahl') Like a step of a horse - either a floor movement or a 45, 90 or 120 degree jump.

cinq(sank) This means 'Five'.

cinquième(sank'-ee-em) This means a 'Fifth'.

ciseaux, pas de(pah deh see-zjoh') Like a 'Scissor' jump - when you are in the air the legs pass each other and you land on one leg.

cloche, en (ahn klohsh) To move backwards and forwards - like a bell being rung. Balançoire en cloche, conduct this move, but, the upper body swings in large arcs which are in the opposite direction the leg is moving.

contretemps(kahn-trah-than') Stepping quickly from one direction to another.

coté, de (deh koh-tay') This means - to the side.

cou-de-pieds, sur le (surh leh koo'-deh-pehay) Upon the neck of the foot - the side, back, or front.

coupé (koo-pay') This means 'cut' - to move the foot quickly off the floor and to put it either in front of the ankle or at the back of the ankle.

couru, pas (pah koo-rew') This is to travel to move quickly and lightly across the floor.

croisé (krawh-zay') Meaning - to cross. Facing on the diagonal with one of their legs crossed in front of the other.

croix, en(ahn krawh) Meaning a cross shape. Movement to the front, to the side, to the back and the side again.


d'ici-de là (deh-see'-deh-lah') To move from 'here' to 'there'. So if your leg was off the floor for example at 45 degrees, you would move the leg to the side, then back to the front.

de (deh) This means - to - or - of.

dedans, en (ahn deh-dahn') Meaning 'Inwards'. Directional term used to describe a turn.

degage (dā'gä-zhā')Meaning 'To disengage'. This is in between a 'tendu' and a 'grande battement' where the foot slightly leaves the floor.

dehors, en (ahn dah-ohr') Meaning 'outwards', a directional term to describe a turn.

demi-plié (deh-mee'-plee-ay') This is a small bend. Meaning the knee or knees, bend together over the toes - keeping the heels of the foot on the floor.

demi-pointes (deh-mee'-pwant) This means to rise on to the ball of the foot.

demi-ronds (deh-mee'-rohn) This means a half-circle. To move the leg either at 45 or 90 degrees off the floor, moving it from the front to the side, from the side to the back.

deh-rehy'-her (deh-rehy'-her) This means 'Back'.

dessous (deh-soo') Meaning Under - used also to describe a specific movement.

dessus (deh-sew') Meaning over - also used to describe a movement.

deux (duh) This means two.

deuxième (duh-zee-em') This means second.

devant (deh-vahn') This means Front.

diagonale (dy-aguh-nahl') This means diagonal.

divisés en quarts (deh-vee-say' ahn kar) To move on one leg, whilst extending the other. This changes the position of the body and leg with one quarter turn.

dix (deess) This means ten.


ecarté (ay'-kar-tay') This means to step aside/to deviate. A position where the leg is extended to the side.

échappé (ay'-shah-pay') To escape - moving from 5th to 2nd position by sliding the feet to the ball of the foot - or as a jump.

effacé (ay-fah-say') A position with one leg either behind or in front.

emboîté (ahn-bwah-tay') This means to jump from one foot to the other.

en (ahn) This means 'To' or 'In'.

entrechat (ahn-truh-shah') To jump in the air from two feet - beat the legs together in the air, land either on one or two feet.

entrelacé (ahn-truh-lah-say') To weave to criss-cross.

épualement (ay-pawhl-mahn') Meaning shoulder - one of three positions.


failli (fah-yee') To almost fall. Support body on one leg and lean so you are almost falling over, thenpass the other leg in a direction so you can stop the fall.

fermé (fehr-may') Meaning - close - a jump that needs you to close the working leg after the jump.

flic-flac (flehk-flak) A word to describe a soung like 'slap'- a move in place with a half or whole turn.

fondue (fohn-dew') Meaning to melt - to stand on one foot while bending one and extending the other, at the same time.

fouetté (fweh-tay') To stand on one leg and to change the hip and body direction while keeping the leg in the same place.

frappé (frah-pay') A fast action with the leg.


gargouillade (gahr-gooee-yahd') An advanced jump from one foot to the other.

grand (grahn) Meaning - Large.

grand jeté (grahn zjuh-tay') Meaning to throw - a big jump from one foot to the other.

grand pirouette (grahn peer-whet') A large turn with the leg out to the side.

grand plié (grahn plee-yay') To bend both knees fully,at the same time with the body lowered to the floor.

grands ronds de jambes (grahn rohn deh zjahmb') To move the leg from the front to the back in a large half circle.


huit (weet) This means eight.

hortensia This is when the dancer jumps then pulls both legs up to passe position it happens at the same time. The feet do not touch. The legs then resemble the butterfly in a sitting position.


jambes, ronds de (rohn duh zjahmb) To circle the legs either on or off the floor,outward or inward.

jeté (zjeh-tay') Meaning to throw the leg or to jump with a throw of the leg.

jeté entrelacé (zjeh-tay' ahn-trah-lah-say') A large movement from one leg to the other

jeté passé (zjeh-tay' pah-say') A jump ending with one leg to the back.


l'air, en (ahn lahr) This means - in the air. To describe a leg position or a jump.


manège (mah-nez') Steps that travel in a circle around the dance area.


neuf (nuhph) This means 'Nine'.


ouverte (oh-vehr') This means 'Open'.


pas (pah) This is to 'step'.

passe (pah-say) This means to pass.The working legs' foot is pointed to the side of the supporting legs' knee.

penche (pahn-shay) Incline - one leg is pushed backwards while the other is standing position, lean forward.

petite (puh-teet) Small.

pique (pee-kay) To prick - quickly step on one leg to half toe position.

pirouette (peer-whet) To turn.

plie (plee-yay) To bend - the knee or knees.

poisson, de (duh pwah-sohn) To jump from two feet with legs tight together with the body bent backwards.

port de bras (pohr duh brah) Movement of the upper body and arms.

porte (pohr-tay) To describe a number of jumps, to travel smoothly and close to the floor.

pose (poh-say) A pose - a certain position.

preparation (pray-pahr-ah-zjohn) This means to prepare.

preparation, grand (grahn pray-pahr-ah-zjohn) A large circular movement of the leg with body bent forward then backward - can be done inwards or outwards.

promenade (prohm-nahd) A Walk.


quatre (ka-trah) This means Four.

quatrieme (ka-tree-em) This means Fourth.


releve (rehl-leh-vay) This means to rise from the foot to the demi-pointe.

relevelent, battlement (baht-mahn-rehl-leh-vay lehnt) This means to rise slow and even. Extend one leg forward - the other leg rises to demi-pointe, either front, back or side.

renverse (rahn-vay-say) To reverse, to move the leg in a circle with co-ordination of the body - either as a jump or on the floor.

reverence (ray-vay-rahnss) To bow,the last exercise of a class.

revoltade (ruh-vohl-tahd) To revolve, a jump on one foot.

rond (rohn) This means Round.

royale (rawh-yal) A beating jump.


sans (sahns) This means without.

saute (soh-tay) To jump off the ground on either one or two legs.

seconde, a la (ah lah sek-ond) To stand on one leg while the other is extended to the side either 45/90/120 or 180 degrees off the floor.

sept (set) This means seven.

serre (sehr-ay) This is a fast beating of the foot agaist the ankle of the other foot.

sissonne (see-sohn) To jump from two feet onto one in a closed or open, forward, backward, sideways, over or under position.

six (seess) This means six.

soubresaut (sew-brah-soh) A sudden leap. With the body straight or bent backwards - from two feet onto two feet with the legs tight together.

sous-sus (soo-sew) A very tight 5th position in ballet on demi-pointe.

soutenu (soot-new) To support. To draw one leg evenly to the other done in place with a half or whole turn, outwards or inwards.


temps (tahn) To step. A sharp, springy action - in time.

temps de cuisse (tahn duh kweess) To place one foot in front on another, then jump with two feet and land on one foot.

temps de fleche (tahn duh flesh) To jump from one foot to the other but in the air they pass each other with bent legs.

temps leve (tahn lah-vay) A sharp jump either on one foot or two - step to lift.

temps lie (tahn lee-yay) A step to connect - to transfer the weight of the body from one leg to the other. Front, side or back.

temps releve (tahn rehl-leh-vay) To extend one leg with supporting leg bent, then, rise up on supporting leg to demi-pointe as other leg moves to the side.

tendue (tahn-dew) To extend the leg straight out from supporting leg with foot fully pointed - front, side or back.

tendue, double (doo-bluh-tahn-dew) To extend the leg from a specific position in a certain direction with foot fully pointed, put heel on floor, stretch leg again point foot then close to original position.

terre, a (ah tehr) On the floor.

tire-bouchon (teer-boo-shon) A turn - the working leg is drawn up slowly to the side of the supporting leg as a turn is performed.

tombe (tahm-bay) To fall with all your body weight onto the other leg.

tour (toor) This means to turn.

tour en l'air (toor ahn lehr) A turn in the air.

tour lent (toor lehnt) To turn slowly on one leg.

tournant, en (ahn toor-nahn) To turn in a circle - many jumps to be done by turning.

trios (trwah) This means three.

troisieme (trwah-zee-em) This means third.


un (uh) This means one.

unieme (uh-zee-em) This means first.


vole (voh-lay) This means to fly.

Now you have mastered all the Ballet Terms Pronunciations Definitions, time to start practicing the moves - good luck.

Oh - By the way if there are any Ballet Terms Pronunciations Definitions I have missed out - please let me know.

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