Ballet Vocabulary



Key to phonetic pronunciation (all sounds in English):

zh = s as in measure, leisure. oo = oo as in shoot, zoo.

ew = u as in cupid. ahn = on as in concert.

eh = ai as in pair. ohn = on as in long.

oh = o as in role. ohm = om as in come.


Adagio, slow movements mainly working the classical line, flexibility, strenght, stamina,

balance and poise.

Allegro, brisk movements mainly working lightness, speed and elevation.

Arabesque (ah-rah-BESK), the longest line in ballet.

en Arriere (ah nah-RYEHR), backwards.

Assemble (ah-sahm-BLAY), to assemble.

en Avant (ah na-VAHN), forwards.


Balance (bah-lahn-SAY), rocking step.

Balancoire (bah-lahn-SWARR), swinging movement (normally done at 90 degrees or higher

with body movement).

Ballonne (bah-luh-NAY), ball like, bouncing movement.

Ballotte (bah-luh-TAY), tossed.

petit Battement (puh-TEE baht-MAHN), small beats around the ankle.

Battement tendu soutenu (baht-MAHN tahn-DEW soot-NEW), a tendu with the supporting leg

simultaneously executing a plie.

Battement soutenu (baht-MAHN soot-NEW), a small coupe developpe with the supporting leg

simultaneously executing a plie.

Brise (bree-ZAY), broken.

Brise vole (bree-ZAY voh-LAY), flying brise.


Cabriole (kah-bree-ohl), caper.

Cambre, arched.

Chaines (shay-NAY), chained, linked movement.

Changement de pieds (shahnzh-MAHN duh pyay), changes of the feet.

Chasse (shah-SAY), to chase.

Cinq (sank), five.

Ciseaux, scissors

Cloche (klohsh), bell like movement (normally done at 45 degrees with a stop at each end).

Cou-de-pied (koo-duh-pyay), neck of the foot.

Coupe (koo-PAY), to cut.

Couru (koo-REW), to run.

Croise (krwah-ZAY), crossed direction of the body (devant, derriere).

temps de Cuisse (tahn duh KWEES), step of the thigh.


en Dedans (ahn duh-DAHN), inwards.

Degage (DAY-gah-ZHAY), to disengage.

en Dehors (ahn duh-OR), outwards.

Demi Plie (duh-MEE plee-AY), half bend. Purpose: for elasticity & connectedness of movement.

Derriere (deh-RYEHR), behind, back.

Dessous (duh-SOO), under.

Dessus (duh-SEW), over.

Detourne (DAY-toor-NAY), to turn aside.

Developpe (DAYV-luh-PAY), to unfold.


Ecarte (AY-kar-TAY), split apart (direction of the body done @ 1/8 devant and derriere).

Echappe (AY-shah-PAY), to escape.

Efface (ay-fah-SAY), shaded (direction of the body done @ 1/8 devant and derriere).

Elan, attack.

Elance (AY-lahn-SAY), to dart.

Emboite (ahn-bwah-TAY), boxed, fitted together.


Entrachat quatre (ahn-truh-SHAH KA-truh), four crossings (2nd jump in ballet that does not

change feet).

Entrachat cinq (ahn-truh-SHAH sank), five crossings (similar to entrachat quatre with a coupe


En royale (ahn rwah-YAL), royal, four crossings (2nd jump in ballet that changes feet).

Entrachat trois (ahn-truh-SHAH trwah), three crossings, (similar to en royale with a coupe


Entrachat six (ahn-truh-SHAH seess), six crossings (3rd jump in ballet to change feet).

Entrachat sept (ahn-truh-SHAH set), seven crossings (similar to entrachat six with a coupe



En croix, in the shape of a cross.

En L’air (ahn lehr), in the air.

Entrelace, laced.

Epaulement (AY-pohl-MAHN), shouldered.


Failli (fah-YEE), giving way.

Ferme (fehr-MAY), closed.

Flic Flac (fleek-FLAK), crack of the whip.

Fondu (fohn-DEW), to melt. Purpose: for coordination of the head, arms and legs.

Fouette (fweh-TAY), whipped.

Frappe (frah-PAY), to hit or strike. Purpose: for speed and flexibility in the knee and ankle.


Glissade (glee-SAHD), to glide.

Grand Passe (grahn pah-SAY), large pass (changes feet).


Jete (zhuh-TAY), to throw.


en Manege (ahn ma-NEZH), steps done in a circle.


Ouvert(e) (oo-VEHR, oo-VEHRT), open.


Pas de Deux (pah duh ah-duh), step of two.

Pas de basque (pah duh bahsk), step from the “Basque” country.

Pas de bourree (pah duh boo-RAY), bourree step.

Pas de chat (pah duh shah), step of the cat.

Pas de cheval (pah duh shuh-VAL), step of the horse.

Pas de ciseaux (pah duh see-ZOH), scissors step.

Pas de poisson (pah duh pwah-SOHN), fish step.

Penche (pahn-SHAY), to lean.

Petit rond de jambe par terre (puh-TEE rohn duh ZHAHNB pahr tehr), small circle of the leg on

the ground. Purpose: to work the turnout.

Pique (pee-KAY), to stab.

Pirouette (peer-WET), whirl or spin.

Port de bras (por duh brah), carriage of the arms.

Promenade (pruhm-NAD), to walk.


Releve (ruhl-VAY), raised in (working leg closing to supporting)

Releve lent (ruhl-VAY lahn), to rise slowly.

Renverse (rahn-vehr-SAY), upset, tipped.

Retire (ruh-tee-RAY), withdrawn (a passe that rests).


Saute (soh-TAY), to jump.

Sautille (soh-tee-YAY), hopping.

Sissonne (see-SUN), scissor like movement.

Soubresaut (soo-bruh-SOH), sudden spring (1st jump in ballet that does not change feet).

Sous-sus (soo-SEW), under-over (sprung rise bringing in both feet equally).

Soutenu (soot-NEW), to sustain.


Temps leve (tahn luh-VAY), raising movement (a jump from 1 to 1).

Temps lie (tahn LEEYAY), connected movement.

Tombe (tohm-BAY), to fall.

Tour en l’air (toor ahn LEHR), to turn in the air.

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