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Basic Dance Vocab

Word, Pronounce French, Dance, Notes*

TermDefinition
Plie (plee-yeh) French: folded or bent | Dance: bending of the knees | There is a "Demi plie" or half bending and "Grande plie" or full bending of the knees
Releve (rhe-ler-veh) French: raised again | Dance: rising of the body onto the balls of the feet after a plie, then lowering of the heels to the floor | From straight legs it would be "Eleve" (no plie)
Tendu (tahn-dew) French: stretched | Dance: brushing of feet along the floor with the leg straight without lifting the toe
Passé or Retire (pah-seh)(reh tee reh) French: withdrawn | Dance: a position in which the thigh is raised, knee bent, foot "withdrawn" to just below the knee either in front or behind the leg |In jazz and modern dance this position is often referred to as "Passé"
Petite Battement(peh-tee-t baht-mahn) French: large beating | whole leg is brushed through tendu and degage and sent up to a 89 degrees or lower angle. The leg returns to the floor by brushing back and through degage and tendu |There is a "Grand Battement"
Rond de Jambe (rawn-dher-zhahmb) French: round of leg | Dance: when one foot describes a half circle on the floor
En Croix (ahn-krwah) French: the shape of a cross | Dance: indicates that an exercise is to be executed forward, side, back, and side again.
Arabesque (ara-besk) *No French meaning* | Dance: position of when the body is supported on one leg wich may be straight or bent with the working leg extended straight to the rear
Chasse (sha-say) French: chased | Dance: a step in which one foot literally chases the other foot out of its position. It is usually done in a series across the floor or as a lead-in to a leap or other aerial move.
Pique (pee-kay) ** A movement in which the strongly pointed toe of the lifted and extended leg sharply lowers to hit the floor then immediately rebounds upward. Same for the some as the term pointe'.
Chaine (shey-nay) French: chained or linked | Dance: two step turn which can be preformed in plie or releve. The body rotates 180 degrees on each step
Coupe (koo-pay) French: cut | Dance: a position and a small intermediary step usually done as preparation or impetus for another step. The ankle of one leg is positioned at the ankle of the supporting leg either in front or behind.
Spotting (spo-t-ing) *No French meaning* | Dance: movement of the head and focusing of the eyes in pirouettes and other turning movements.
Choreographer (kor-e-oh-gra-fer) *No French meaning* |Dance: One who creates/composes/invents dances
Choreography (kor-e-oh-gra-fee) *No French meaning* |Dance: actual steps, groupings, and patterns of a dance work
Ballet(bah-lay) *No French meaning* | Dance: A term applied to any theatrical work or entertainment in which a choreographer has expressed ideas in groups and solo dancing to a musical accompaniment with costumes, scenery and lighting.
Dance (dan-s) *No French meaning* | Dance: a performance art form which uses the human body with energy through space and time
Port de Bras (poor-t dey bra-s) (poor-t dey bra-s) Literally "carriage of the arms". Describes a movement or series of movements designed to move the arms gracefully from one position to another.
Sus-sous/ Sous-sus (sue-sue) ** From fifth position, a dancer rises up onto the pointes or demi-pointes with the feet touching and ankles crossed in a particularly tight fifth position releve'. This can be performed in place or traveling forward, backward or to the side.
Grand Plie Full bending of knees *See plie*
Demi Plie Half bending of knees *See plie*
 

 



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