Ballet Glossary
Alphabetical Terms


(French pronunciation: [pɔʁ d(ə) bʁa]; 'carriage of the arms.') An exercise for the movement of the arms (and in some schools, the upper body) to different positions. For example, a basic port de bras exercise could move from fifth en bas ('low') (i.e. bras bas or preparatory position) to first arm position, to second arm position, back down to fifth en bas. A full port de bras could move from en bas to en haut ('high', i.e. overhead) and back down. Port de bras movements vary by school and by action.The phrase port de bras is used in some schools and parts of the world to indicate a bending forward, backward, or circularly of the body at the waist, generally to be followed by bringing the u
French pronunciation: [poze]; A term of the Cecchetti school and RAD. From a fondu, a dancer steps with a straight leg onto an en pointe or demi-pointe foot, then brings the working leg to cou-de-pied, so that if the step is repeated, the working leg will execute a petit développé. This can be done in any direction or turning (the later also known as tour piqué). (Wikipedia)
There are two basic positions of the arms. In one, the dancer keeps the fingers of both arms almost touching to form an oval/round shape, either near the hips, at navel level, or raised above the dancer's head. In the other, the arms are extended to the sides with the elbows slightly bent. These positions may be combined to give other positions.Different schools, such as Vaganova, French, and Cecchetti, Russian often use different names for similar arm positions. The Russian school names three arm positions while the other schools name five.Bras bas ('arms low') (RAD)/bras au repos ('at rest') (French), preparatory position (Rus.), or fifth en bas (Cecc.) holds the arms low and slightly roun
There are eight to eleven positions of the body in ballet, eight in Cecchetti and RAD and ten or eleven in the Russian and French schools. The general positions are croisé, à la quatrième, effacé, à la seconde, écarté, and épaulé. Cecchetti and RAD's eight include croisé devant, à la quatrième devant, effacé (devant), à la seconde, croisé derrière, écarté, épaulé, and à la quatrième derrière. The Russian school further divides effacé and épaulé into effacé devant, effacé derrière, épaulé devant, and épaulé derrière, and the Russian arm positions on croisé derrière are the converse of Cecchetti/RAD's. In addition, the French school further divides écarté into écarté devant and écarté derrière
The standard, basic placements of feet on the floor. Modern-day classical ballet employs five positions, known as the first position, second position, third position, fourth position, and fifth position. (Wikipedia)
Prima ballerina assoluta is a title awarded to the most notable of female ballet dancers. To be recognised as a prima ballerina assoluta is a rare honour, traditionally reserved only for the most exceptional dancers of their generation. (Wikipedia)
Pulling up is critical to the simple act of rising up on balance and involves the use of the entire body. The feeling of being simultaneously grounded and "pulled up" is necessary for many steps in ballet. To pull up, a dancer must lift the ribcage and sternum but keep the shoulders down, relaxed and centered over the hips, which requires use of the abdominal muscles. In addition, the dancer must stabilize the pelvis, maintaining a neutral position, and keep the back straight to avoid arching and going off balance. (Wikipedia)


(French pronunciation: [katʁijɛːm]) Meaning 'fourth'. (Wikipedia)


(French pronunciation: [ʁɑ̃vɛʁse]) An attitude presented on a turn. (Wikipedia)
(French pronunciation: [ʁətiʁe]) A position of the working leg in which the leg is raised turned out and bent at the knee to the side so that the toe is located directly in front of (retiré devant) or behind (retiré derrière) the supporting knee. This is commonly used in pirouettes and as an intermediate position in other movements such as développé front. (Source Wikipedia)
(French pronunciation: [ʁeveʁɑ̃s]; 'reverence, bow.') A bow, curtsy, or grand gesture of respect to acknowledge the teacher and the pianist after class or the audience and orchestra after a performance. After a classical ballet, a bow or choreographed révérence may be performed in character. (Source Wikipedia)
(French pronunciation: ​[ʁəvɔltad]) A bravura jump in which one lands on the leg from which one pushes off after that leg travels around the other leg lifted to 90 degrees. (Source Wikipedia)