What the French?

Ever taken a barre class and hear your instructor suddenly speaking French? Here is a quick French-to-English dictionary with the most commonly used phrases to help you out in your next barre class!

1st position ballet – Heels together, toes turned out towards 10 and 2.

2nd position ballet – feet turned out about 45 degrees (similar to 1st position), but with heels about 1 – 2 feet apart

Arabesque – Body supported on one leg (supporting leg) with opposite leg (working leg) extended straight behind the body 

Attitude – Body supported on supporting leg while working leg is lifted and turned out with knee bent at an approximate 90 degree angle

Coupè- To cut (toes of working foot cuts supporting calf in half, i.e. similar to passe but foot is around mid-to-low calf)

Demie pliè – Half pliè; half bending of knees

Derrière – At or to the back side

Grand pliè – Full pliè; full bending of knees

Passè- To pass – when the working foot is placed on, near, or around the knee of the supporting leg (similar to coupè but foot is higher than calf)

Pliè – To bend (usually referring to knees)

Relevè – To raise or to elevate (usually referring to heels)

Rond de Jambe – Circling of the leg from front to side to back, etc. (on the ground or in the air)

Tendu – Stretched – Extend working leg to front, side or back

Turn-out, turnout – Rotation of the legs from the hips causing knee and foot to turn outward, away from the center line of the body (i.e., as in 1st and/or 2nd position)