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Basic French - English technical terms


Students are expected to be able to combine movement and to have a knowledge of these French terms.


A French-English Dictionary of Technical Dance terms by Cyril Beaumont can be purchase from Rochelle dancewear shop, this has been compiled solely for the use of students of dance. French is the language of the dance and it is essential that students should fully understand the meanings of the terms they employ, particularly as the Knowledge often takes them half way towards the execution of a step or movement. 

STAGE 1 GLOSSARY - For Grade 1 & 2

Demi - Half

Plie - Bend

Battement - Beat

Tendu - Stretched

Round de Jambe - Round of the leg

Assemble - Assemble/Join together

Soutenu -Sustain/Hold

Degage - Disengaged, disengaging step

En Croix - In the shape of a cross

Grand - Large/Big

Retire - Draw up

Releve - Rise, Relift or raised - The body is to be raised on the point or half-point.

Adage - Slow Movement - Displaying grace, sense of line and balance

Port De Bras - Carriage of the arms

Bras Bas - Arms low

En Couronne - Arms in the shape of a crown

Demi- Second - Half second

Attitude Grecque - Greek arm position

A la Seconde - To the second

Chasse - Step chased and Slide

Passe  -Passed

Demi-Detourne - Half a turn towards the back foot

Petit - Small

Allegro - Brisk movement

Jete - Throw

Saute - Jump

Changement - Change of the feet

Glissade - Glide

Soubresaut  - Sudden Leap

Pas de Chat - Step of the cat

Echappe - Escape

Pose - Poised Step

Temps Leve - Hop - Time Raised                                                                 Balances - Step rocked

Devant - Front 

Derriere - Back

En Avant - Travelling forwards

En Arriere - Travelling backwards

Enchainement - A Combination of two or more steps

STAGE 3 GLOSSARY - For Grade 5 & 6

Fouette - Whipped

Entrechat - Interweaving

Cloche - Like a bell

Couru - Running step

Pirouette - Whirl - A turn of the body

STAGE 2 GLOSSARY - For Grade 3 & 4

Frappe - Strike
A Terre - On the ground
Fondu - Melt/ A bend on the supporting leg 

Sur Le Cou-De Pied - Neck of the foot or Instep
Developpe - Unfold - Developed
En Dehors - Outwards
En dedans - Inwards
Attitude - A particular position                                                                                     Arabesque - A particular position
En l'air - In the air
Croise - Crossed
Ouvert - Open
Efface - Shaded, placing of the body, see dictionary for full indication
Ecarte - Large Separation, placing of the body, see dictionary 
En face - Opposite/Facing forward

De cote - sideways

Epaulement - Shouldering
Pas - Step

Temp Lie - Time linked
Coupe - Cut/ to cut the weight of the body from one foot to the other

Sissonne - Scissor-like jump in which a dancer jumps from both feet onto one foot.

Pas de basque - Basque step - A characteristic step in National dances

En Tournant - In a turn

Batterie - Feet beating together - Battery  

Ferme - Closed

Contretemps - Against time                                        
Pas de Bourees - Step of bourree - Stuffing step
Enchainment - Chain of Steps/ linking together of two or more steps
Ballonne - Ball like

Simple - Ordinary

STAGE 4 GLOSSARY - For Intermediate & Advanced

Allonge - Lengthened

Brise - Step broken

Ballotte - Step tossed

Emboite - Step fitted together

Cabriole - Goat-like leap

Failli - Step given away

Raccourci - Shortened 

Tombe - Fallen

Pique - Pricked

Renverse - upset, reversed

Temps de Cuisse - Time of thigh

Temps de Flèche - Time of arrow

Gargouillade - Dabbling or paddling

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