3 Tricks to Remembering the Top 15 Ballet Terms

3 Tricks to Remembering the Top 15 Ballet Terms

When it comes to ballet terms, it can seem like you're learning another language - and unless you're fluent in french, you are!

In the latest issue of Dance Teacher Magazine, we stumbled across three simple ways to help you remember the top 15 ballet terms.

It seems the first step is to break it down to three relatable categories; Animals, Objects & Food.

Then you can start distributing accordingly.



  • Alies de pigeon - a type of cabriole, means "pigeon's wings."
  • Chaînes du papillon - is chaînes with butterfly arms.
  • Pas de cheval - meaning "horse step," resembles a horse pawing the ground.
  • Poisson - is a position like a fish, with legs together and back arched. 
  • Saut de chat - "cat's jump," is a grand leap. 


  • Bras en couronne - indicates arms in the shape of a crown above the head.
  • Chaînes - means "chains" or "links" and refers to half-tuns done in a straight line.
  • Cloche - or, "bell," is a series of grands battements swinging front to back repeatedly.
  • En Croix - is to do and exercise in the shape of a cross ( front, second, back, second ).
  • Pas de ciseaux - meaning "scissors step," is a switch leap. 


  • Ballotté - or "tossed," is a jump with a quick, low développé of the working leg.
  • Battement - a "beating" action of the working leg. 
  • Coupé - or "cut," is a small intermediary step, usually with the working foot pointed at the supporting ankle. 
  • Fouetté - the famous turn in Swan Lake that means "whipped."
  • Frappé - meaning, "struck," is an accented extension of the working leg from the knee.  

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