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Created by Jessica Metzger

Terms, page 2/2

Plié | Pieds, cinq positions des | Relevé | Tour de force|



Bent, bending. A bending of the knee or knees. This is an exercise to render the joints and muscles soft and pliable and the tendons flexible and elastic, and to develop a sense of balance. There are two principal pliés: grand plié or full bending of the knees (the knees should be bent until the thighs are horizontal) and demi-plié or half-bending of the knees. Pliés are done at the bar and in the centre in all five positions of the feet.

Pieds, cinq positions des

[sen paw-zee-SYAWN day pyay]

Five positions of the feet. There are five basic positions of the feet in classical ballet, and every step or movement is begun and ended in one or another of these positions, which were established by Pierre Beauchamp, maître de ballet of the Académie Royale de Musique et de Danse from 1671 to 1687.

First position (Première position):

Jessica demonstrating first position.

In this position the feet form one line, heels touching one another.

Second position (Seconde position):

Jessica demonstrating second position.

The feet are on the same line but with a distance of about one foot between the heels.

Third position (Troisième position):

Jessica demonstrating third position.

In the third position one foot is in front of the other, heels touching the middle of the other foot.

Fourth position (Quatrième position):

Jessica demonstrating fourth position.

In the fourth position the placement of the feet is similar to that in the third position, the feet being parallel and separated by the length of one foot. This is the classical fourth position but it may also be done with the feet in the first position, only separated by the space of one foot. The former is known as quatrième position croisée (crossed fourth position), while the latter is called quatrième position ouverte (open fourth position). Today quatrième position croisée is done with the feet placed as in the fifth position, parallel and separated by the length of one foot, instead of the third position.

Fifth position (Cinquième position):

Jessica demonstrating fifth position.

In the fifth position, Cecchetti method, the feet are crossed so that the first joint of the big toe shows beyond either heel. In the French and Russian Schools the feet are completely crossed so that the heel of the front foot touches the toe of the back foot and vice versa.


Jessica demonstrating relevé.


Raised. A raising of the body on the points or demi-pointes, point or demi-pointe.

Tour de force

[toor duh fawrss]

An arresting, vital step; a feat of technical skill such as a series of brilliant pirouettes or a combination of outstanding jumps and beats.

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