Dictionary of French Ballet Terms Q-Z

We teach using French classical ballet terms

Terms are listed alphabetically – select first letter of term below to go to the Dictionary page you wish to see.

A-B  C-D   EH  I-L  M-P  Q-Z

Quatre four
Quatrième first
Relevé raised – raising of the body on the points or demi-pointes, point or demi-pointe
Retiré position in which the thigh is raised to the second position en l’air with the knee bent so that the pointed toe rests in front of, behind or to the side of the supporting knee.
Rise smooth relevé from a position à terre through all the levels of the foot (quarter-point, half-point and three-quarter point) – toes do not move from the spot at which the rise began.
Rolling Poor distribution of weight on inside or outside of foot – toes and heels should be flat on the floor and the turn-out must come from the hip joints.
Romantic ballet


A style of ballet produced during the early nineteenth century in which the accent was on the conveyance of a mood to a story.
Rond de jambe a circular movement of the leg
Rond de jambe à terre exercise at the bar or in the centre in which one leg is made to describe a series of circular movements on the ground
Rond de jambe en l’air exercise at the bar or in the centre in which one leg is made to describe a series of circular movements in the air
Royale changement in which the calves are beaten together before the feet change position
Russian School The Russian School was founded in St. Petersburg in 1738 by the French dancerJean-Baptiste Landé. During the 1 920s the Russian ballerina and teacher Agrippina Vaganova developed a planned instructional system which later became known to the whole world as the Vaganova system.
Saut de basque traveling step in which the dancer turns in the air with one foot drawn up to the knee of the other leg
Sauté, sautée this term is added to the name of a step when the movement is performed while jumping
Seconde, à la the foot is to be placed in the second position, or that a movement is to be made to the second position en l’air
Sept seven
Sickling fault in which the dancer turns his or her foot in from the ankle, thereby breaking the straight line of the leg
Sissonne jumping step which begins on two feet and lands on one
Six six
Supporting leg used by dancers and teachers for the leg which supports the body so that the working leg is free to execute a given movement
Temps lié sur les pointes connected movement en pointe
Terre, à the entire base of the supporting foot or feet touches the ground
Tour de force feat of technical skill such as a series of brilliant pirouettes or a combination of outstanding jumps and beats
Tour en l’air turn in the air – usually a male dancer’s step although contemporary choreographers use this tour for ballerinas as well
Tournant, en Indicates that the body is to turn while executing a given step
Trois three
Troisiéme third
Turn-out the ability of the dancer to turn his or her feet and legs out from the hip joints to a 90-degree position
Tutu the short classical ballet skirt made of many layers of tarlatan or net -romantic tutu is a long skirt reaching below the calf
Vaganova, Agrippina The greatest Russian teacher of her day (1879-1951).
Variation A solo dance in a classic ballet
Virtuoso The dancers in a ballet who do not appear as soloists
Working leg used by dancers and teachers to denote the leg that is executing a given movement while the weight of the body is on the supporting leg