Ballet Terms: B






Balancé (& Pas Balancé) – A rocking step where the weight shifts from leg to leg

This step is similar to a waltz and is a change in balance of the body, shifting the weight from one foot to the other.

Balancé (top right) is characterized by the down, up, down pattern of movement. In the Vaganova and French technique, Pas Balancé (bottom right) is done with a light jeté to the side before landing, stepping into cou-de-pied, and back down.

Balançoire – A swing of the leg while leaning in the opposite direction with the upper body

Balançoire means swing and is often used in grand battement with the body tilting in opposite direction of the leg. Similar to Cloche, en.


A type of dance with organized movement, telling a story or expressing an idea.

Image of Cinderella Performance

Ballerina – A lead female ballet dancer

This title is for the leading female dancers in a ballet company, however, it is also commonly used to refer to any female ballet dancer.


Ballon – To bounce, used to describe a light, buoyant, effortless quality in jumps.

Ballon is not a step; it is how we describe the quality of jumping where the dancer appears to suspend for a moment in the air before landing softly with control and lightness.

Ballotté – A rocking step with the body leaning forward and back

Ballotté comes from the word meaning tossed or thrown, this is a movement in which the body weight is “tossed” from foot to foot. This step can be done with or without a jump

Barre – A handrail that provides support for dancers

“The Barre” is an essential feature of ballet class and refers to the handrail that usually runs along the walls of ballet studios. Used to train balance and alignment, barres can also be portable and used in the centre of the studio.


Battement Dégagé – An extended straight leg, brushed very slightly off the floor.

Meaning cleared or disengaged, the battement dégagé is similar to the battement tendu but the stretched working foot is brushed off the floor. This is either the same or very similar step to battement glissé and battement tendu jeté. the are some differences in height and accents for this step and in RAD a battement dégagé does not brush back into fifth or first. Also in the French School called dégagé en l’air, or jeté when executed faster and higher.

Battement Frappé – striking movement

From the French meaning hit or struck, frappé is an exercise in which the dancer forcefully extends the working leg from a bent, lifted position. When done on flat with a flexed working foot, the working foot “strikes” the floor on the way out.

Battement Tendu

A stretched leg, extended away from the body with the toes on the ground.

Battement Tendu

Bras Bas – Arms Down

From the French meaning low arms, in this position, the arms are gently curved in front of the thighs. This position is also referred to as Preparatory Position.

Bras Bas – Arms Down

Brisé Volé – A brisé landing on one leg, typically done in a series, alternating between brisés front and back

Volé comes from the French term for “flying.”