10 Essential Ballet Jumps Terminology for Beginners: A Detailed Guide

An Overview of Ballet Jumps Terminology

Immerse yourself in the intricate and beautiful universe of ballet. Known for its precision and rich tradition, a key component that adds excitement to this classical dance form is the extensive range of ballet jumps, each carrying unique terminology. This detailed guide will familiarize you with the diverse ballet jumps terminology, enhancing your comprehension and admiration of this elegant dance.

Decoding Ballet Jumps

Jumps, also referred to as ‘sautés’ in ballet, are fundamental to a dancer’s performance. They exhibit a dancer’s power, mastery, and elegance. Let us delve into the different types of ballet jumps.

Petit Allegro

Petit Allegro or ‘small jumps’ are rapid, lightweight leaps that typically involve complex footwork and swift directional changes. These include:

  1. Changement: Derived from the French term for ‘change’, it signifies a jump where the dancer swaps foot positions while airborne.
  2. Échappé: Translated as ‘escaped’, it is a leap where the feet transition from a closed to an open stance.
  3. Assemblé: Meaning ‘assembled’, the performer jumps off one foot and lands on both feet, with legs ‘assembled’ together.

Grand Allegro

Grand Allegro signifies ‘big jumps’. These are greater, more robust leaps that demand strength and control. They encompass:

  1. Grand Jeté: A ‘big throw’ where the performer leaps from one foot, propels the other leg into the air, and lands on the initial leg.
  2. Sissonne: Named after its creator, it’s a leap from both feet onto one foot.
  3. Tour Jeté: Also recognized as Jeté Entrelacé, it is a spinning leap where the performer leaps into the air and alternates legs.

Ballet Jumps Terminology

Jumps That Travel

These are leaps where the performer travels across the stage during execution. They encompass:

  1. Pas de Chat: Translated as ‘cat’s step’, this leap involves both legs bending in mid-air, resembling a jumping cat.
  2. Glissade: Translated as ‘glide’, it is a preparatory or connecting leap where the performer glides across the stage.

Advanced Jumps

These are superior leaps that demand considerable technical prowess and strength. They encompass:

  1. Fouetté: A ‘whipped’ leap where the performer propels one leg around to initiate a turn.
  2. Cabriole: An ‘caper’ or ‘leap’ where one leg kicks up in the air, and then the other leg kicks up to meet it.

Learn more about ballet terminology with our essential ballet terminology beginners comprehensive guide.


The realm of ballet jumps is wealthy and intricate, with each leap requiring precision, power, and control. Familiarizing yourself with these terms not only amplifies your admiration for this stunning dance form but also equips you with the know-how to master these movements if you’re an aspiring ballet dancer.

Remember, every grand jeté, pas de chat, and cabriole narrates a story, and understanding the ballet jumps terminology will help you comprehend the storyline that unfolds on the ballet stage. Whether you’re a ballet enthusiast or a dedicated performer, knowing these ballet terms will augment your understanding and love for this exquisite and complex art form. So the next time you view a ballet performance or step onto the dance floor, keep these terms in mind and let the enchantment of ballet unravel.

Related Posts

Leave a Comment