Dance Terms and Definitions

Dance Info

Dancing Terms and Dance Definitions

À la seconde
A movement with feet to the side or in second position, as in pirouette à la seconde, in which the dancer turns with the working leg à la hauteur (elevated) in second position. An implicit attribute of movements such as tendu, glisse, and grand battement.
À terre
touching the floor.
Abstract dance
A plot less work composed of pure dance movements, although the composition may suggest a mood or subject.
the dominant beat of the music measure, usually the first beat of the measure.
Ballet, a slow section of a pas de deux. Dance class exercise focussing on slow, controlled movements that highlight balance and extension, and require strength and poise.
Dance class where exercises for balance and sustained movement are performed.
Any dance to slow music; also, part of the classical pas de deux in ballet.

In classical ballet the pas de deux (duet) consists of four sections: an opening adagio in which the man supports the woman in turns and balances, followed by a solo variation for each of them, and concluded by a fast coda in which they again dance together.

Ad Lib
to “improvise”.
air, en l'
(ballet) a step done off the ground -- for instance, rond de jambe en l'air.
Spanish Gypsy dance. It suggests the movements of the bullfight and is usually danced by a woman alone.
A dance with a fast or moderate tempo. That part of a ballet class comprised of fast turning or jumping, especially beaten steps; usually follows the adagio.
Dance originated in Germany in the early 16th century.
(ballet) an elongated line; in particular, the horizontal line of an arabesque with one arm stretched front and the other back.
A combination of two or more patterns or movements.
a fake
American Rhythm
American style ballroom dances. Cha-cha, Rumba, East Coast Swing, Bolero, Mambo. Also Samba and West Coast Swing.
American Smooth
American style ballroom dances. Waltz, tango, foxtrot and Viennese waltz.
American Style
Ballroom dances developed in the USA that contrasts with the International Style. Includes American Smooth and American Rhythm. See International Style versus American Ballroom Dancing
animal dances
Bunny Hop (1953), Bunny Hug (1911), Chicken Scratch (1912), Fish (1961), Fox Trot (1914), Grizzly Bear (1912), Turkey Trot (1912).
a position in which the dancer stands on one leg, straight or bent, with the other extended to the back at 90 degrees.
Argentinean tango
originated in the West Indies where it was danced only by the lowest classes.
Arkansas traveler
an old time barn dance depicting a salesman of tin ware who came from Arkansas.
Arm Styling
Positioning and movement of the arms, reflecting the character and style of the dance.
a drag.
arrière, en
to the back.
a jump from one to both feet, usually landing in fifth position.
also known as Tulle-bi-telli, is a textile marrying cotton or linen mesh with small strips of metal. Translates roughly as "net with metal".
a pose in which one leg is raised in back or in front with knee bent, usually with one arm raised.
avant, en
to the front.
tuck jump turning outward leaving and landing on the same foot.


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