The 7 Movements of Dancing

The seven movements of dancing provide fundamental dance terminology for beginning students.

The classic ballerina posing at ballet barre
  • Plier: To bend

Plier describes the motion of flexing the knee or knees.

  • Relever: To raise, rise, or lift

The dancer rises to the balls of the feet and moves into demi-pointe.

  • Glisser: To glide

The dancer performs a motion that glides across the floor. From fifth position, bend the knees (plié) and brush one foot a few inches off the ground. Transfer your weight onto this foot. Slide the opposite foot into fifth position and bend the knees (plié).

  • Sauter: To jump

A jumping movement. From plié, push off the floor. Point your toes, engage your leg muscles, and land in plié.

  • Tourner: To turn around

The dancer performs steps that involve turning. An example is a pirouette.

  • Étendre: To stretch

The dancer performs a stretching movement that involves lengthening the leg by stretching the knee, ankle, foot, and toes.

  • Elancer: To dart

The dancer performs movements in a darting manner. An example is the step sissonne.

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