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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Step confusion


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In another thread on this board, I mentioned how my teacher mentioned this step "precipite", and how I had no idea what it was exactly.

Well I eventualy found it in Grants dictionary, under "glissade précipitéé" as in a hurried glissade. Fine, then I read a bit further. It is always followed by a posé..Ahh, now this is where I get confused. I always thought it was posé, like in posé turns, posé arabesque. But then coming here to the US, its now piqué turns and piqué arabesque. So I look up piqué in the dictionary. " Pricked, Pricking, executed by stepping directly on the point or demi-pointe of the working foot in any desired direction with the other foot raised in the air", The I look up Posé " Poised. ...this is a movement in which the dancer stpes from one foot to the other with a petit dévloppé onto the point or demi-pointe of any desired postion".

There is a difference is there not between these two steps? Then how can Piqué turns and posé turns mean the same? Are posé turns different from piqué turns then? and how can a piqué follow a glissade précipitéé, when it should be a posé? ouch my head now hurts :confused: ..maybe this isn't such a big deal and just another one of my funny turns (ha ha :( )



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It's largely a matter of nomenclature. Some consider that poser and piquer are interchangeable. Others feel that the piqué movement starts with a straight dégagé and then a step up to pointe, and a posé makes a little arcing developpé. There are schools which differentiate between piqué turns and posé turns. :(

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Guest beckster

It's my understanding (and of course I am NO authority) that the english and the american systems use these words slightly differently. We use pose to mean a straight legged step onto (demi-) pointe, as in pose arabesque, pose turn, pose temps leve (step-hop). Pique refers to a "pricked" movement. That is, a short sharp movement for example used in pas de bourree pique where the feet are picked up sharply.


Americans use pique for the step onto straight leg, which we would term a pose, and therefore they have pique arabesque, pique turn, etc. I would be interested to know what they use for a "picked up" pas de bourree, and I don't know what they call a step-hop.

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The real vocabulary vultures would go for ramassée for a "picked up" pas de bourée, and a "step-hop" comes out "tombé, temps levé.

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flic-flac is another step that I had never heard of until I came here...do you know what this step is called in the UK and what it is exactly..I have heard som epeople mention it, but I can't visualize it.

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Easy; RAD calls it a flic-flac!:) Raise the working leg to about glissé height, then sort of do the exact opposite of a frappé, whipping the leg inward to a demi-retiré, brushing the metatarsals on the floor on the way in. the working foot relaxes slightly during the brush, but ends demi-retiré pointed. You can do them devant and derriere, with a relevé, and also en tournant. I believe they were taken from the Cecchetti system, where they are referred to as battements fouettés à la seconde, terre à terre.

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Yeah funny that, still never heard of them even though I did RAD for 2 and a half years. Its probably going to be one of those things where I'll ask someone to show me what a flic-flac is, then go "oh, one of those.." because even though you are describing it, I have no idea..not bad on your part..just a bit dizzy on mine;)

I'll have to ask tonight at class, get it out of the way. When do you normally do this step?

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Guest Colleen

in my experience, the short answer is: almost never. i only ever do it in advanced open classes when the teacher is trying to be extra creative and make us do something we don't ever do.

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That's about right. The flic-flac en tournant is a kind of "fossil step" left over from eighteenth-century ballroom dancing, where it was called "pirouette"! Well, I guess it is, sorta.:)

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We've been doing the flic-flac thingo in my beginner class almost every time these weeks; Ms. Satu says it's good for balance and good preparation for starting to learn pirouettes later. I like the step, but find it very difficult balance-wise. :)

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We use the flic-flac in our class, but I must say it's one I don't feel comfortable with either... I feel it's not as 'structured' as any other step I know... So, each time, it feels like new territory (although it should feel easier with time, every time it's like I start all over again :) )


For the problem of posé and piqué, I think the accent of the step is not the same, but also, in a posé, I feel the foot works more than in a piqué (where it stays mostly pointed throughout). In the posé, it's not unusual to put the heel on the floor as well, which is forbidden in a piqué.


The verb 'poser' in French means to lay down, to place (delicate) but 'piquer' means to prick, to sting, to bite (not so delicate! :D )

In a posé turn, you place your foot somewhere (like a step) then turn on the following foot.

In a piqué turn, the leg pricks the floor and the dancer turns on that same leg. (in a piqué, the leg is not allowed to bend, while in a posé, it can bend before touching the floor, it lays itself down with grace -sometimes developpé-ing from the cou-de-pied- while the piqué is more aggressive, aimed to be 'on top' of that same leg quickly)

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Right, balletowoman, you'll see that sort of posé turn used sometimes in Bournonville or the small remnants of St.-Léon's choreography that survive. At least that's where I've encountered most of them.:)

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ok, so basically, I've been given a term, i.e. posé turns and this was the wrong thing to call them. But in the piqué turns we do here, you step onto demi point or point, turn with the leg in a retiré position, after completing the turn you land on the leg that was in retiré in fondu and extend the other leg, ready to step onto it again. what step is that?


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That's actually one of the many forms of the coupé! :) And posé really isn't a wrong thing to call them - many schools including RAD do!

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