Ballet Leaps

ballet leap

A big part of learning ballet is learning how to do the ballet leaps. Ballet is a graceful dance with a long history and tradition. It can take years of study to become proficient and even longer before you master it. Most dancers start learning the basics of ballet leaps when they are very young. If they have the drive and passion for the art, they might turn it into a career. To do that, they first need to know their leaps.

Common Ballet Leaps

The art of ballet has its roots in Italian renaissance and includes many precise steps and movements. Just learning the ballet terms can be a challenge. The most common leaps include the following:

  1. Jeté- This is a ballet leap from one leg to the other in which one leg is thrown to the side, front, or back of the dancer. There are several kinds of jetes such as petit jete and grand jete.
  2. Grand Jeté - One of the harder leaps but one that is most associated with ballet. It is a long horizontal jump, starting from one leg and landing on the other. The dancer usually performs a full leg split in mid-air before she lands. If performed correctly, it can make the dancer appear as if he is gliding through the air.
  3. Sissone - This is a simple leap where the dancer moves from two feet to only one foot. In some occasions, the dancer may land with both feet.
  4. Pas de Chat - Translated, it means the "step of the cat." A difficult leap to perform, it is where the dancer jumps sideways. While in the air, she bends both legs up as high as possible while keeping her knees apart. The result is the legs form a diamond shape while in the air.
  5. Sauté - Literally meaning "jump," a saute is used to add a jump to another movement.
  6. Petit Saut - This is a small jump where the feet do not change position while the dancer is in the air.
  7. Emboîté - A ballet leap performed while turning and traveling. With the right leg forward, the dancer jumps up and bends the leg to 45 degrees. He then lands on the right foot and places his left foot in front of the right ankle.
  8. Entrechat - A fast leap in which the dancer jumps into the air and quickly crosses the legs in front and behind. While in the air, the dancer beats her right thigh on the back and front of her left thigh before landing.

Importance of Practice

Ballets movements, such as ballet leaps, are elegant and flowing when performed correctly. However, they require a lot of practice. Beginners cannot be expected to perform any of the leaps when just starting out. Age also has plats an important factor. Young children could suffer serious injury from trying to perform a difficult ballet leap. In order to be a good ballet dancer, you need to appreciate the importance of practice.

  • Take ballet classes on a weekly, if not daily, basis. This keeps your body in shape and flexible enough to perform the leaps.
  • Always warm-up before performing any difficult dance moves. Ballet has a reputation of being brutal on dancers. If you do the proper warm-up exercises, you reduce the chances of an injury.
  • Repetition is the key to learning even the most basic of steps. The more you practice, the easier the steps will become.
  • Always practice with instructors when learning new moves. They have the experience to help you through the moves and can tell you if you are doing it wrong.

More About Ballet and Dance Terms

Leaps are just one of many aspects of ballet. If you want to learn more about the steps or the art of ballet, you can check out some of these sites:

  • DanceHelp.com - This is a great site to learn about different dance steps and styles.
  • American Ballet Theatre - The heart of American Ballet, this site contains almost everything you need to know to appreciate ballet.
Ballet Leaps