Ballet theory questions for Grades 1 to 6

Theoretical questions will be marked in the section entitled 'Responses and Knowledge of Syllabus'. Most of the terms used in ballet are French (a few are Italian). Candidates are expected to learn these terms and to be able to answer what each means. It is important for the candidates to understand that these explanations are not necessarily literal translations of the French terms but relate to what they mean when used in a Ballet class.

Grade 1 - Grade 2 - Grade 3 - Grade 4 - Grade 5 - Grade 6 - Knowledge of the Purpose of the Exercises

Grade 1

Candidates may be asked up to 3 questions from the following: -

Question Answer
degage disengage/to release the foot from a closed to an open position
demi half
plie bend
battement beat
tendu stretch
en croix in the shape of a cross
grand large
retire draw up
adage slow movements
coupe cut/to cut the weight of the body from one foot to the other
chasse slide
fondu melt/a bend on the supporting leg
glissade glide
petit small
jete throw
saute spring
echappe escape
pose step/place
temps leve hop
devant front
derriere back
en avant travelling forwards


Grade 2

Candidates may be asked up to 3 questions. These may be chosen from the previous grade and from the following:

Question Answer
assemble assemble/join together
soutenu sustain/hold
en dehors outwards
en dedans inwards
en arriere travelling backwards
releve rise/a snatching of the feet
ports de bras carriage of the arms
croise crossed
ouvert open
en face facing (the audience)
passé pass
enchainement chain of steps/linking together of two or more steps
changement change
soubresaut simple jump without change of feet

 

Grade 3

Candidates may be asked up to 3 questions. These may be chosen from the previous grades and from the following:
Question Answer

Question Answer
rond de jambe circle of the leg
a terre on the ground
arabesque represents the shape of a bow/ a position on one leg, the other in 4th opposite 1st a terre or en l'air
de cote facing the side
demi-detourne half a turn towards the back foot
pas de chat step of a cat
pas de bourree small running steps/consisting of three movements (5th; 2nd; 5th)
pas de basque a step from the Basque country representing the swirl of a skirt
sissonne a scissor movement from two feet onto one foot

 

Grade 4

Candidates may be asked up to 3 questions. These may be chosen from the previous grades and from the following:

Question Answer
developpe unfold
frappe strike/hit
pirouette spin on one leg
en Pair in the air
attitude a position on one leg, the other in 4th opposite 5th a terre or en l'air


Grade 5

Candidates may be asked up to 3 questions. These may be chosen from the previous grades and from the following:

Question Answer
sur-le cou-pied on the neck of the foot
epaulment use of the shoulders with one shoulder forward the other back; the head over the front over the front shoulder; the turn coming from the upper back
ballonne bounce
simple a simple ballone with the accent on the inward movement
compose a compound step with the accent on the outward movement followed by a step and close
demi contretemps temps leve in arabesque followed by a chasse passé en avant
battu beaten


Grade 6

Candidates may be asked up to 3 questions. These may be chosen from the previous grades and from the following:

Question Answer
en cloche bell-like preparation for Grand Allegro
fouette whip
ex. for fouette preparation for Fouette of Adage in the centre and Grand Allegro fouette movements
Battements sur le cou-de-pied preparation for beaten work
Contretemps against time/coupe under, chasse en avant, temps leve in arabesque, chasse passé en avant
fermee closed


Knowledge of the Purpose of the Exercises

Knowledge of the Purpose of the Exercises on the Barre is required:-

Question Answer
1Q. What is the purpose of performing plies at the beginning of a Ballet class?

Plies help to:-

  • warm up all the muscles in the legs
  • strengthen the legs
  • establish turn-out
  • sustain the upright position of the body.
2Q. What is the purpose of Grands Battements en cloche? The main purpose of grands battements is to loosen and strengthen the legs. Battement en cloche develops the fullest range of movement.
3Q. What is the purpose of the Preparatory Exercise for Fouette Rond de Jambe en Tournant? This exercise helps to establish coordination and balance ready for turning.
4Q. What is the purpose of Battements sur le cou-de-pied? This exercise develops speed and control in the use of the lower leg, preparatory to beaten steps. It also helps understanding of how some part of the leg can move independently of the others.
5Q. What is the purpose of Exercise for Fouette of Adage? All adage movements help to develop the slow, smooth control of the legs and the strengthening of the back. The fouette requires the ability to use the hinge-like movement of the torso and the hip joint as the working leg circles from side to back, and to centre the weight over the supporting leg.
6Q. What is the purpose of the Demi Pointe enchainments on the barre? These strengthen feet and legs and prepare for pirouettes and pointe-work,

THEORY FOR THE VOCATIONAL GRADED BALLET EXAMINATIONS

No theory questions will be asked in the Vocational Graded Ballet Examinations.