As you have already understood from the topic it’s about two ballet movements.

I have been a slow learner as I get confused between the ballet movements and their terms. Also different ballet styles has different name for the same movement. The internet has a lot of information to provide on this topic but it always felt incomplete and limited. One of the best ways to get information is the books or asking the ballet maestros.

While learning ballet I started doing the movement but never knew the name of it. So, Ballonné and Ballotté are similar sounding words which often got me wondering the correct one. Let’s examine the movement and its meaning to make it simple for the students and teachers.

Both the steps belong to jumps which are mostly done in medium allegro combinations.


Let’s first understand each movement on its own and how it’s been done in different ballet style.


Let’s first look at the definition of each term.

Ballonne has been derived from the word Ballon.

Ballon [ba-LAWN]. Bounce. Ballon is the light, elastic quality in jumping in which the dancer bounds up from the floor, pauses a moment in the air and descends lightly and softly, only to rebound in the air like the smooth bouncing of a ball.

Ballonné, pas [pah ba-law-NAY]: Ball-like or bouncing step. A step in which the dancer springs into the air extending one leg to the front, side or back and lands with the extended leg either sur le cou-de-pied or retiré. There are two kinds of ballonné: ballonné simple, which may be performed petit or grand; and ballonné composé, which is a compound step consisting of three movements (see these terms). Ballonné may be executed in all the directions of the body.

Ballonne is similar to doing battement fondu at the barre with saute/releve.

Ballonne can also be done as a relevé, pointe or jump. The accent for ballonne is always IN and body staying upright. The leg can be extended at 45 (cou-de-pied) or 90 degree (retire) depending on the desired choreography/step.

Famous Repertoire: La Esmarlada

List of different Ballonnne step:

1. Ballonne, Coupe(also known as coupe foutte raccourci)

2. Ballonne, pas

3. Ballonne arrondi

4. Ballonne a trois temps

5. Ballonne battu

6. Ballonne compose

(as per direction)

7. Ballonne simple

8. Ballonne simple de cote

9. Ballonne simple derriere

10. Ballonne simple devant

(for pointe work)

11. Ballonne sur la pointe--> Ballonne devant sur la pointe

1. Ballone Dessous

2. Ballone Dessus

3. Ballone Sur le pointes: Dessous and Dessus

Ballotté [ba-law-TAY]: Tossed. This step consists of coupé dessous and coupé dessus performed in a series with a rocking, swinging movement. The step may be performed with straight knees at 45 degrees or with développés at 90 degrees. The direction of the body is effacé with the body inclining backward or forward with each change of weight.

There are two different ways of performing this step:

In the French School and the Cecchetti method, ballotté is performed on one spot. Most videos and schools showcase this method.

In the Russian School, ballotté is performed traveling forward on ballotté en avant and backward on ballotté en arrière to the place from which the first jump began. They perform the same movement with straight legs (NO Developpe involved). As per Agrippina Vaganova, It is more convenient to begin to study ballotté from 5th position.

Note: The head movement varies as per the leg extended. The head should be well placed on the front shoulder while extending the front leg and while extending the back leg the head gazes at the front arm.

Italian: The back leg is lifted to a high retire derriere. With a spring, the other leg comes up into retire devant, finishing with a developpe efface devant. As the landing occurs on the back leg, the body is tilted back, arms in 4th position devant (the same arm as landing leg is in front, oppositional position). With a spring, the extended leg also comes to retire (both feet are off the floor). The landing occurs on the front leg, the back leg extended derriere, the body tilting forward, the same arm as the landing leg is in front (complimentary position). The movement is repeated.

The accent for ballotte is always OUT and body always rocking. Similar to Ballonne, the leg can be extended at 45 (cou-de-pied) or 90 degree (retire) depending on the desired choreography/step.

As mentioned before, it’s mostly done in allègro combinations, but you can see it been done during barre or adagio combination just as a weight shift without jump. (e.g. Ballote developpe)

Famous Repertoire:

List of different Ballotte step:

1. Ballotté en arrière (Cecchetti method)

2. Ballotté en avant (Cecchetti method)


Now let’s understand the difference between them as discussed above in depth.

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