Dance Dictionary - from K to Z

Terms every dancer should know- all here in our DANCE DICTIONARY! The world of dance has its own complete language that can sometimes make it challenging to learn new techniques. To help you become fluent, Covet Dance has put together a COMPLETE LIST OF DANCE TERMS to make your dance classes a bit easier to understand so you can focus on mastering the moves! If you think of a term or step we forgot, please leave us a comment so we can add it to help make this a better tool for all dancers.



This week, from K to Z :


Kinsphere: The maximum space a dancers limbs can reach surrounding their body

Knee Turn: Chene turn on dancers knees.

Leap: Push off one foot and into the air and land on the ball of the other foot.

Lunge: Movement in which you put your body weight forward on one leg

Manèges: Circular. Describes steps or enchaînements executed in a circle.

Maxie Ford: Step named after a famous tap dancer. Consists of a step, shuffle, jump, and toe tip behind.

Nerve Tap: Rapidly tap your heel or toe on the floor

Ouvert: Open, opened. Open position to the audience.

Over the Top: Step then kick leg into the air, jump over the airborne leg and land on the stepping foot

Paddles: Dig your foot, spank, then step.

Pull Back: Tap step that consists of jumping backwards and as your feet leave the floor they both do a spank at the same time. Then both feet land on the balls of the feet at the same time.

Pas de Basque: Step alternating from side to side in three counts

Pas de bourrée: Series of small, even steps with the feet close together

Pas de chat: Cat’s-step. Jump from 5th to 5th each leg bending and unfurling, one after the other.

Passé: To pass.

Petit: Small.

Pirouette: To turn.

Pitch: Kick where you take two steps forward then from a deep plea bring the working leg up the open

Pivot Step: Body pivots around while dancer steps one foot after the other

Pick-Ups/ Pullbacks: Hop on one foot with a back brush in the air, landing on the same foot. Done as either a single double or alternating.

Plié: To bend.

Port de bras: Carriage of the arms.

Relevé: To rise. Small upward lift starting with a pilé.

Release: Body releases after isolated pose

Retiré: To draw up. Upward movement of the supporting leg.

Rond de jambe: Round of the leg. Circling the working leg around out the body like a protractor on the floor.

Riff: Tap movement combining a brush and a scuff on the same foot.

Riffle: Riff combined with a slap.

Sauté: To spring.

Scuff: Moving foot forward while hitting the heel on the ground.

Shimmy: Repeated shaking of body from the shoulders down.

Shim-Sham: Tap step that consists of a stomp, spank, and step while alternating feet.

Shuffle: Brush followed by a spank.

Sissonne: A scissor step – a jump from two feet to two feet

Slap: Flap without weight transfer

Soubresaut: A single jump without changing the feet

Soutenu: To sustain. A turning action revolving the feet, either traveling or on the spot

Spank: A tap step consisting of a backward brush of the ball of the foot.

Spiral: Begins with a lunge to the front or side then the torso spirals down to the floor.

Stamp: A tap step consisting of a step onto the entire foot with weight transfer

Stag Leap: Very high jump while doing the splits in the air only one leg is bent

Stomp: A tap step consisting of a stamp without weight transfer.

Sur le coup-de-pied: On the neck of the foot.

Switch Leap: Dancer does a split in the air then switches legs while still suspended in the air

Tanglefoot: Tap movement that consists of inward and outward motion of the toes

Temps levé: To hop (a jump taking off and landing on the same foot)

Tendu: To stretch (an extending action of the leg, a terre with a return closing action)

Time Step: An eight-measure movement, used to set the tempo.

Toe Drop: Force the ball of the foot on the floor the with weight on the heel

Toe Stand: Movement in which the dancer stands on the tips of their tap shoes

Toe Tip: Striking the tip of the tap shoe against the ground

Triplet: Three sounds, usually a shuffle step

Waltz Clog: A time step in 3/4 time.

Wings: With weight on one foot, a hop into the air while scraping the edge of the tap shoe on the ground. A brush is then done before landing on the same foot.


Source : Covetdance

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