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Types of Ballet Jumps

Intrigued about the different types of ballet jumps that vary across the discipline? Of course, you are. There are so many that it’s enough to intrigue even the non-dancers among us, after all, how exactly are they doing these amazing ballet jumps? Well, we’re here to give you a little tell-all and ultimately bring you theoretically and literally leaps and bounds ahead of your class about the different types of jumps and the ballet jumps terms that you might just need to know!

As we know, ballet is built of movement groups. Once the basic forms of jumps have been learnt, it’s time to move on, progress and bound your way forward into exploring all of the different ways in which we jump.

There are five types of ballet jumps which we will explore now. They are the following:

  • Sauté – A sauté is a jump from two feet which lands on two feet. Sometimes, it can be jumping from one foot back on to the same foot.
  • Temps Levé – A temps levé is a hop from one foot to the same foot.
  • Jeté – A jeté is any jump or leap taking off from one foot and landing on the other.
  • Assemblé – An assemblé is a jump from one foot landing simultaneously on two feet.
  • Sissonne – A sissonne is a jump from two feet and landing on one foot.

Small Ballet Jumps


Before getting on to the big jumps in ballet and those amazing jumps that soar way into the sky, we wanted to touch base on the small ballet jumps. Those little jumps that piece together to make a beautiful routine. Small ballet jumps, known as petit allegro, are used both in training to assist in the building of musicality, coordination and fancy, quick footwork. On stage, they are used to create variation and character dances. Without further ado, let’s explore some of those petit allégros:


A jump straight up from fifth position with both legs and arches extended. Starting from demi-plié to gain the momentum, the dancer springs upwards into the air. It’s essential to avoid brushing the legs together.

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Temps de Poisson

The movement of the fish, sounds delicate right? Or maybe a little fishy…? Well, a temps de poisson is where a dancer bends their back at the height of a jump, with the feet placed together and the pointes cross to form a style of fish tail. Think of those fish you get out of a Christmas cracker – sort of like that! You then land on one leg in a demi-plié with the opposite leg stretched back towards the air.


The much-loved by many changement. The jump where the feet so quickly changes positions. It can give the impression of such fancy footwork without too much effort, per say! Starting in fifth position, you jump directly up and down, getting the push from the plié. In the air, you quickly change feet to land back in fifth, with the opposite foot in front.

Temps de L’Ange

This movement is exactly the same as a temps de poisson, however, if you have your legs in attitude in the air, it is known as a temps de l’ange. All of the same rules apply.

Échappé sauté

The jumping to escape movement. Starting in fifth position, the dancer jumps to finish in a demi-plié in either second position or fifth position. Both feet travel in equal distance from the original centre starting point.

Pas de Chat

Another well-loved fairly easy ballet jump is the pas de chat, or the step of the cat. Delicate, springy and bouncy it is where the dancer must, in essence, embrace the cat. Don’t just think like the cat, be the cat! Starting in fifth position the front leg passes through retire whilst the other leg pushes off the floor and is also raised and passes through retire. The first leg is the one that lands primarily with the second leg following to close into fifth position.

Pas de Chat - ballet jumps types

Difficult Ballet Jumps

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Well, we’ve explored some of ballets small jumps. The ones that can be categorised perhaps as easy. Or easy for a dancer! However, now it’s time to bound forward into the difficult ballet jumps. Those tricky moves that cause problems for even the best trained amongst us. The ballet jumps that cause problems and can be difficult to execute no matter how skilled and fit you are. Sometimes, they just pose difficulties. But, that’s okay – it shows we’re human. It’s important not to beat yourself up about it and for every fall, there are 100 more beautiful jumps waiting for you. So get back up, dust yourself off and if you need a little reassurance or a little guidance on how to execute some of the difficult moves, Zarely is here to help:

Grand Jeté

The Grand Jeté is notoriously one of the most difficult ballet jumps. It’s an extremely demanding jump that requires a dancer to continuously stretch to maintain their flexibility. The problem with a grand jeté is that it only takes a couple of weeks out of practise to find yourself literally leaps and bounds away from being how you were before. A grand jeté is so problematic and stressful for some dancers due to the fact it’s acquired by gracefully propelling yourself into the air whilst appearing to do the splits whilst hovering above the ground for a moment. It’s not enough to almost reach the splits, we have to see it in the air for it to be the spectacular jump that we know it as.

Tour Jeté

A tour jeté is a jeté but manipulated by added a twist. It changes a grand jeté into a slightly smaller leap that reserves the dancers’ orientation. Involving a turn, a brish-through of the leg and then another turn which meets a fouetté. The dancer has to land with the trailing leg in arabesque. Sound confusing? It’s supposed to! There’s a reason it’s so difficult to execute, but if you nail it, it can be the difference between a clap and a standing ovation. They look absolutely spectacular when executed right.


A cabriole can be achieved as a jump, although typically it involves travelling so can also qualify as a leap. However, after a plié, the extended leg is thrust up and out, followed by the supported leg. They beat together, to send the working leg even higher and the dancers’ body follows. The landing happens on the supporting leg. A lot of dancers have concerns about the cabriole, especially asking “does it hurt when you beat your feet together in a cabriole?”. Well, in a cabriole, you do not beat your feet together – you beat your thighs. We recommend starting to learn a cabriole at the barre – preferably a sturdy one where you can push down on if necessary. To achieve a cabriole you must keep lifting and extending through your spine and abdominal muscles. It’s essential to keep your shoulder blades pulled down, just like in an arabesque.

These examples of advanced jumps are the types you see in classical ballet.

How to Improve your Jumps

tips how to improve ballet jumps

We use improve your jumps as opposed to perfecting, because after all, we can strive for perfection but there’s always improvement. Strive for improvement. Strive for consistency. Try not to get caught up on practise makes perfect. Practise makes improvement. So, here’s how you can make your jumps better and some simple exercises to help you, day by day!

  • Don’t use your arms and shoulders to get into the air. You need to be able to place your arms, head and hands in whatever position the choreography needs. Keeping your arms and shoulders out of the equation of the very beginning enables you to build the core muscles and leg muscles to achieve the most beautiful of jumps.
  • Ensure you prepare yourself properly. We cannot stress the important of a good warm up and cool down enough. If you haven’t warmed up you won’t achieve anywhere close to what you can potentially achieve, plus you put yourself at risk of injury.
  • Stretch properly. If you can’t get a split on the ground, there’s pretty much zero chance that you can do it in the air. Stretch, without overdoing it. Little by little every day to get to the final goal is the way forward. Having flexibility and core strength will give you masses of improvements with your leaps and jumps.
  • Look up whilst you leap. Look in the direction you want to go. If you’re looking up, your body will naturally follow. Fixate on a high spot in the distance and envisage yourself heading there, you’ll be surprised to find what you can actually do when you focus.
  • Deep breaths! Take a deep breath at the peak of your arch and it will give your body the impression of soaring. By taking a deep breath you are allowing your body to loosen and remove any tension. It should allow you to travel more smoothly.
  • Controlled landings are absolutely essential, it’s no worth having a gorgeous jump just to land like a bag of potatoes. A deep plié will be so helpful to achieving this. Never come out of a leap with straight knees as this is a sure-fire way to cause injury. Mentally prepare yourself for the landing and aim for a silent and soft landing.
  • Dress right, get yourself some Zarely kit for both rehearsals and performances. Your clothes really do make a difference. Be the best with Zarely.

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