Battement tendu is a battement where the extended foot never leaves the floor. The working foot slides forward, sideways or backwards from fifth or first position to reach the fourth or second position, lifting the heel off the floor and stretching the instep. It forms the preparation for many other positions, such as ronds de jambe and pirouette positions.


The very first instigation for battement tendu devant should come from the inside thigh which in turn drives the heel forward. A small 4th position is created until it is time for the arch to stretch fully, aiming to point to the big toe with the heel poised upwards, or at the very least to the side wall, avoiding pointing to the smaller toes of the foot. The working hip should be in the same line as the supporting hip, creating a shortened tendu as opposed to a lengthened or extended look. Using a waterfall as imagery is helpful, imagining the water falling down the inside of the foot past the toes.

The closing of the battement tendu devant is the exact reverse of the extension, with the toes leading the way back to the position of origin. The dancer should try to keep the working leg straight on the closure, no matter what shape of leg he/she has, as softening the knee can become a bad habit, and generate problems in other areas.


We all need to remember that there is really only one position of the foot in classical ballet, providing you master the correct shape! Battement tendu à la seconde is generally the easiest of all the positions to achieve correctly. By using the floor as resistance, slide the foot out directly from your original position by keeping the toes long in the shoe and by working the intrinsic muscles under the phalanges. It is amazingly beautiful to see a battement tendu à la seconde go through a very high 3/4 pointe position with the arch well lifted and supported. Having the toes directly under the heel in battement tendu à la seconde is the dream! A nice piece of imagery is to feel the outsole of the shoe pressing up against the pad of the foot.


Purely from a personal perspective, I think battement tendu derrière is the most difficult of all the tendus. Obviously the more turn out you have control over, the easier this will be to manage and achieve successfully. Commence by leading out with the toes, which immediately activates the turn out muscles at the top of the working leg. Position the battement tendu right behind the supporting heel and not out any wider than this line. If this position is viewed from the side, the heel of the working leg should not be seen, therefore the working leg needs to be rotated independently from the hip. The dancer should be trying to keep the hips as square as possible. If the hip is opened and lifted in a battement tendu derrière, I daresay the line of the arabesque will be impaired. Once the dancer is in the battement tendu derrière position, it is better aesthetically to work toward a shortened tendu with the weight absolutely and completely on the supporting leg, keeping a lifted feeling from the very deep, lower abdominals and a weighted feeling at the coccyx (or tailbone). To avoid sickling on the way back to your original position, rather than thinking of the outside of the foot, lead in with the inside of the foot.

Written by; Vicki Attard

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