Battement (“beating”) in ballet is a movement in which the foot is extended in any direction usually followed by a beat against the supporting foot. One leg is moved outward from the body and then in again, alternating side to side of the working leg. Battements are typically performed in multiples, quickly and in rapid succession, so that the working foot appears to be fluttering. They are usually executed in front to the side or back.
Battement exercises help to train the dancer’s legs and feet to hold positions and jump high. Some of these exercises are: The slow battement tendu (“stretched”) where the toes point but stay on the ground. The quicker battement glisse’ (“slide”) where the foot quickly slides out to a pointed position just off the ground. The grand battement (“big”) where the dancer’s leg swishes through tendu and glisse‘ to a high position. Also, pushing both feet against the floor as the dancer opens and closes her leg will give her strong insteps and toes and help her get ready for pointe work. Beverly