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What is a fouette?


Question: What is a fouette?
I have heard about Swan Lake's famous series of 32 fouettes. What exactly is a fouette?
Answer: A fouette, or fouette rond de jambe en tournant, is a complicated turn in ballet that requires a strong whipping motion of the leg. Literally, the word fouette means "whipped." A series of fouettes appears as multiple turns on one leg, with the other leg propelling the body around and around with a whipping motion. Fouettes can be performed in place or traveling. Many ballet companies consider the capability of completing 32 fouettes a prerequisite for prospective students.

How to Perform a Fouette

To perform a fouette, start with a preparation such as a pirouette or pas de bourree then extend your working leg to the front as you plie. As you rise out of plie to releve, whip your working leg out to a side extension then back in to retire. If your whipping action is strong enough, your leg will propel your body around and around.
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