Dégagé (French – “disengage”; pronounced “deh-gah-zhay”) is a ballet step that is much like a tendu, but instead of leaving the toes pointed on the floor, the dancer raises the pointed foot off of the floor slightly.
A dégagé can begin from straight or bent legs and be done from many different positions. It can also be done in different directions, such as devant or derrière. Some methods may also refer to this step as a battement jeté (or sometimes simply just jeté), which means “throwing” or “thrown” and refers to the quick and dynamic quality of the action of the leg.
Dégagé (Devant, À la seconde, Derrière):
Explanation and Example:
Begin in fifth position with straight legs and the right leg in front. Push/brush the right foot along the floor to a pointed position while keeping both legs straight. While transitioning from the flexed/standing position to the pointed position, the foot must roll (or pass) through demi pointe (the ball of the foot on the floor with the heel lifted) before reaching full pointe (on the way out) or flexed/standing position (on the way in). When the foot reaches the fully pointed position, lift the toes a few inches off of the floor, and then return to fifth position.
Tips for achieving a technically correct dégagé:
- A dégagé passes through the tendu position twice – once on the way out/up, and once on the way in/close.
- Remember to keep the working (dégagé) leg straight the entire time as in tendu.
- When doing a dégagé front or side, think of pushing the heel forward/up and the toes back to maintain a turned-out, none-sickled foot. The opposite is true when doing a dégagé to the back (think of pushing the heel down).
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