Tendu (French – “stretched”; pronounced “tahn-dew”) is a common ballet step that can be done at the barre and in the center. It can begin from straight legs or from plié.

While professional-level choreography and variations do not usually included tendu preformed as its own separate step as one would in class, tendu is an integral part of other ballet steps and as a transition between steps.

Tendu can be done from multiple different positions and in various directions (e.g. devant or 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).  

Tips for achieving a correct tendu position:

  • Be careful not to sickle when pointing the foot. For more information about sickling, please read this page.
  • Keep the working leg (the one that is performing the tendu) straight the entire time without allowing it the knee to bend.


Be sure to visit out Ballet Dictionary page for more videos and tips.

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